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Substance Abuse (cont.)

Substance Abuse Treatment

Medical Treatment

Most substances abusers believe they can stop using drugs on their own, but a majority who try do not succeed. Research shows that long-term drug use alters brain function and strengthens compulsions to use drugs. This craving continues even after your drug use stops.

Because of these ongoing cravings, the most important component of treatment, also called recovery, is preventing relapse. Treating substance abuse depends on both the person and the substance being used. In behavioral treatment, a counselor provides you with strategies to cope with your drug cravings and ways to avoid relapse. Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as nicotine patches and methadone, to control withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Often, a drug user has an underlying behavioral disorder or other mental illness, one that increases risk for substance abuse. Such disorders must be treated medically and through counseling along with treatment of the drug abuse.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Evaluation »

Physicians in the emergency department (ED) regularly encounter patients seeking treatment for alcohol or substance abuse problems.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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