Addiction Treatment Services
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has called addictive illness “our nation’s number one health problem.” Misuse and dependency on alcohol and other drugs causes tremendous personal and family suffering. Fortunately, our society is coming to recognize that none of us “chooses” to become an addict. In fact, the question of why only a fraction of people who try substances become addicted is an active area of research, though largely unanswered.
Close to 20 percent of people will develop a problem with alcohol or other drugs at some point in their lives. Four hundred thousand people die annually from cigarettes, and 100,000 more die from alcohol. As we learn more about people who suffer from addictions, stereotypes of the “typical addict” break down. In fact, most people who have addictions are employed and living with family members. They are our friends, neighbors, children, parents and grandparents.
The fundamental feature of an addiction is the inability to control or stop using a substance in the face of a variety of problems in the person’s life caused by use of the substance. Often there are family conflicts due to responsibilities neglected or behavior while intoxicated. There may be legal problems, such as arrests for driving while intoxicated. If certain substances are used regularly, painful or even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms may occur if the person no long has access to the substance.
Although our understanding of what causes certain people to become addicted to substances is limited, there is a growing body of research on the treatment of addiction. There is little question anymore of whether or not treatment is effective: it is. People who are involved in treatment decrease or stop their substance use, have increased psychological and physical well-being, have improved relationships with others and are better able to participate successfully at work. Studies have shown that treatment for addiction is as successful as treatment for other illness such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma.
As with other illnesses, positive results are easier to achieve when a person receives help earlier in the course of illness. A myth of addiction treatment is that people cannot be helped before they “hit bottom.” Trained addiction treatment professionals can strengthen motivation and help guide a person toward healthy changes before terrible social and health consequences occur.
The addiction treatment services of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System offer a wide range of treatment options - from hospital-based detoxification and rehabilitation programs to community-based outpatient clinics - in centers from Staten Island to the North Fork of Long Island. In any of these centers, professionals offer a variety of treatments based on the individual needs of patients. As a member of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network, the health system sites are also studying the latest innovations in addiction treatment. Let us help you or your loved ones regain hope and recover from this illness.