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Why Is It Important to Treat Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Substance use disorder is a very harmful and serious condition. Treating drug addiction is vital to help people recover.

The Impacts of Addictions on Society

Drug addiction can be devastating on an individual level, but it can also be harmful to communities and society. People with substance use disorders often struggle with family issues, including domestic violence and financial problems. Additionally, nationwide studies have shown that parents with substance use disorder usually put the need to obtain and abuse drugs before taking care of their children.1 Addiction can also add to the problem of overcrowded institutions; hospitals and prisons contain large populations of people treated for or incarcerated because of drug use. Crime related to drug addiction can wreak havoc on communities and increase the amount of money spent on law enforcement and incarceration. In 2007, the economic cost of drug abuse in the United States was $193 billion, with criminal justice costs accounting for $61 billion of that total.2 It is evident the importance of seeking drug addiction treatment.

Social Effects of Drug Abuse on the Community

When people neglect to seek drug addiction treatment, they will likely face negative social effects—problems at work, school, and in society.

Drug Abuse and the Home

One in five children grows up in a household where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol. Not only does this create an unstable environment for the children—potentially leading to mental illness like anxiety or depression—but it also puts them at a higher risk for developing substance use disorder themselves.3

Drug Abuse and the Workplace

When substance use is brought into the workplace, major issues for those with drug addiction and the companies or businesses they work for can arise. For example, the quality of work may suffer, safety concerns can arise, and people can lose their job. For the individual struggling with substance use disorder, this can lead to financial insecurity and risk of future employment. For the business, this can lead to losses in revenue, customers, and employees.

Drug Abuse and School

It’s no secret that drug abuse in adolescents is a growing problem, and students who use drugs are more likely to drop out. Studies show that 18% of teens enrolled in high school use illicit drugs, while 31% of high school dropouts use drugs.4

How to Treat Drug Addiction

Various approaches and strategies are available to treat drug addiction, but there are two methods that stand out. The first is treating drug addiction as a disease, and the second is utilizing medication.

Treating Drug Addiction as a Disease

Addiction is not a moral failing or character flaw, so it’s important to emphasize treating drug addiction as a disease rather than a choice. It has been confirmed that addiction is a chronic illness that alters the brain’s function and chemical levels. Thus, the only way to treat drug addiction properly is by creating and utilizing treatment plans and methods that are usually followed for illness and disease.5

Addiction Treatment Options

Like any other disease, drug addiction can be treated with several methods. Whether addressing drug addiction in adults or treating drug addiction in adolescents, the following interventions can be useful in drug addiction treatment: Remembering the importance of treating drug addiction as a disease means recognizing that treatment requires maintenance and may need adjustments over time.

Treating Drug Addiction With Methadone

An effective and commonly used intervention for opioid use disorder is methadone, a prescription drug. Treating drug addiction with methadone blocks the pain caused by opiate withdrawal and allows people to resume their daily lives while recovering from addiction. This is an effective treatment and emphasizes the importance of drug and alcohol addiction treatment that works for a person’s individual needs. Methadone provides pain relief for around four to eight hours and should be prescribed for a minimum of twelve months. Research shows that methadone treatment is effective in high doses and helps clients stay in treatment programs longer, especially those with heroin addiction.6

Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment at San Diego Detox

There are many options for drug addiction treatment, including rehab, medications, and therapy. At San Diego Detox, we treat drug addiction as a disease and understand that each client’s situation and condition are different. So, we offer a full range of services to help people recover, from a state-of-the-art detox program to evidence-based therapies to fit each client’s unique and important needs. Some of the most common and effective therapies for drug addiction treatment offered at San Diego Detox include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Therapists trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) know the importance of drug and alcohol addiction treatment. This type of therapy helps individuals rewire their thought processes and behaviors related to substance use and uncover any underlying issues that contribute to addiction.

Contingency Management

The importance of drug and alcohol addiction treatment lies in the tools given to an individual to maintain sobriety. Contingency management is a type of drug addiction treatment therapy that rewards individuals for good behavior or actions that contribute to their recovery, motivating clients to make better choices for themselves.

Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Therapists stress the importance of drug and alcohol addiction recovery with this type of therapy. Motivational interviewing and motivational enhancement therapy aim to increase the clients’ motivation and incentive to end substance use.

The Harmful Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

The dangers of drug and alcohol use are serious, which is why drug addiction treatment is crucial. Some of the ways drugs can affect people’s brain, body, and life include:

Brain Chemistry

Addictive substances change the way the brain processes rewards, meaning the experience of pleasure from non-addictive things is often muted or nonexistent—temporarily or permanently.

Health Complications

Substance abuse can lead to a plethora of mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, and various health problems, such as cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and dental health issues.


Using drugs weakens the immune system, making it more likely for people with substance use disorder to get illnesses and infections.

Legal Consequences

Sometimes people with substance use disorder may engage in illegal actions, leading to arrest. Legal consequences can seriously disrupt a person’s life, leading to job loss, debt, and other potential problems.

Financial Problems

Addiction may lead to people spending all of their money acquiring drugs, frivolous spending, and job loss.

Injuries and Death

The most severe outcomes of drug use are injuries and death. Intoxication can impair the senses and cause a major lack of judgment, making injury more likely. The risk of death is always present with drugs, as it can be caused by overdose, injury, accidents while under the influence, or health issues. These issues point to the importance of drug and alcohol addiction treatment and intervening as soon as possible. The earlier addiction is addressed, the more likely a person will recover.