15 Jan 2021 admin


People living with addiction disorders have an uncontrollable urge to satisfy their addictive cravings even though it is causing more harm than good to their health, relationships, and well-being. When most people hear about addiction, the first things that come to their mind are the substance abuse disorders cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Addiction is much more than that. If you compulsively engage in any activity to the point where you can’t stop even though it’s harming you, you may have developed an addiction disorder to that activity.

Types of Addictions

Types of Addictions

Although addiction disorders are complex, experts have been able to classify them into two categories:

Behavioural Addictions

These forms of addictions do not involve substance use and are usually developed from seemingly acceptable everyday activities. They include addiction to sex, video games, pornography, and even food. Sometimes, impulse control disorders such as gambling and kleptomania may be categorized under behavioral addictions.

Substance Use Disorders

Also called chemical addictions, substance use disorders (SUDs) are addictions related to substance use. Some of the most common addiction substances include alcohol, tobacco, opioids, cannabis, cocaine, and prescription drugs. It is possible to have both behavioral and substance use addictions. In that case, both addictions will be addressed during treatment.

How Are Addictions Treated?

The first step to treating addiction or a substance use disorder is for the person to acknowledge that they have an addiction problem. Most people with addiction rarely admit that they have a problem, believing they can stop whenever they want to, even though most times they can’t. Once a person admits that they struggle with quitting a behaviour or using a particular substance, they become open to the different treatment options available to them. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment option for addiction. The various treatment options are tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Based on factors like a patient’s work, type of addiction, and responsibilities, they can receive both inpatient and outpatient care.
Inpatient Rehab: Depending on the severity of the addiction, some patients may be required to check into rehab or a hospital for inpatient care. These residential treatment homes have structured treatment plans and round-the-clock monitoring to help patients recover from their addiction.
Outpatient Rehab: Some patients can go through their recovery journey from home while receiving similar treatment to what they would get in inpatient facilities. Patients are usually required to attend scheduled treatment sessions in facilities during the day and allowed to go back home to their families afterward.

Medically Assisted Detoxification

For people who are addicted to substances, the first stage of treatment is detoxification. Detoxification is the process whereby the body rids itself of the toxic chemicals used. Although this stage is crucial, especially for chronic substance abuse cases, it often comes with physiologically traumatizing symptoms. As a result, it is advisable that a substance abuse expert helps the patient in detoxification and managing the resultant withdrawal symptoms. Most times, patients going through detoxification are also given prescription medications to help manage the withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification is not a treatment in itself as it can’t make patients stop abusing substances. It is, however, the first stage and requirement for other treatment options.

Use of Medication in Treating Addictions

During detoxification and further treatment, some medications have been approved and prescribed to help patients recovering from addiction. These medications work in different ways, like reducing withdrawal symptoms, curbing cravings, and treating underlying or other accompanying disorders.

Medication For Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is one of the most prevalent addictions and a leading cause of death due to overdose. Commonly abused opioids include codeine, oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, and morphine.
Two types of medications are used in treating opioid addictions:

Full-Agonist Therapy (Methadone)

Methadone is an opioid agonist, meaning it binds to the same receptors as other opioids. It is effective in treating chronic opioid addiction and helps to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms during detoxification.

Partial Agonist Therapy (Suboxone)

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and works as a partial agonist of opioids. Suboxone gives room for some withdrawal symptoms and is effective for short-term opioid users.

Medication for Alcohol Addiction

People recovering from alcohol addiction may be prescribed some of these medications to aid recovery:

  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram

Medication for Nicotine Addiction

For cigarette smokers or other forms of tobacco use, some medications may aid easier recovery by preventing severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of these medications include Varenicline, also known by the brand name Champix or Chantix, and Bupropion, also known as Zyban.

Therapy in Treating Addiction

People with behavioral addiction often have their primary treatment options like therapy and counseling sessions. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy are common therapies, which help the patient properly manage distressing thoughts and emotions that affect behavior. Therapy combined with medication and other treatment options has also proven effective in treating people with substance use disorders. During therapy sessions, patients can learn how to curb their desires, have lifestyle changes that encourage their sobriety, address other mental health conditions, and involve family and friends in their new journey.

Support Groups and Self-Help in Treating Addiction

Some patients reported easier recovery by connecting with self-help addiction-recovery platforms. Most of these platforms use the 12-step model to help people overcome their different addictions and prevent relapse while providing a supportive community. These communities provide emotional support, motivation, and friendship amongst people on their sobriety journey. Two examples of such platforms are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.


The fastest way to receive treatment and begin your recovery journey is by admitting there is a dependency problem and acting fast. Irrespective of the type of addiction or the cause, there are treatment options available to make recovery possible. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to recover from an addiction, but with lifestyle changes and the right people supporting you, your journey to an addiction-free life is possible and attainable. Do you currently struggle with substance use disorders or other forms of addiction? You can get help immediately and gain back control of your life. Book a virtual consultation with a licensed addiction Physician to get started by visiting