Family Counseling is Important :


Addiction: An Equal Opportunity Disease


Uncomfortable feelings sometimes cause individuals to look for people, places and substances to feel better. Wanting to feel better when things are not going well is a natural desire. Self medicating with substances is a common negative choice to escape unwanted feelings. The excessive constant use of substances can lead to the disease of addiction. The disease of addiction has both nature (biological) and nurture (environment) components. As a result, addiction treatment should include both detox for the biological factors and a substance abuse program in the same facility to address environmental issues.

Disease Concept of Addiction

Addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on a substance or a behavior. Substances, after ingested, cross the blood brain barrier causing an alteration in chemicals in the brain, which produces euphoric feelings. The continued use of substances builds tolerance and substance dependence in the body. The addict is unable to manage both biological and environmental cravings and/or the behavioral impulse to use substances. Addiction is progressive and debilitating and shares the same characteristics as a medical disease. The medical model for addiction treatment has been established that alcohol and drug addiction are treatable diseases.

The disease of addiction does not discriminate between the characteristics of individuals who develop substance abuse problems. Addicts come in all shapes, sizes and from all walks of life: rich or poor, healthy or sick, spiritual or not, young or old, educated or illiterate. Although there is a pattern to the addiction process, there is no mold for the type of individual that is susceptible to developing an addiction other than certain genetic factors that have shown to be attributed to addiciton.

Alcohol and drug addiction is a treatable disease

An individualís biological make up creates vulnerability for the development of addiction. The environment nurtures an individualís response and influences the decision making processes.

Nature (Biological) and Nurture (Environmental) in Addiction

The great debate between nature verses nurture is ongoing.However, it is the combination of both that contributes to the disease of addiction. proffesionals who successfully treat addicts emphasize that you must simultaneously address the physical dependency and underlying psychological issues simultaneously.

Examples of nature -

Having an addicted family member, especially a parent, increases the chances for developing addiction because of similar genetic background. Addiction is not inevitable for those born with a genetic predisposition. For example, addiction may develop in one sibling but not in the other from the same genetic pool.
Substances distort the thinking process. Drug and alcohol use negatively disrupts the normal chemical processes in the brain which cause addicts problems in thinking clearly, paying attention and remembering.
Changes in brain chemistry from substance use influence the reward center in the brain that causes the sensation of pleasure. The brain and body will then crave substances in order to push the addict to use substances in order to create the euphoric effect.
Examples of nurture -

Experiences are characterized as good, bad, abusive, neglectful, indulgent or passive, etc. Individuals develop thoughts and feelings based upon experiences. Self-medicating behavior is often times in response to those feelings.
Introduction to substance use can be through parents, friends, doctors, and media and can occur at any age. However the younger the person is the more susceptible they are to these messages.
Abusing substances creates environmental issues for addicts such as misunderstandings in communication, unstable relationships and legal and financial problems.
The consequences of addiction such as issues with family, friends, employers and the law often result in the addict seeking treatment.

An Overview of Addiction Treatment

Treatment for addiction is important for addicts because stopping substance abuse is difficult after biological changes to the brain have occurred and unhealthy thought, emotional and behavioral patterns have occured. Detox addresses physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. A medically monitored drug and alcohol detox facility will safely detox the addict and should include:

24-hour medical supervision
Appropriate withdrawal processes that aim to prevent suffering and medical complications
Medical staff experienced in drug and alcohol detox
Transition from detox to substance abuse rehab
Two components of substance abuse treatment that need to be done consecutively are detox and rehab. After detox, it is highly recommended that an addict go to a residential treatment center. Research shows that the addict is at greater risk for relapse during the time period between detox and rehab.

A comprehensive addiction treatment center will include both detox and rehab at the same facility. A multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and therapists will continue to support and encourage the addict through the recovery process. In rehab, the alcoholic or drug addict will be in a healthy nurturing environment and will learn how to live a clean and sober life, manage unwanted feelings and gain relapse prevention skills. A quality residential treatment center will invite family to attend therapy sessions with the addict to learn about the familyís recovery process.




Articles - Mental Health


Articles - Addiction Recovery

  Alcohol and Depression   How Do I Get into Rehab?    
  Antidepressants   Challenging the Addiction    
  Anxiety and Phobias   Drug Rehab: A Therapist's Perspective    
  Bereavement   An Explanation of Hypnotherapy    
  Bipolar Affective Disorder   How to Choose the Best Rehab Center        
  Cannabis and mental health   Talking to Kids: Drug and Alcohol Help Resources        
  Checklist for people with mental health problems   5 Deadly Drug Combos        
  Checklist for carers   The 5 Truths for Parents of Drug Addicts        
  Depression   Addiction: An Equal Opportunity Disease        
  Drug Treatment of Alzheimer's disease   Meth Addiction and Recovery - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment        
  Mental Illness after Childbirth   An Online Guide to Nicotine Withdrawal        
  Obsessive compulsive disorder   Identifying and Helping a Loved One's Addiction        
  Postnatal Depression   What a Pain! Signs of Painkiller Addiction        
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder   Little Eyes Are Watching You        
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - key facts   Alcohol Abuse and the Brain: A Symphony of Chaos        
  Schizophrenia   Experiencing a Higher Power        
  Self harm - brief version            
  Sleeping well            
  Smoking & mental health            

© Copyrights 2013 - Islamic Medical Centre