Once an addiction is established, the craving and compulsion make continued and sustained abstinence harder and harder to attain. We now know the chemicals and parts of the brain that are altered in addictions. Although there is no cure with help, as with other chronic illnesses, you may attain long-term remissions from addictive disorders.
About 20% of people with substance use disorders have other types of psychiatric problems, such as depression or personality disorders. With addictions we often see a person's personality and behaviour change. Fortunately these changes are the result of, rather than the cause of, the addiction. With good treatment and sustained abstinence, the personality and behavioural changes are reversible.
In about 20% of cases, addictions occur in people with other psychiatric problems. It is most likely that the alcohol or drug dependent person who suffers from anxiety and depression has these psychiatric symptoms because of the substance use disorder. Although prolonged emotional discomfort or dysphoria is one of the risk factors for developing substance use disorders, once an addiction occurs it is a primary disorder. This means it stands alone. Treating the depression, anxiety, or dysphoria will not fix the substance dependence. If a true psychiatric second diagnosis or a second disorder exists, then successful recovery will require that both disorders receive proper treatment.
In a way this is true: substance dependent people must experience sufficient discomfort from their drug use before they will be motivated enough to seek help. There are many ways we may facilitate this process. We can stop covering up for, cleaning up after, and making excuses for the substance dependent person. Offer them the choice of taking responsibility for getting help or facing the legal, work, home, and relationship consequences of their addiction-influenced behaviour. They will often grudgingly seek help. Studies show that they don't have to be internally motivated to recover in order for treatment to work.
Partly true, partly false. Increased availability of alcohol and other drugs results in increased use of the drugs. Increased use results in increased negative consequences, including increased population risk for addictions. During prohibition years we saw the lowest rates of health consequences of alcohol, such as cirrhosis or alcohol-induced dementias. Following removal of prohibition, the consumption of alcohol in the U.S. increased again, and with it an increase in documented health consequences. Public health measures to reduce harm due to drugs must balance government policies (pricing, retail availability, requirement for prescription, legal sanctions for possession or selling) with demand reduction strategies (prevention education, early identification-intervention, treatment).
For every complex problem there is a solution that is quick and easy - and wrong. Addictions are biological or neurochemical-neuroanatomical in pathology. But they are also psychosocial in both cause and in manifestations or consequences. By the time an addicted person is ready for help, many areas of their life have been negatively affected. They need help to identify the areas that need changing and develop strategies to stop using drugs and acquire emotional and even spiritual peace with themselves. Although medication may prove life-saving early in the recovery process, a pill will not provide all that is necessary for successful recovery.
Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.