Substance abuse and drug addiction are major problems affecting the health and financial burden of our country today. It’s estimated that millions of American adults face these serious issues each year. The serious nature of these problems has led to discussions regarding various solutions for attacking the issue on a global scale. One such possible remedy that has been discussed is the possibility of developing vaccinations that could tackle the problem of addiction. What would this entail and could addiction vaccination help to combat the rise in addiction today?
Why is Treating Addiction a Challenging Process?
The very nature of addiction and substance abuse problems are very complex. Addiction treatment is a complex issue as a result, as each person affected by addiction handles it in different ways and responds to different types of therapies. Getting to the bottom of the reason behind the development of the issue is important in many cases. Drug rehab facilities are designed to effectively help individuals determine the reason for their addiction. Following this important step, they help the person learn to change negative behaviors and develop positive ways of dealing with stress that does not involve substance abuse.
Recognizing the Signs of Addiction
Addiction can present with many different signs to alert you to the presence of a problem. While these signs can vary greatly from person to person, the following signs are important to be aware of and investigate further:
Withdrawal from Loved Ones or Activities
Those facing addiction often display patterns of behavior that include isolation and withdrawal. This can be due to the effects of the substance they are using. Alternatively, the person could have accompanying depression that makes them feel like being alone.
Those struggling with addiction often go to great lengths to hide this behavior. They want to make it seem to others that everything is just fine in their personal lives. They may hide their friends or attempt to drink in private, for example.
Drastic Changes in Personality
Noticing changes in personality such as aggression, sadness, or severe anxiety can also indicate a potentially serious problem with addiction. Those facing addiction will undergo changes in their brain that can result in behavioral changes as well.
Drastic Changes in Appearance
A serious lack of appetite, weight loss, or bloodshot eyes can indicate a problem with substance abuse as well. These issues are a direct result of the serious toll these substances take on the body over a period of time.
Is an Addiction Vaccination a Possible Solution?
Vaccines exist for the prevention of some of history’s most deadly diseases. Could vaccines possibly be a missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to treating addiction as well? While it’s true that many medications already exist to help curb cravings and help to eliminate addiction issues, these drugs often come with bothersome side effects such as impotence, crippling anxiety, and even physical pain. Both sufferers of substance abuse and treatment professionals dealing with these issues are searching for a better way to get a handle on the addiction problem facing our country.
Researchers are currently trying to create a vaccine that would effectively treat the addiction to alcohol. Further addiction vaccinations could subsequently be created to address issues with heroin, cocaine, nicotine, and meth. The concept of vaccines targeting addiction issues is based on the belief that those suffering from substance abuse may have genetic influences that increased their risk of this problem. Therefore, if the addiction molecule that made these individuals more likely to succumb to this problem can be found and targeted with a vaccine, this can help the person’s body effectively fight addiction in a more effective manner. If the vaccine can allow the person’s body to develop antibodies to attack the drug in question, they can prevent the desired effect from occurring and help to effectively end the addiction. Many years have already been devoted to studying this concept and preparing for the development of an effective vaccine. However, more insight is still needed on the topic of addiction vaccination.
Why is Seeking Professional Help So Important?
Being in need of professional help in order to overcome addiction is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it demonstrates inner strength and courage to fight for a proper recovery. The majority of those facing serious issues like substance abuse require professional support from those experienced in treating these issues.
Drug addiction can be an isolating and frightening experience to go through. If you or a loved one has been affected by these issues, you don’t have to suffer alone. Please contact an addiction counselor today to find out how we can help you get on the road to recovery and healing.
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About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.