Modern Approach to Opiate Dependence Treatment

Article excerpt

Modern Approach to Opiate Dependence Treatment Author: Slavko Sakoman Self-published, Zagreb, Croatia

This book is the result of the author's thirty-year-experience in working with opiate addicts at the Department of Psychiatry of the University Hospital »Sestee milosrdnice« in Zagreb, Croatia. The book is divided into four sections. The first section talks about dependence as a chronic remitting illness of the brain. It addresses the definition of dependence, its aetiology and development, what happens after the initial taking of drugs, and the connection between dependence and functional changes of the brain. The second section is about the treatment of heroin ad- dicts (a long term therapeutic process) and a major strategic activity in programmes for suppressing drug abuse. Many topics are dis- cussed in this section, including basic princi- ples of a good national treatment policy, the need to detect addicts as early as possible, the importance of protecting addicts from stig- matization so they would continue with treat- ment, the reasons why the treatment of heroin addicts is a long and strenuous work. The epi- demiology of heroin addictions in Croatia is shown by counties, and the author assesses the necessary number of doctors and teams needed for proper treatment. The basic ele- ments of the »Croatian model« for the com- plex treatment of addicts are described as well along with the results of controlling ad- diction behaviour. Professor Sakoman also suggests what we must keep in mind in order to have a quality treatment, and stresses the importance of psychotherapy and a family- -oriented approach during the treatment. The author describes the importance of substitute therapy in treating heroin addicts and how heroin affects the brain. He also mentions the reasons why total abstinence is so unpredict- able, and the causes of recidivism and mecha- nisms leading to relapses. …