Munson Health
Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction

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by Wood D

(Drug Dependence)


Risk Factors

Drug abuse and addiction are more common in young men but can occur in anyone at any age. Other factors that may increase the risk of drug abuse and addiction include:


While there is no cure for drug abuse or dependence, there are three main treatment goals:
  • To help you stop using drugs
  • To decrease the toxic effects of the drugs being used and to aid in symptoms of drug withdrawal, called detoxification
  • To prevent relapse
Successful treatment depends on you being able to recognize that you have a problem and having the desire to change. Recovery takes a long time. It is a difficult process. In some cases, you may need to go through treatment several times.
Treatment options may involve one or more of the following:


Medication may be recommended to help relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.


Therapy can help raise your awareness of issues and lifestyle choices that lead you to abuse drugs. Through therapy, you can improve your coping skills and problem-solving skills. You can also learn how to replace drug-using activities with healthier choices. It is also important that your family is involved in your treatment.

Support Groups

There are many organizations and support groups dedicated to helping people become drug-free. Two examples are the 12-step programs Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. Members meet regularly to talk about their drug-related problems and their recovery. They provide a network of support.


Cocaine Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

National Institute on Drug Abuse



Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Narcotics Anonymous



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Drugs, brains, and behavior: the science of addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Available at: . Updated August 2010. Accessed March 28, 2013.

Opioid abuse or dependence. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated March 27, 2013. Accessed March 28, 2013.

2/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Schinke SP, Fang L, Cole KC. Computer-delivered, parent-involvement intervention to prevent substance use among adolescent girls. Prev Med . 2009;49;429-35.


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