Narcology is a branch of clinical medicine that studies chronic physical and mental dependence on chemicals. Drug addiction, alcoholism and various substance abuse problems are among the narcological problems. The main tasks of narcologists are timely detection of addictions, selection of effective methods of treatment and rehabilitation, prevention of relapses, as well as preventive work to prevent alcoholism, substance abuse and drug addiction.

Addictions are often complicated by the development of mental and somatic pathology, so narcologists work in collaboration with doctors of other specialties: psychotherapists, therapists, neurologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, etc. Narcology is part of psychiatry, narcologists are qualified psychiatrists, can diagnose and treat mental disorders caused by the abuse of various substances, including alcoholic depression, alcoholic delirium, alcoholic hallucinosis and other disorders. Most narcologists receive special training and can use hypnosis in their work, as well as various psychotherapeutic techniques.

There are two large groups of narcological problems: drug addiction and substance abuse. There are no biological differences between these two types of addictions, the difference lies in the fact that substances taken by drug addicts, from the point of view of the law, belong to the category of narcotic, and substances taken by drug addicts – not. Alcoholism is a substance abuse, but it is usually considered separately due to the prevalence of this dependence and its high danger to the body, personality and social status of the patient.

The group of drug addictions includes heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, methadone addiction, ephedron addiction, hashish addiction, LSD abuse, ecstasy abuse, amphetamine addiction, etc. The group of substance abuse includes dependence on psychostimulants (caffeine, chifir, some sports doping), nicotinomania, etc. Dysfunctional children and adolescents often experience substance abuse using household and technical liquids: glue, gasoline, acetone and nitro paints. There are also polytoxicomania – dependence on two or more psychoactive substances.

Symptoms of narcological problems are determined by the type of narcotic or toxic substance, its dose, the duration and severity of dependence, the state of the body, the psychoemotional characteristics of the dependent and other factors. Prolonged use causes characteristic changes. Alcoholics often develop alcoholic polyneuropathy and alcoholic encephalopathy. With prolonged abuse of benzodiazepines, an organic personality defect occurs with deterioration of memory and judgment, selfishness and decreased performance, etc. With most addictions, the liver, kidneys and heart suffer.

Diagnosis in narcology is carried out both by collecting anamnesis and objective examination of the patient, and using special techniques. To confirm the fact of alcohol and narcotic substances in the recent past (within 1-3 days), alcohol intoxication is examined, saliva, urine and blood are examined by immunochromatographic analysis, chemical and toxicological drug tests are carried out. To establish the fact of taking psychoactive drugs for several months before the test, antibodies to narcotic substances are determined and drug hair analysis is performed.

Treatment of patients with narcological problems can be emergency and planned, carried out in an inpatient setting, outpatient or at home. Emergency measures include withdrawal from binge drinking in alcoholism and detoxification in drug addiction. Assistance can be provided at home only in mild cases: with short binges, a small “experience” of alcoholism or drug addiction. The rest of the patients are shown treatment in a specialized clinic.

Measures for detoxification and withdrawal symptoms are carried out after examination and examination, under the supervision of a qualified narcologist. The treatment regimen includes intravenous drip administration of solutions in combination with sedatives and antipsychotics, drugs to normalize metabolic processes and improve the function of internal organs. There are several treatment programs: standard, double and deep cleansing of the body during withdrawal from binge drinking, classical and ultrafast opioid detoxification.

Planned treatment provides for measures to prevent the use of a substance that causes addiction. Medications, non-drug methods or complex techniques can be used. With drug treatment, a long-acting drug is injected into the patient’s body (with alcoholism, usually disulfiram, with drug addiction, naltrexone), which changes the effect of alcohol or a drug and causes a number of unpleasant consequences. Esperal, Torpedo, MST, SIT, NIT, Algominal and other means are used.

Non-drug methods include Dovzhenko coding and hypnosuggestive effects. In both cases, the doctor influences the patient’s psyche, developing in him a belief about the inadmissibility of taking alcohol and the occurrence of negative consequences when using it. Complex methods involve the simultaneous use of drugs and non-drug methods of treatment, sometimes in combination with other methods (for example, acupuncture).

Treatment can be carried out both on an outpatient basis and in a hospital. In the second case, the patient additionally receives the help of a psychologist and drug therapy to normalize his mental and physical condition. Inpatient rehabilitation of patients suffering from addictions is adjacent to inpatient treatment methods. Rehabilitation measures are carried out in drug treatment clinics and special centers. Outpatient rehabilitation is also possible (for example, under the “12 steps” program).

Any addiction negatively affects the lifestyle, social connections, psychological attitudes and behavioral patterns of the patient. Alcohol or drugs become the “center of life”, displacing other interests and relationships with people. After refusing to take alcohol or drugs, the patient faces many psychological problems caused by the need to restore his life and fill the void that drugs or alcohol used to occupy. Rehabilitation programs that provide for the help of professional psychologists and “colleagues in misfortune” who have successfully refused to take psychoactive substances are designed to solve this difficult task.

The drug problem is a problem not only of the patient, but also of his family, as well as society as a whole. Alcoholism, drug addiction and substance abuse reduce the average life expectancy, increase the crime rate, increase the number of accidents at home and at work, cause disability and provoke domestic violence. Work on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of addictions is the most important social task that narcologists solve. The chances of solving this problem for each individual patient increase with his active participation, inner readiness and desire to get rid of addiction.

On the website of the “Medic Journal”, a special section is assigned to drug problems in the “Medical Directory of Diseases”. This section describes in detail the causes of development, symptoms, complications, methods of diagnosis and treatment of addictions.

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