Addiction Treatment: What is Addiction, and How is Addiction Treated?

Addiction Types

Addiction isn’t a personal flaw. Addiction isn’t a lack of responsibility, bad morals, or a punishment for using drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a disease.

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What is Addiction?

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition characterized by the compulsive use of a substance or engagement in a behavior, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a chronic brain disease that affects individuals on both a physical and psychological level.

There are many different types of addiction, including substance addictions (such as drug and alcohol addiction), behavioral addictions (such as gambling or gaming addiction), and even food addiction. Each type of addiction can have a significant impact on an individual's life, relationships, and overall well-being.

What are the Different Types of Addiction?

What Are the Different Types of Addiction?

Some of the most common types of addiction include:

Substance Addiction

Substance addiction is the most well-known form of addiction, and it involves the use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances that can cause physical or psychological dependence. Common abuse substances include opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, and nicotine.

Prescription drug addiction involves abusing prescription medications, such as painkillers and sedatives, intended to treat medical conditions. Prescription drug addiction can be just as serious as addiction to illegal drugs.

Behavioral Addiction

Behavioral addiction is characterized by compulsive behavior that a person cannot control, despite harmful consequences. Common behavioral addictions include gambling, gaming, internet addiction, sex addiction, and compulsive shopping.

Your Path to Sobriety Starts Here

Your Path to Sobriety Starts Here

Achieving sobriety is more than just overcoming addiction; it's about rediscovering yourself and the joys of life without dependency. We are here to guide you through every step of this life-changing journey. We will offer you understanding, support, and strategies you need to succeed.

Make today the day you choose change.

What Causes Addiction?

What Causes Addiction?

The exact cause of addiction is unknown, but it is believed to be a result of various factors, including genetics, environmental influences, and personal experiences. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to addiction, while others may turn to substances or behaviors as a coping mechanism for past traumas or stressors.

Some of the major factors considered to play a role in the development of addiction include:

Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can increase the risk of addiction. Individuals may use drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate, leading to the development of addiction.


Addiction can run in families, indicating a genetic component to the disease. Certain genes may predispose individuals to addiction, making them more vulnerable to developing addiction in response to environmental factors.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to drugs or alcohol at an early age, social influences, and stress can all contribute to the development of addiction. Childhood trauma, such as abuse or neglect, can also increase the risk of addiction.

Brain Chemistry

Neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, play a crucial role in addiction. Changes in the production, release, or reception of these neurotransmitters can contribute to the development of addiction.

Peer Pressure

Social factors, such as peer pressure, can also contribute to the development of addiction. Individuals may start using drugs or alcohol to fit in with a certain group, leading to the development of addiction over time.

Availability of Drugs

The availability of drugs or alcohol can also contribute to the development of addiction. Individuals who are exposed to drugs or alcohol in their environment may be more likely to develop addiction.

What are Addictive Substances?

What Are Addictive Substances?

Addictive substances are psychoactive – they have some effect on the mind. Every addictive substance people abuse, from nicotine to heroin, affects the way the brain communicates with the body. Chiefly, addictive substances make us feel good. For a while, anyway.

There are seven basic kinds of drugs:


Depressants make us feel calm and relaxed. Alcohol is a depressant, as are benzodiazepines like Xanax, GHB, and even drugs like Ambien. Barbiturates, once widely prescribed, are particularly dangerous depressants.

Dissociative Drugs

These drugs make people feel like they’re separated from reality. Ketamine, nitrous oxide, and PCP are all dissociative drugs. Dextromethorphan (DXM), an over-the-counter medication, can act as a dissociative in large amounts.


This class of drugs affects the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. They include natural cannabinoids from cannabis as well as dangerous synthetic versions.


These are a wide family of drugs including morphine, heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone, among many others. Opioids work by binding with certain areas on nerve cells. This changes the way we experience pain, which is why opioids are used as painkillers. Unfortunately, they can also create feelings of euphoria and well-being, which is why these drugs are so often abused. Opioids are also extremely dangerous as they can slow breathing to the point of suffocation.


Stimulants include illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine as well as ADHD medications like Adderall and Ritalin. As their name implies, stimulants create feelings of intense energy when taken. Also, MDMA/Molly, a party drug, is also partially classed as a stimulant.


