Addiction And Recovery

Addiction is the physical and/or emotional dependence of a person on a substance such as alcohol, medication, nicotine products, or drugs. Addiction often occurs as a result of frequent substance abuse. Use of these substances can be done in moderation in some cases, such as having a glass of wine with dinner or taking a potentially addictive medication only as prescribed by the doctor.

Abuse is when you use the substance just to get a buzz or a high, and it's often characterized by having too much of the substance, like drinking until you are drunk or smoking or until you feel dizzy or sick. Addictions can be some of the most difficult things in the world to recover from. People usually try to go back to their addictions or become addicted to other substances. Luckily, treatment is possible.      

Addiction Psychiatrists and Psychologists 

There are psychologists who specialize in substance abuse counseling, and regularly seeing one of these specialists may be a good first step towards recovery. The counselor can teach you about different substances, about emotional and physical dependence, and about coping skills to use to help recover. The counselor can also give you support and a sense of accountability by having you report to him or her about your use of substances.

A psychiatrist specializing in addiction can do the same things and will sometimes prescribe medicines to help withdrawal symptoms in some cases. He or she may help "wean" you off of an addictive medication if applicable.  


In order for an addict to start committing to a life free from the addictive substance, he or she may first have to undergo detox. This is the process of letting the patient's body get rid of all the addictive substance. Detoxing is often done at hospitals, where it can be safely overseen by doctors, nurses, and psychological specialists. This is needed for cases where detox without supervision would be dangerous. For example, trying to quit alcohol "cold turkey" can result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and suddenly quitting some medications like benzodiazepenes can be life-threatening.

For less severe addiction, detox may be done without hospitalization but with regular reporting to your counselor, psychiatrist, or sponsor. 

Rehab Programs

Sometimes, rehabilitation programs are needed for cases of severe addiction. After detoxing, patients go to a rehab center where they can voluntarily stay for a few days or weeks at a time and receive supervision so they don't go back to abusing substances as well as daily counseling and educational group therapy.

Unless ordered by a court, rehab is voluntary. Rehab centers are usually specialized by type of addiction they treat, such as drug rehab programs and alcohol rehab programs. They may have further specifications for treating certain age groups. Whether or not you can go to rehab and what kind of facility it will be may depend on your budget and medical insurance.  

For more information, contact local professionals like EmPower CTC.