Addiction and, more importantly, getting to the root cause of addiction is a difficult problem that plagues our society, and it seems to be worsening and more destructive over time. The solution is not simple, as there are a host of factors that contribute. This is the start of a multi-part blog on this subject of addiction. I will address all the various aspects.
The biggest contributor to causes of addiction in my opinion is the lack of treatment or inadequate treatment of the underlying causes of addiction, which is the underlying mood disorder such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADD, etc. This is why abusing addictive substances is referred to as “self-medicating”, since they get high in order to feel better for the moment in order to lift themselves out of their depression or calm their anxieties.
There is a misconception by many that psychotropic medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are “just as bad” as the substances of abuse, which is completely untrue. These preventative medications are non-addictive, and treat the core problem of neurochemical imbalances which is caused by genetic factors (a history of addiction and/or mood disturbances in the family), hormonal imbalances (which is why peak years of addiction starts in puberty which is middle school to high school, and also middle age). It is also exacerbated by situational stressors such as problems at home, school, work, financial stress, relationship problems, etc.
Even in the “addiction community” such as rehab centers, 12-step meetings/groups and parents/ relatives of addicts, there is a strong anti-medication mentality that is difficult to change. Though I have a very good reputation overall, I have been labeled by some as an “over-prescriber”, and have been lumped in the same category by a minority of people as doctors who prescribe a lot of opiates such as Oxycontin, Opana, Morphine, Vicodin, etc. This shows a complete misunderstanding of what my practice is all about, which is treating the underlying causes of addiction with non-addictive medications. I have a very high success rate treating those struggling with active addiction and preventing relapse. I will continue part 2 of Addiction next week. Bye for now.