This class of substances changes the way a person perceives reality. DMT, magic mushrooms, LSD, and peyote are all hallucinogenic substances. While they’re considered to not be physically addictive like the other drugs on this list, they’re still capable of putting a person’s health in serious jeopardy.


One of the most dangerous forms of drugs, inhalants are solvents, chemicals, and other household products that are sniffed as a way to get high. Most inhalants were never intended for human consumption, and their long-term effects aren’t understood.

The substances mentioned above are all different, but they have one thing in common: they all affect the brain’s reward center, causing the brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine makes us feel good. Normally, the brain only releases small amounts of dopamine. These substances cause the brain to release massive amounts of dopamine, which creates the euphoric high that drives addictive behaviors.

As for how quickly they cause someone to develop an addiction, that’s not an easy question to answer. It depends on numerous components, such as:

  • The way a person takes the substance (via injection, sniffing, snorting, or eating)
  • How often and for how long a person uses substances
  • Duration by each substance to generate its effects

The ability of the substance to produce tolerance and a timeline of withdrawal symptoms

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What are the Different Kinds of Substance Use Disorders?

What Are the Different Kinds of Substance Use Disorders?

There are multiple kinds of substance use disorders. All of them can ruin a person’s life if left untreated, and many of them can even kill. However, all substance use disorders have one thing in common: they’re treatable.

Here are a few of the substance use disorders The Edge Treatment Center provides evidence-based care for:

People sometimes cannot control and manage their drinking habits despite adverse reactions and complications to their overall health, relationships, and career. Chronic alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD) can affect the pancreas, kidney, liver, and immune system, increasing the likelihood of contracting cancer.

Although alcohol addiction is a serious disease, it’s treatable.

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Persistent consumption of opioids, prescribed or non-prescribed, can lead to severe narcotic/opioid use disorder or opioid addiction. Opioids in the form of painkillers are the most abused opioid drugs in America. This particularly lethal form of substance abuse can rapidly spiral out of control if left untreated.

Getting help for opioid addiction is critical. With the right help, it’s possible to leave opioids behind for good.

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Meth is incredibly potent, addictive, and dangerous. Methamphetamine addiction develops rapidly and has devastating mental and physical effects. However, meth addiction is treatable. Evidence-based methods and proven addiction medicine help free people from the harmful cycle of meth addiction.

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Cocaine has been a popular party drug for decades. It’s also a very addictive stimulant. Whether it’s snorted as a powder, injected, or smoked as crack cocaine, this drug can turn a life upside-down. Cocaine is also exceptionally dangerous when mixed with other drugs and can damage the nose and internal organs. Fortunately, cocaine addiction is treatable. We’ll help you leave cocaine abuse behind.

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Cannabis, or marijuana, is among the most misused substances in America. Marijuana is commonly smoked but can also be eaten, brewed, or vaporized leading to chronic breathing problems. In addition, smoking marijuana can impact the brain receptors causing concentration inabilities, increased heart rate, mood swings, altered sense of time and colors, and short-term memory loss.

Marijuana addiction is treatable. If you’re tired of the “wake and bake” routine, we’ll help you develop a life where cannabis use isn’t necessary.

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Stimulant drugs include cocaine, meth, and ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Stimulants are abused as party drugs and so-called study drugs for the perceived edge they give students on tests. Remember, prescription drugs aren’t safe to abuse – they can be every bit as destructive and addictive as street drugs

Stimulant addiction can cause severe damage to the body as well. The Edge Treatment Center will help you beat stimulant addiction and build a life where you can leave them behind.

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Xanax and other benzodiazepines are the most abused sedatives in America. They are often part of doctor-prescribed medication for anxiety and sleep disorders, but people keep consuming them to feel better. Unfortunately, tranquilizers and sedatives can lead to multiple problems, including fatal overdose. Plus, Xanax withdrawal is infamously difficult.

When it's done with professional help, however, Xanax withdrawal is safer, more comfortable, and far more likely to succeed. We provide expert help for Xanax addiction

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Fentanyl is easily one of the deadliest drugs you can abuse. Extremely potent and easy to overdose on, fentanyl kills hundreds of people each week. Worse, this synthetic opioid is often sold as other drugs or contaminates drug stashes. Many people killed by fentanyl aren’t even aware they’re taking it.

Fortunately, fentanyl addiction is treatable and responds well to professional help. Getting help for fentanyl addiction is incredibly important – for many, it’s only a matter of time before they overdose.

