The effectiveness of various techniques of addiction treatment

The urgency of the struggle against drug addiction is obvious - according to incomplete data of the WHO at the moment about 10% of the adult and adolescent population of the Earth is suffering this terrible fatal disease, and the number of drug addicts and victims of "white death" is increasing each year. According to WHO the average life expectancy of an addict since getting into the "system"  is 10 years , and only the time in a hospital or in prison can extend this short "age of the addict" for a few years. Surely the gust of increasing of the number of drug addicts in the world is contributed by social factors: local wars, migration, and the escalation of drug traffickers’ enrichment, the influence of drugs in the youth subculture, rock and pop music.

Despite numerous attempts to treat addiction with medication and rehabilitation facilities, the reliable methods that would make substantial progress in solving of this problem have not yet been found (I. P. Anokhina, 1990, E. A. Babayan 1987).

Systematic and fundamental exposition of the history of drug abuse treatment researches is not the objective of this article. We confine ourselves to a short list of the basic approaches to resolution of this problem, to identify both positive and negative sides that cause a total failure of most of the previously proposed methods. So, I. V. Strelchuk (1956) proposed a set of treatment methods for opiate withdrawal with the use of tranquilizers, antipsychotics, high doses of vitamin B group, forced diuresis, alongside with psychotherapy aimed at eliminating of the craving for the drug.

Along with the positive components of this integrated approach, significant drawbacks were soon revealed - biological treatment focused on the elimination of abstinence was prior and left psychotherapy on the second place. The author attributed mainly "concomitant" value to it, that is why it had inadequate intensity and, therefore, was ineffective.

Drug science and practice has experienced a "boom" of substitutive therapy that blocks opiate receptors (buprenorphine, methadone) in the 80’s of the twentieth century, which ended with the actual expansion of drug addiction due to these new preparations. Unfortunately, the widely advertised new type of drugs Antakson - naloxon gave only a temporary anti-withdrawal effect that did not result in the change of primary attraction to the drug substances.

A known work of a group of authors (V. S. Bitensky et al., 1989) presented an attempt to eliminate the disadvantages of the above mentioned methods in some way. Firstly the work offered a wide range of biological means of overcoming the withdrawal syndrome – ganglionic blocking agents of pyrroxanum type, antipsychotics of azaleptin series, carbidinum and thymoleptics such as sulpiridum and amitriptylinum, in combination with analgesics (Brufen, Amidopyrinum, Analginum etc.). Secondly, it was suggested to use a wider range of psychotherapeutic methods - behavior therapy, social therapy, group and individual training, psychological correction, kundalini yoga ("12 steps to overcome addiction"). However, this work contains significant drawbacks: as in the above mentioned works, the priority is given to the means of reduction of the withdrawal syndrome rather than desire to overcome the craving to any narcotic substances, moreover, there is no systematic principle in the choice of psychotherapeutic approaches that could provide a significant change in the quality and intensity of addiction therapy based on the refusal of a lifestyle of an addict.

There is also a very well known method proposed by J. B. Nazaraliev - "Method of reduction of opiate withdrawal syndrome" (patent number 310 Kyrgyz Republic, 15.05.1998). It is based on the complex biological and psychological impact on the drug addicted person and on the creation of antidrug abuse protection by new motivation. Firstly the elimination of the consequences of drug intoxication and withdrawal is performed, then the Atropine coma therapy, psychotherapy and at the end of the course – encoding by special serum for a year term with its testing to create the fear of death from relapse.

Together with the positive results of the above mentioned method there is a lot of evidence of failures of encoding. The author’s method failures were significantly less frequent before the duplicating of his techniques and establishing subsidiary centers where his students discredited the method, fascinated by commercialization. But the most significant drawback of the technique is the original "programming" of relapse of coding due to a small term - only 1 year, which leaves the main loophole for the addict – to renew the addictive life style in a short period of time. In addition, the "provocation" (testing of the serum effectiveness) conducted by a neuroleptic haloperidol, which essentially replaced the actual experience of fear of death by its "surrogate".  Another drawback is the narrow focus of the method. It worked only with opiate addiction, though in fact the real psychiatrist task is to change the way of thinking of the patient so as to eliminate any craving for any narcotic substances and their substitutes in one’s mind.