Addictions and Substance Abuse Treatment

Drug abuse and addiction disrupt many aspects of an individual’s life.   Intense cravings can lead the individual to engage in drug-seeking behavior that is often devastating.  Long-term drug use affects brain function which leads to compulsive and uncontrollable use.  

Molecular and imaging studies have shown addiction to be a brain disorder that can be treated.  Treatment requires a holistic approach to address the complex components of the illness and its consequences.  Treatment helps the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle and become productive in family, work and society.  Addiction is usually chronic and requires long-term treatment.      

Six steps of recovery are known as the Developmental Model:

  • Transition – the time an addicted individual takes to accept they cannot safely use drugs or alcohol
  • Stabilization – the individual experiences physical withdrawal and separates from people and things related to substance abuse
  • Early recovery – the individual understands the need to live a drug-free lifestyle and build healthy relationships
  • Middle recovery – the time to repair past damage and live a balanced lifestyle
  • Late recovery – the individual corrects beliefs about his/herself and the world that lead to irrational behavior
  • Maintenance – lifelong growth and development, coping with daily problems

The first step in treatment is often detoxification.  Counselling in groups and/or individual and behavioral therapies combined with medication are the most common therapies. Medical and mental health services with follow-up recovery support systems are crucial.   

For more information, registered clinical counsellors, social workers and medical doctors are fully qualified to provide resources and treatment programs for those suffering from addiction and substance abuse.      

Specific Techniques


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