Drug Addiction And Dual Diagnosis Information
What constitutes addiction? Medical and religious communities have debated this issue for decades, yet they still don’t agree on any one theory. The truth is, addiction is a dynamic affliction and most likely encompasses some or all of these schools of thought.
The Disease Concept is the fundamental belief of any 12-Step program and means those battling addiction are born with a genetic predisposition to become addicted. Drug addiction and alcoholism are chronic, progressive and fatal diseases unless abstinence from drugs and alcohol is achieved.
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The Disease Concept, Dual Diagnosis and Recovery
Dual diagnosis is when there is an underlying mental illness dealt with using and abusing substances. In order to achieve sobriety, one must be abstain from drugs and alcohol, with the exception of prescribed psychiatric medications.
Moral corruptibility stems from the religious community. If an individual nurtures a sense of spirituality or a relationship with a higher power, recovery can be achieved. Answers can be found through meditation, prayer and involvement in a spiritual recovery program.
“The downward spiral” is a common and defining element with which all addicts and alcoholics struggle — that element is pain. The thought process behind how this pain develops into addiction is simple and logical.
At some point, those who battle addiction began to experience pain they are not equipped to handle. This pain is often unresolved and may remain dormant for years. A substance is then introduced to relieve the pain, be it alcohol, cocaine or prescription drugs. While substances can provide immediate gratification and temporarily relief, they perpetuate the sadness, guilt, remorse and shame that users are attempting to escape. Substance use increases as tolerance levels build, but as time passes, what once provided relief begins to create new pains. Relationships become strained, honesty and creditability disappear, family and friends are ignored, jobs are lost and/or dangerous behaviors are established.
For addicts, stopping the drug use is not an option, because when they do, the pain quickly reappears — only now the pain compounded by years of addiction becomes so overwhelming that the thought of facing reality, taking responsibility or getting sober is insurmountable. The problems compounding in the present environment are in fact fueling the addiction. This creates the downward spiral of addiction, which will continue until there is no escape, usually through treatment, jail or death.
Drug treatment and alcohol rehab centers exist to provide a safe place for individuals suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism, dual-diagnosis, eating disorders, gambling addiction, sex addiction or other compusive disorders, to learn, grow and heal from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.
The following is a list of commonly abused drugs, all of which can become physically and/or emotionally addicting and may lead to medical complications and withdrawal symptoms.
Beer, wine and hard liquor.
Alcohol is the most readily available drug, ranking third in the United States as a cause of death. Alcohol is classified as a depressant and can negatively impact the brain, vision, hearing and muscle coordination. Alcoholism impacts millions of Americans and their families every day. Among teens and college students, binge drinking has reached epidemic proportions.
Also known as ‘pot,’ ’weed,’ and ‘grass,’ marijuana can come in other forms, such as hash.
The marijuana of today isn’t what it was in the 60s and 70s; its potency has increased by nearly 700 percent. Pot can produce effects on the nervous system such as loss of energy, decreased coordination, memory loss and questionable judgment or reasoning.
Also known as ‘smack,’ ’horse,’ ’H,’ ’tar’ and ‘China White.’
Heroin creates a powerful and sudden physical dependency. Synthetically produced opiates are manufactured primarily as pain relievers. When abused, they become just as dangerous as herion, their street cousin. More common prescription opiates are Morphine, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Lortab/Loratab, Dilaudid, Darvon, Percocet, Percodan, Demerol, Hydrocodone and Codine/Codeine. Methadone has also been used as a pain reliever and medication to ease heroin withdrawal symptoms. However, there newer alternatives, such as buprenorphine and soboxin, have been found to be effective without some of methadone’s drawbacks.
Also known as ‘coke,’ ’blow,’ ’powder,’ ’snow,’ and ‘nose candy,’ or in the case of crack cocaine, ‘rock’ or ‘base.’
Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs available today, offering an intense rush that lasts for 15 to 30 minutes. As tolerance builds, more cocaine use is needed to sustain the effects. Negative complications are severe and can include respiratory problems, behavioral changes and time distortion. Chronic cocaine use can result in permanent brain impairment.
Also known as ‘speed,’ ’meth,’ ’crystal,’ ’crank,’ ’uppers’ and ‘bennies.’
Pharmaceutical versions include Ritalin, Dexedrine and Cylert. These are very potent stimulants often used by people who want to stay awake and active for extended periods of time. Other than the pharmaceuticals, which can also lead to problems, meth is usually cooked in home-based laboratories using chemicals commonly available in grocery and drug stores. However, when combined to make meth, they are quite volatile and can lead to explosions. The residue is also very dangerous and hazardous to the health of those exposed. Meth is very addictive, and can cause violent and paranoid behavior.
Also known as ‘yellow jackets,’ ’ludes,’ ’roofies’ and ‘reds’ and include pharmaceutical drugs, such as barbiturates, and tranquilizers, such as Xanax, Librium, Ativan and Valium.
Because of the availability of these drugs through prescriptions, benzos are very easily abused, usually over a long period of time. As a result, the long-term, negative implications can be quite severe.
- ‘Ecstasy’ (also known as ‘extasy,’ ’X,’ ‘XTC’ and ‘essence’)
- ‘GHB’ (also known as ‘liquid ecstasy’ and ‘G’)
- ‘Ketamine’ (also known as ‘K,’ ’Kat,’ ’Special K’ and ‘Vitamin K’)
- ‘PCP’ (also known as ‘Angel Dust’)
- ‘LSD’ (or acid)
Ecstasy combines the properties of methamphetamine and mescaline, offering not only a rush, but also hallucinogenic qualities. Heavy doses can have wide ranging negative consequences. GHB and Rohypnolare are commonly used to relax, but have also commonly been used in many cases of date rape. In large doses, GHB can also result in coma and death. Ketamine and PCP are veterinary anesthetics, and large enough doses can cause violent behavior, delirium, high blood pressure, amnesia and respiratory problems. LSD was the hallucinogenic drug of choice in the 70s and is still readily available, producing delusions and loss of reality.