Factors Contributing To Drug Dependence And Abuse

Accessibility to drugs

Easy access to illicit drugs contributes to an increase in the drug dependence rate. One survey shows that about 35% of 12th graders in the U.S. have smoked pot before. The story doesn’t end here. Most drug syndicates have honed the skill of marketing these addictive substances. They have successfully lured many teenagers and young adults. 

Unfortunately, drug addiction is a pandemic that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. They have become a lot more creative in convincing people on the supposed “goodness” of taking these drugs. These illicit drug marketers are less bothered about how these drug dependents cope in their day-to-day activities or how they could avoid the pains related to withdrawal syndrome. As long as there is an inflow of funds generated from drug sales, they will come up with new strategies of making these illicit substances accessible to the public.

Advanced Technologies

The internet allows the marketing of illicit drugs to go on with ease. It also enables drug peddlers to claim anonymity while they deliver these commodities at the buyer’s doorsteps. Illegal drugs are now sold more conveniently than before. Social media makes it difficult for the authorities to track down sellers of these illegal products.


According to studies on drug abuse, there is a correlation between genetics and drug abuse. One study involved 861 identical twins and 653 fraternal twins. The results demonstrated that there is a higher likelihood for an identical twin to develop an addiction than a non-identical twin. Another study conducted on 231 respondents clinically diagnosed with drug addiction or alcoholism found it is 8 times more likely for participants whose parents were addicts to become dependents.

Treatment Program For Drug Abusers

The severity and type of drug abuse case determine the kind of treatment an addict will receive. Drug addicts are free to choose between receiving treatment on an outpatient or inpatient basis. If the patient has a strong will to leave drugs, there is a better chance of recovery. The types of substance abuse treatment include:

  • Detoxification: This is the first treatment received by patients seeking to recover from drug addiction. Drug addicts are medically monitored on a 24/7 basis in an inpatient setting. In an outpatient clinic, the patient is detoxified regularly while receiving a daily dose of prescription drugs.
  • Inpatient: A drug addict seeking recovery can stay in inpatient settings such as rehab centers, hospitals, residential facilities. As expected, the first line of treatment is detoxification. Following detox, the patient receives counseling and behavioral therapy individually or in a group. Clinicians place the patient on a daily prescription dose. Patients are also involved in complementary treatments such as yoga, tai-chi, hypnotherapy, and homeotherapy among others.
  • Partial hospitalization programs: This treatment approach is less intense when compared with inpatient treatment. The patient stays at halfway houses or sober living homes. As opposed to inpatient facilities, family and friends are allowed to visit. Residents are also permitted to leave the facility at any time for work or school.
  • Outpatient: Often times, the clinician schedules the patient to visit rehab clinics following a period of stay at a residential facility. The patient doesn’t need to show up at the clinic regularly, and the frequency of appointments reduces as long as the patient demonstrates a progression in recovery.

Treatment Approaches In The Rehabilitation Of Drug Addicts

Counseling and behavioral therapy form the basis in rehabilitating drug addicts. The aim is to develop coping skills and change attitudes and behavior. Here are the main therapeutic approaches for managing drug addiction.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT aims to develop coping strategies and modify negative behaviors. Initially, it was meant for treating depression. As time went on, this approach diversified into treating other mental illnesses and drug addiction.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: This is an evidence-based treatment approach used in treating mood disorders and behavioral pattern changes. DBT involves techniques derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, reality-testing, and Buddhist meditation practices.
  • Motivational Interviewing: The aim of this treatment approach is that patients come to terms with contradictory feelings and discover an internal motivation to change their attitudes and behaviors. A motivational interviewer – in a supportive tone – persuades clients to discuss the need to change and the reasons behind it. This form of counseling runs on a short-term basis – only one or two sessions are needed and may run concurrently with other treatment approaches.

Other therapeutic approaches such as multidimensional family therapy, contingency management, and motivational incentives are also applied.


Administration of medications is important in managing withdrawal and other symptoms of drug addiction. The prescription medicines commonly used to address substance addiction include:

  • Opioid Addiction: The major prescription drugs in treating addiction following opioid abuse include: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
  • Alcoholism: The FDA has granted approval for three prescription medicines for treating symptoms associated with alcoholism. These include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.
  • Tobacco Addiction: Although this substance is legalized in almost every country, people who abuse tobacco are likely to become dependent on it. Nicotine is the conventional means of treating tobacco addiction. More recently, the FDA approved bupropion and varenicline for the management of tobacco addiction.

Recovery Model For Drug Addiction

It is easy to relapse when there is no headway in the recovery process. Besides, researches have shown that patients are likely to suffer setbacks when detoxifying alone. The path to recovery is arduous and requires dedication. Family support, medication, and counseling are the major aspects of the rehabilitation of drug addicts. However, rehab professionals are also accountable to recovery success. Pessimistic clinicians with a stereotyped view about drug addiction do not help the recovery cause of the patient. In a 2005 study, Dennis and his colleagues reported that an average of 27 years passed before adolescents fully recovered following substance initiation.

Laub and Sampson interviewed a cohort of participants recruited from a reform institution in a 55-year old retrospective study. They discovered that a few of the participants were delinquent after 70 years. However, most of them left the criminal way of life in their 30s. These people had stable employment, better social skills, and spousal support. The authors concluded that there is a good chance for anyone to improve their lifestyle. However, the ties to work and family put the recovery from drug addiction into perspective.

The recovery of patients from drug abuse has some underlying principles:

  • Recovery is a complex process
  • Self-awareness and healing are foundational parts of the recovery process
  • The support of friends and family is needed for recovery to take place.
  • Hope and gratitude are important for recovery.
  • There are cultural dimensions to recovery.
  • Recovery is a real phenomenon.
  • There are many paths to recovery

The Betty Ford Institute Consensus Panel defines recovery as a way of life sustained by willpower and characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship. The stages of recovery include early sobriety, sustained sobriety (between the 1st and 5th year) and stable sobriety (more than 5 years). CHIME is a concept that puts recovery into perspective. It is an acronym standing for Connectedness, Hope and Optimism, Identity, Meaning in Life, and Empowerment.

Connectedness:  A healthy relationship with family and acquaintances helps in recovering from drug addiction.

Hope and Optimism: It doesn’t come as a surprise to find out that many former drug addicts who are sober have an optimistic outlook on life.

Identity: Self-consciousness is an essential step toward recovery. The patient must learn to accept that everyone has a distinct personality.

Meaning in Life: It is necessary for drug addicts to accept the idea that everyone has dignity, and there is a meaning to life. Else, they will feel purposeless, and there is a huge risk of falling back on these illicit drugs.

Empowerment: Drug addicts need reassurance that they will have stable employment and access to basic healthcare when they recover. An improved standard of living helps to ease the path towards recovery.

Hawthorne Sober Living Facilities

Sober living homes (SLHs) are facilities usually meant for people who have recently left a rehab center and need an organized and supportive environment as they transition to independence. SLHs revolve around a 12-step program developed by Alcohol Anonymous. Residents of sober living must abide by rules. The common ones are:

  • Random drug and alcohol tests
  • Participation in school, work or outpatient program
  • Acceptance by peers at the sober living home
  • Actively taking part in recovery meetings
  • There is no room for drug or violence.

Serenity is helpful for people seeking recovery from drug addiction. They need a quiet environment to collect their thoughts and search deeper into their mind to get a meaning to life. If there a positive outcome in this regard, they will develop an optimistic outlook about life, which is key to maintaining sobriety.

Want to take the charge of your life? Join our Hawthorne Sober Living Home now!

Sober Living Homes in Hawthorne California

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