Baltimore County Now
Dave Goldman, LSWC-C
Chief, Bureau of Behavioral Health
Baltimore County Department of Health
We all know someone who has been impacted by alcohol or drug abuse. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor, and certainly no one is exempt-even celebrities and sports figures. The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs – even when it starts as a prescription!
Addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persists even in the face of devastating consequences. No one says they want to be a drug addict when they grow up, but over time a person's thinking becomes compromised and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive.
Treatment is not simple, but it works! Treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences. Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured.
Behavioral therapy and medication can be important elements of an overall therapeutic process. A continuum of care that includes a customized treatment regimen—addressing all aspects of an individual's life, including medical and mental health services—and follow–up options (e.g., community – or family-based recovery support systems) can be crucial to a person's success in achieving and maintaining a drug–free lifestyle. For more information on substance abuse treatment services in Baltimore County, call 410-887-3828.