Effective treatment does not end with detox

The number of Australians seeking help for amphetamine addiction is on the rise. Amphetamine use has already become one of the major mental health problems but it is a problem that is increasing rather than decreasing.

A new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released last week revealed about 134,000 Australians had received drug treatment in 2015–16. That is around 1 in 180 people. About 30% were for alcohol but amphetamine use has more than doubled, going from.

Although alcohol treatment has decreased and cannabis treatment has remained unchanged, in the last five years amphetamine use has soared from 11% to 23%.

The AIHW say that alcohol remains the most common drug people seek treatment for but a growing proportion are seeking treatment due to amphetamine use.

The actual number of treatment episodes for amphetamines rose from around 16,900 in 2011–12 to 46,400 in 2015–16. That is a 175% increase.

The report points to males as continuing as more likely to seek treatment than females and there is a higher instance of older Australians seeking treatment. people aged over 40 now make up one-third of those in treatment.

In the last decade, counselling continues to be the treatment most often sought.

Counselling and withdrawal management are important aspects of psychotherapy for treating addiction.

Effective treatment does not end with detox. Therapy takes us on that next step of avoiding relapse. Relapse can come about through ‘triggers’ and particular situations, events of behaviours can trigger relapse to deal with them. The importance of counselling in addiction treatment is to identify those triggers and develop ways of overcoming the trigger and deal with other negative emotions that can cause a relapse.

The AIHW report showed that the majority of people can complete treatment within three weeks. Not all treatments can be timed like this. It depends of the drug. The AIHW say it can vary from about two weeks for a substance like for cannabis to 39 days for heroin.

The important thing is that, to successfully overcome addiction, treatments need to involve psychotherapy to ensure a better chance of long-term recovery.

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