The Throes of Addiction: What does it mean and what can we do about it?
Written by Jimmy Passe, LPC, LCADC
In my experience as a mental health professional, I have worked with a lot of people that have been impacted by the disease of addiction. As you may know there is an epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose which has taken the lives of so many of our youth. Many people (especially adolescents) use licit or illicit drugs without knowledge of the long-term consequences that they come with. The potential consequences can happen quickly with devastating results which makes awareness & education key components to preemptively address drug/alcohol problems before they become much worse. Addiction is described as a relapsing brain disease meaning that it has direct influence of our nervous system and can run rampant without the support and treatment needed to create a foundation for the recovery process. With progression, individuals can develop a psychological and physical need for the drug/substance referred to as dependence. In essence, drug addiction is a war from within that pits competing values against each other and negatively impacts multiple areas of an addict’s life.
Many people start using alcohol and drugs for the most common reasons (e.g. to fit in, to cope with emotional/physical pain, avoid stress, peer pressure, to enhance their social experience, experimentation, etc.…). Many addicts are not ready to change until they hit “bottom”. In most cases, there is an underlying issue (history of trauma/abuse, mental illness, genetic predisposition, etc.…) that can be the root cause of addiction or contributing factor to relapse. Helping individuals develop a value system, formulate treatment plan goals tailored to their needs, develop coping strategies/skills to improve quality of life, and educating/counseling families is part of what I do to help. Despite the destruction that addiction can cause, there is still hope.
Here are some useful links that might be useful to those of you that have been impacted by addiction: