Addiction recovery is a complex process that must involve the entire person. New research has found that utilizing a single therapeutic modality rarely meets with high rates of success. Rather, a recovery program must involve treatment of the body, the mind, and modes of behavior to ensure ultimate success. Most recent science supports this comprehensive approach to treatment.
Stimulus Resistant Neurons in the Brain
A study of the National Institute of Addiction has indicated that neurons deep within the brain of cocaine addicts appear to be resistant to normal negative stimulus. Medical researchers pose the idea that tiny electrodes may someday be able to be imbedded in the deep neural areas to help stimulate these brain centers and to help keep addicts from relapsing into substance abuse.
Pre-Addiction Brain Differences Found
Another interesting area of research regards data on the brain scans of addicts before they become addicted to substances. These scans indicate that changes in the brain are already apparent in these individuals, signs that may demonstrate a predilection for substance abuse. Understanding this structural difference in the brain can lead to further development of pharmaceuticals to help alter the chemistry of the brain and prevent recurring patterns of substance abuse.
Research on Most Effective Treatments
A growing body of research indicates that more than one mode of treatment is required to ensure high rates of success for those battling substance abuse. The highest recovery rates are seen in those whose treatment has combined pharmaceutical replacement of the substance, along with cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients to monitor their own emotions and actions to prevent further relapses. Long-term aftercare and support groups in Health Recovery Centers also help patients after they leave rehab and can be a critical factor in their success. These patients have better long-term recovery, and are able to resume normal living patterns more easily than those who have only utilized a single treatment option.
Alcohol Recovery and the Brain
The damage to the brain from long years of alcohol use is well documented. Brain scans of long-term alcoholics show damage in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that regulates motor skills, attention and language. It can also cause shrinking in the pre-frontal cortex, an area that impacts decision making and social behavior. Some scientists have begun to question whether this damage remains even after alcohol recovery center’s efforts. Research published in the neurological journal, indicates that the brain structure can show improvement in alcoholics after 38 days of sobriety. They found distinct changes in the brain that suggested the brain had increased in volume by two percent. In addition, they found an increase in two important brain chemicals associated with nerve cell and nerve sheath condition. They concluded that sustained sobriety can help the brain heal itself.
When it comes to substance abuse, recovery can take a long time. The key thing to remember is just to be patient. When a person really wants to change, they will find the strength to be able to, and with new research, we are better able to understand how to treat them right.