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The Difference Between Substance Abuse and Substance Use Disorder

The Difference Between Substance Abuse and Substance Use Disorder

The terms "substance abuse" and "substance use disorder" are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two. Substance abuse refers to the compulsive and uncontrolled use of a substance, while SUD is a clinical diagnosis that involves criteria such as impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is less about substances and more about behaviors. In general, any use of illicit street drugs like heroin, cocaine, or meth is considered substance abuse. However, substance abuse also applies to legal substances like alcohol, marijuana/cannabis, and prescription drugs. Using substances in an unsafe manner (like when you’re driving) is substance abuse.

It’s also possible to abuse prescription drugs. Here are the various forms of prescription drug abuse:

  • Using someone else’s prescription
  • Taking more of a prescription than prescribed
  • Using a prescription drug recreationally or for a purpose outside of the prescription
  • Trying to obtain additional prescriptions illegally, like doctor shopping
  • Taking a prescription longer than it was prescribed

All of these are forms of substance abuse.

Substance abuse starts in many ways, but self-medicating is a common path. People who are dealing with the effects of sexual assault, problems at work or school, unemployment, pregnancy issues, violence, or past trauma often deal with the pain through substance abuse. Some people recover from substance abuse on their own over time, but many become liable to their triggers and resort to substance misuse.

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a clinical term used to diagnose individuals who have a problematic pattern of using substances, such as drugs or alcohol. It falls under the umbrella of addiction and involves compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite negative consequences.

People with SUD may experience physical and psychological symptoms when they try to stop using the substance, making it challenging to quit without professional help. This is where addiction treatment comes into play, as it can provide the necessary support and tools for individuals to overcome SUD.

Research indicates that a person can simultaneously suffer from one or two substance use disorders. Alcohol use disorder or AUD and opioid use disorders are major examples of this condition. SUD can substantially influence your connections with friends, family, or colleagues, overall health, and quality of life. Left untreated, all forms of substance use disorder are potentially fatal, so seeking professional support becomes critical.

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What are the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders?

What Are the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders?

As stated by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM), the symptoms of substance use disorder involve the following:

  • Undergoing symptoms of withdrawal that can be easily managed and alleviated after consuming more medications and drugs
  • Misusing prescription medicines in ways not authorized by the doctor (such as increasing the dose or continuing intake for longer).
  • Holding a compulsive urge or feeling to consume more
  • Not being able to reduce the dosage of drugs and manage their potency at the same time
  • Investing a large amount of time in acquiring and consuming the substances or withdrawing from their dangerous effects
  • Unable to meet obligations regarding family, school, or workplace owing to substance misuse
  • Maintaining drug consumption even if it is costing you your relationships
  • Unable to develop an interest in hobbies, chores, and activities that you once enjoyed
  • Unable to see the dangerous consequences caused by substance use
  • Continuing substance abuse, even after suffering from inherent physical or mental health concerns that have aggravated after prolonged substance consumption
  • Developing resistance to the substances has caused you to increase your dosage

Asking for help is normal and wise after you notice these indications of substance use disorder or addictive nature. Several other signs and behavioral changes of SUDs may involve the following:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Confusion
  • Forgetting to eat, sleep, or maintain hygiene
  • Mood swings
  • Abrupt changes in behavior
  • Denying allegations of substance use
  • Suspicious behavior and conduct to hide addictive nature
  • Starting not to care about overall appearance
Health Problems Caused by Substance Abuse

Health Problems Caused by Substance Abuse

The challenges and additional difficulties confronted because of substance use conditions are wide and might rely on the kind and manner of substance consumption.

Addiction harms many of the body’s organs and systems, including:

  • Circulatory system (heart, blood, and blood vessels)
  • Central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
  • Endocrine system (hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid)
  • Renal system (kidney, ureters, and urethra)
  • Hepatic area (liver)
  • Immune system (cells and proteins)

This can result in:

  • Heart attack
  • Loss of memory and other cognitive difficulties
  • Permanent changes in mental functioning
  • Convulsions or epileptic attacks
  • Liver failure
  • Perforation of the nasal septum
  • Neural functioning impairment
  • Low respiratory rate
  • Brain injury
  • Overdose
  • Blood-borne diseases include hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) caused by sharing needles
  • Some forms of cancer – alcohol is a known carcinogen
  • Death
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Addiction Treatment: How are Substance Use Disorders Treated?

Addiction Treatment: How Are Substance Use Disorders Treated?

