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The following are answers to our most frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t here, please call 1.800.388.4601 or use this form to contact us and ask.

There are no simple answers as to why some people develop an addiction and others don’t, but most experts agree that there are contributing psychological, biological and genetic components. Fortunately, with recent scientific advancements in our understanding of addiction, treatment programs that address both the biological and psychosocial dimensions can be very successful.

Looking at these four major types of symptoms of alcohol and drug addicts may provide some insight:

  1. Loss of control – The inability to limit use despite the negative consequences
  2. Cravings – An overwhelming psychological need or compulsion to drink or use any other mood-altering substance
  3. Physical dependence – When attempting to stop using, there are withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shaking, or anxiety
  4. Tolerance – The need for larger amounts of mood-altering chemicals to achieve the same effect

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Substance abuse is common in today’s society, especially with alcohol. Abuse starts with a person using drugs or alcohol more frequently and, at intermittent times, it gets out of control. Telling signs of abuse include becoming argumentative, getting into a fight, having a wreck, becoming uncharacteristically promiscuous or adversely impacting a job or relationship.

Once a person loses the ability to willingly stop using or drinking, they are now dealing with the disease of addiction. This lack of self-control is one of the key indications that the drugs or alcohol have damaged the brain in both structure and function, making it physically impossible for the individual to stop using on their own for any prolonged length of time. By this point, since the brain has been damaged, it is highly unlikely that traditional twelve-step programs could work for any significant length of time.

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30 years ago, the scientific and medical communities didn’t know as much about addiction and the brain as they do today. Part of what we’ve learned is that, for millions of people, overcoming addiction is not about a lack of will power or a lack of discipline. It’s about their brains being literally injured and their brain chemistry being physically altered.

This has led the scientific community to acknowledge addiction as a chronic and progressive brain disease. And that means that treating addiction may require medicine, just like any other disease. Therapy is necessary for recovery, but it’s not going to heal the brain. Believing therapy alone will work is one of the primary reasons so many people struggle and relapse.

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We understand that residential rehab is disruptive to families, careers and everyday life. But that’s the point. If a thorough assessment leads to a medical prescription or recommendation of residential care for your loved one, it’s because their brain needs disrupting in order to break the harmful patterns it has created. Every patient is unique, of course, but medical studies show that the optimal amount of time needed to reboot the brain’s chemistry and rewire its neurological pathways is about 45 to 90 days. We realize that sounds like a lot, but isn’t two to three months of effort now worth a lifetime of sobriety?

In addition, people who enter residential treatment typically have problems that require combined medical, psychological and/or physical therapies over a sustained period of time in a controlled environment. Residential treatment is often the most practical and effective course of action. 

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It is a myth that an addicted individual must hit "rock bottom" to be ready for treatment. Helping your loved one get help early in their addiction cycle will result in fewer accompanying psychological and physical problems and a better prognosis for long-term recovery. Furthermore, "rock bottom" is a dangerous place to be; for many addicts, that point is when a near-fatal or fatal overdose, serious accident or criminal justice consequence has occurred.

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Science has detected approximately 12 to 15 different types of alcoholism and 12 to 25 types of narcotic addiction. Depending upon the type of addiction, anti-addiction medicines may be the only solution. Simply put, the brain's chemistry has been altered and needs re-balancing.

Research shows that combining anti-addiction medicines with evidence-based behavioral therapies is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches personalized to address each person's abuse patterns and co-occurring medical, psychiatric and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without addiction.

It is important to remember that addiction is a chronic and progressive disease -- like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease -- and can be managed successfully. Medically based treatments allow people to recover most – if not all – of their functionality, counteracting addiction's powerful disruptive effects and enabling people to regain control of their lives. As with other chronic diseases, of course, relapses will occur if you stop following the treatment protocols. 

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We have put together a list of ten questions you should ask of any treatment program, including Enterhealth Ranch. Click here to learn more.