One of the most challenging and dangerous issues I face in practice is addiction. We lost our step neice Vanessa recently to opiate/narcotic overdose. I unfortunately see a lot of tragic outcomes with regards to this issue. Getting high is an attempt to escape from reality for those who want to, and they self-medicate in unhealthy ways.
Almost alway, people with addictive tendencies have underlying neorochemical imbalances which results in depression, anxiety, ADD, bipolar disorder, OCD, or a combination of these all at one time. Addiction is a brain disease, and it is important to treat this core problem in order to treat it most completely and effectively. If not, then the chance of relapse and cross-addiction is very common.
To explain this it is important to remember that there are many types of addictions. In addition to illicit drugs and alcohol, others include cigarettes/chewing tobacco, gambling, sexual, pornography, internet and internet games, shopping, eating disorders and others. Many who beat the drug and alcohol abuse cross-addict to one of the others. Treating the underlying embalances and getting proper individulal counceling and groups such as twelve-step meetings decreases the possibility of relapse and switching addictions.
Unfortunately in the addiction community, such as rehab centers, twleve-step groups and sober living environments the trend tends to be an “anti-medication” mentality. Some view psychotropic medications as addictive, as a “crutch” or just a substitute for the illicit drug. These opinions are based on missinformation, and are simply not true. These medications are not mind-altering, but rather mind-normalizing. Achieving optimal chemical balance in the nervous system is the simplest and best non-addictive solution to the problem of addiction, which is truly a scourge in our society.