Treatment and psychotherapy for substance use disorders demand ongoing care to succeed because SUD is a critical condition that can lead to relapse if not appropriately controlled.

In addition, there is a high possibility that patients suffering from SUDs are prone to suffering from co-occurring mental and physical health conditions. Known as a dual diagnosis, addressing this is key to a lasting recovery.

Treatment for substance abuse and addiction is done in a variety of settings:

Drug Detox

Drug detox allows addictive substances to leave a person’s body in a safe, controlled fashion.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab (also called residential drug rehab) provides 24/7 care for people early in recovery.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient drug rehab is more flexible and helps people readjust to ordinary life.


This final level of care lasts a person’s lifetime, helping them live a life free from addiction. This can include participating in sober living or transitional housing and/or attending 12-step and other support groups.

12-step groups encourage behavioral change via self-help and social assistance. Such services' essential idea is that those suffering from SUD must comprehend that their disease is persistent and will not go entirely. In addition, group treatment assists those suffering from SUD in preserving self-control and constraint.

What is Behavioral Addiction?

What Is Behavioral Addiction?

A behavioral, process, or non-substance addiction involves various activities and conducts that do not include narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, cigarettes, or other illicit or non-illicit substances. For example, eating excess food, engaging in intercourse frequently, watching porn videos continuously, making dangerous bets, or being glued to a device for hours all include addiction to non-substances.

Like drugs, these activities induce pleasure neurons in the brain called dopamine, making it difficult for people to reduce their addictive habits.

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What are Some Common Behavioral Addictions?

What Are Some Common Behavioral Addictions?

Non-substance addiction can be formed through various activities or behaviors. A few of the more common behavioral addictions include:

Gambling addiction is very similar to reliance on drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Gambling addiction is classified as an addiction condition by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). According to research, gambling addictions activate identical parts of the brain as addictions to drugs, and gambling disorder treatment is typically incorporated in the same types of psychotherapy rehabs as substance misuse.

Gambling addiction is a dangerous addiction – aside from the financial damage it causes, it can also lead to assaults from people looking to collect debts. Gambling addiction is also treatable, and it’s possible to learn how to live a happier life without compulsive gambling.

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It’s been debated for years whether compulsive eating is food addiction, a disorder, or just an excuse to eat and enjoy food more. However, obsessive eating is a genuine mental health concern. Eventually, it causes severe physical and emotional ailments such as obesity, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, Type II diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.

Binge eating disorder is among the most frequent eating problems in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,and it impacts individuals of all races and ethnicities. Binge eating disorder affects around 1.25% of adult women and 0.42% of adult men, and approximately 1.6% of teenagers aged 13 to 18 are also influenced.

The signs of food addiction include eating to relieve stress, overeating when isolated, and experiencing guilt following a binge. The root of eating disorders is unknown, although it is most likely related to depression rather than addiction. Our deep understanding of dual diagnosis helps us effectively treat food addiction.

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Many people use “retail therapy” as a way to treat themselves or pick themselves up when they feel down. For some people, however, shopping can become a compulsion that sends them to financial ruin. Sometimes, even substance abuse plays a role as people self-medicate for shame and anxiety over money problems.

At The Edge Treatment Center, a person dealing with shopping addiction can learn successful and healthy coping mechanisms. We’ll help you learn how to find comfort without compulsive shopping.

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We exist in a contemporary world with advancement in all aspects of living. The Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) have made us all dependent on wired networks to function smoothly. Mental health experts do not consider internet addiction a conventional form of addiction. However, it can cause serious trouble for specific individuals, especially teenagers and young adults accustomed to its work.

Excessive internet usage can cause a lack of control and coordination with grave consequences in personal, social, and work life. The NCBI has confirmed that obsessive internet usage can influence 6-14% of internet users.

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Our always-on world means everyone from time to time feels like they’re chained to their mobile devices. But what happens when a person literally can’t put down their mobile phone?

Mobile phone addiction is sometimes referred to as “nomophobia” -- the fear of being without a mobile phone. Mobile phone software keeps us glued to the screens, enveloping us in both real and virtual worlds.

Like any compulsive behavior, mobile phone addiction is treatable. At The Edge Treatment Center, we’ll work with you to help you disconnect from your device and live life in the present.

