Yes, I’ve been an LPN for 13 years. I’ve spent every one in Psych. The last 6 specifically in an addiction clinic that I helped co-found. It is an amazing job. We are different from the typical clinic. We treat with IV amino acids which help repair the damage caused to the neurotransmitters in the brain from the drugs. We have a 70-80% success rate… almost unheard of. We don't simply trade addictions (replacement therapy, i.e. methadone, suboxone). 10 days, little to no withdrawal, and clean and usually craving free by day 10. Then the patients enters therapy, because that is ESSENTIAL. Also we try and get the family into therapy to change their outlook and change the environment. ALL very important in recovery.
A little information:
The initial decision to take drugs is mostly voluntary. However, when drug abuse takes over, a person's ability to exert self control can become seriously impaired. Brain imaging studies from drug-addicted individuals show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control.
ADDICTION IS A BRAIN DISEASE! Addiction occurs in a subconscious area of the brain that is not under conscious control, the mesolimbic dopamine system. The brain mediates behavior. If there is a problem with the decision-making portion of the brain, can people say Addicts have poor “will-power” when that portion of the brain is not working properly? The disease of addiction is NOT a disease due to CHARACTER, but a disease due to CHEMISTRY. We depend on our brain's ability to release dopamine in order to experience pleasure and to motivate our responses to the natural rewards of everyday life. Drugs produce very large and rapid dopamine surges and the brain responds by reducing normal dopamine activity. Eventually, the disrupted dopamine system renders the addict incapable of feeling any pleasure even from the drugs they seek to feed their addiction.
A person takes a drug of abuse (marijuana, cocaine, alcohol...) and activates brain circuits linked to survival (eating, bonding). The brain wants it repeated. The need for drugs becomes more important than any other need (eating, love). The addict no longer seeks the drug for pleasure, but for "survival." Finally, control, choice and everything valuable in life (family, job) are lost to the disease of addiction.
Studies show that people diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to also suffer from a drug use disorder, and the inverse is also true. We need to treat the underlying condition and stop self-medicating. Self medicating HURTS and messes with the neuro-chemistry of your brain.
As you can see, I am passionate about understanding and educating about addiction. This a great starting point to help you understand more, instead of “treating” in the typical judgment filled stigma-laced way addicts are treated.