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Research indicates that video game addiction is most prevalent in teenage boys and young men. Playing video games for hours can degrade your thinking abilities, lack of mobility can cause aches and discomfort, and sitting and eating in one place can generate binge eating habits and lead to obesity.

Many game developers – especially mobile game developers – have studied the same reward cycles gambling machines use. It’s no wonder many people develop compulsive behaviors around gambling.

With the right help, it’s possible to get free of compulsive gaming. At The Edge Treatment Center, we help clients develop healthy coping skills and strategies to move past compulsive behaviors into a freer life.

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Is sex addiction a real problem? Yes – compulsive sexual behavior is a recognized mental disorder. It’s a harmful one, too – STDs, legal issues, and more all result from sex addiction. However, there are numerous treatments and therapeutic interventions available to address uncontrollable sex desires.

Symptoms of sex addiction, such as lack of self-control and ignoring hazards and repercussions, are extremely comparable to those of conventional/drug addictions. We have a deep understanding of compulsive behavior, and The Edge will help treat the symptoms of sex addiction.

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What Causes Behavioral Addictions?

What Causes Behavioral Addictions?

Addiction is a condition that influences an individual's cognitive function, according to the majority of health specialists all over the world. The individual's reward, excitement, and mental processes have been significantly transformed, so engaging in addictive conduct provides both psychological and physical fulfillment. The enthusiasm or “rush” stops an individual from maintaining inappropriate behaviors regardless of the negative consequences.

Prolonged participation in these events triggers a cascade of euphoric experiences and unusual behavioral features, making individuals increasingly addicted.

A process addiction diagnosis necessitates the assistance of a psychological or medical expert. A medical staff of mental health professionals and physicians conducts an in-depth evaluation of the individual. Monitor the individual's behavior for signs of non-substance dependency, and if those signs persist, consult a medical expert promptly for treatment

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

What are the Symptoms of Behavioral Addiction?

What Are the Symptoms of Behavioral Addiction?

An individual suffering from one or more non-substance addictions is typically known for engaging in harmful, self-defeating behaviors without any regard to outcomes. Here’s an example: A person addicted to gambling will continue to gamble even if they’re in danger of being physically assaulted by debt collectors.

Another example: A person with mobile phone addiction will not stop their usage concerning their examination, weak eyesight, or headaches. Mentioned below are indications and signs of non-substance addictions:

  • Ongoing participation in dangerous and problematic behaviors
  • Contradictory emotional reaction
  • Powerful urges to participate in addictive tasks
  • Weakened connections with friends, family members, and acquaintances
  • Indecisive thinking and lack of concentration
Addiction Treatment: How Addiction Gets Treated

Addiction Treatment: How Addiction Gets Treated

Has helped many people suffering from behavioral or non-substance addictions. Therapy assists you in identifying and comprehending your stress triggers, as well as learning and practicing positive coping techniques.

Therapy can be done in a variety of different settings:

Inpatient/Residential Treatment

Residential treatment centers are frequently required for persons who have engaged in particularly damaging or risky behavior to build a solid framework for recovery. This is a good choice for people who need more intensive therapy or believe they need a structured environment to stay on track with changing their behavior. Inpatient treatment provides care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in facilities staffed by addiction therapists, health care specialists, and medical practitioners.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment centers are available for people suffering from non-substance addictions, where a licensed psychologist, therapist, or certified case manager typically provides therapy and counseling. In addition, meetings for individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, or a combination are often held professionally. While psychiatric medication is not typically regarded as a first-line treatment for impulse control issues, some people are interested in its potential.

Support Groups

Finally, there are free or low-cost support groups in many towns. These are unofficial gatherings of people coping with a similar situation and can be a great method to get support from others who have been through similar experiences. However, because these groups are typically voluntary and peer-led, they may not be led by a trained expert. These groups work by creating a sense of mutual accountability among their members.

Your Path to Sobriety Starts Here

Your Path to Sobriety Starts Here

Achieving sobriety is more than just overcoming addiction; it's about rediscovering yourself and the joys of life without dependency. We are here to guide you through every step of this life-changing journey. We will offer you understanding, support, and strategies you need to succeed.

Make today the day you choose change.


Get Help Today with Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment

At The Edge Treatment Center, we offer comprehensive treatment and recovery services for individuals struggling with addiction. Whether it’s a process addiction or addiction to drugs and alcohol, we use evidence-based techniques to free people from harmful behavior patterns.

Want to learn more about how addiction is treatable? Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.


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