What is Addiction?
Addiction is a condition characterized by repeated, compulsive seeking and use of drugs, alcohol or similar substances despite adverse social, mental and physical consequences. In most cases, it is accompanied by psychological and physical dependence on the substances that are being abused. When this happens, there will be withdrawal symptoms of greater or lesser severity when the addictive substance is discontinued or rapidly reduced.
When your loved one tries to quit, promises to quit and desires to get clean more than anything but can't seem to stick with it, the problem is addiction and it needs professional assistance to attain a lasting sobriety.
A person can be addicted to an illicit drug such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana or methamphetamine, any form of alcohol, or prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin or dextromethorphan, an ingredient in cough syrup. People also become addicted to using inhalants such as compressed air for cleaning computers or spray paint. There is a growing list of synthetic drugs referred to as "club drugs" that include GHB, ketamine, Ecstasy and Mephedrone.
Is Addiction a Disease?
In some addiction treatment circles, addiction is referred to as a disease and is compared with heart disease or diabetes. People being treated for addiction are told that their disease is incurable and that they must learn to live with this disease for the rest of their lives.
One of the advantages some people find to classifying addiction as a disease is that it then can sound logical to treat it with drugs. Methadone, buprenorphine (in formulation, this is called Suboxone or Subutex), benzodiazepines, Antabuse and several other drugs are used to treat addiction in some treatment centers. Insurance companies understand a disease that can be treated with drugs, which makes it easier for many drug rehab facilities to bill insurance companies for treatment.
Narconon does not believe that addiction is a disease. It is not the experience at Narconon drug rehabilitation centers that addiction is incurable or that one must "live with it" for the rest of his or her life. In the experience of staff at these centers, it is possible to recover from addiction and enjoy a productive life. It is possible to build a new, drug-free life in which one has no cravings and does not wish to get high again.
Since drugs have never been used as part of the Narconon drug rehab, then it is obviously not necessary to give a person drugs to help them recover from addiction.
Can Addiction Be Overcome?
At Narconon rehabilitation facilities around the world, seven out of ten graduates go on to live drug-free lives. They have repaired the damage to their relationships, to their work ethic, to their morals, that was created by the use of drugs. They have recovered fresh viewpoints on life and once again perceive their environments without the foggy feeling that results from drug or alcohol abuse. Ask these people if they still crave drugs and very few will say yes, and those who might have an occasional craving have the life skills to successfully handle it and get on with life.
When a formerly addicted person can live life without further desire or interest in drugs or alcohol, then it is safe to say that he or she has overcome that addiction.
Who Gets Addicted and How?
Any person in the world can become addicted, given the right set of circumstances. First, there has to be a reason a person wants to abuse a substance such as an illicit drug, a prescription drug or alcohol. It has to solve some kind of problem for them, such as an escape from stress, relief from boredom or a desire to fit in with a group. When substance abuse seems to solve this problem for them, they may use the drug or alcohol again and again, continuing to seek relief from problem.
They can become dependent on the drug when they learn to rely on this drug and don't feel that life will be as satisfying if they stop using it. When the body develops its own dependence on that drug, that means that the body has made certain adjustments due to the continual supply of this drug that supplants some of the body's own natural functions and hormones. If the drug is withdrawn, the addicted body will go through a severe response pattern that may include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, severe aches and pain, headaches, depression, suicidality, paranoia, restlessness and other symptoms.
It takes a different amount of different drugs to become addicted. For some drugs like alcohol, it can take a lot of drinking to become an alcoholic. But with some drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, OxyContin or methamphetamine, just a few uses will suffice for some people to be just addicted enough that they can't walk away from it.
How Does a Person Change When They Are Addicted?
Of course the ways an addicted person changes will differ from person to person. But there are some rather common patterns. First, addicted people are going to accumulate a long list of things they have done that they regret or are ashamed of. This is going to make them withdraw from the normal kinds of communication and interaction with their loved ones. They may become irritable and secretive. This irritation may explode into hostility if they are questioned on their activities.
At first, people who are abusing substances may have the means to keep acquiring their chosen drugs. But for most people, as drugs interfere with their ability to maintain relationships and jobs, money becomes scarce. Items from the home or from the homes of family members may be stolen and pawned or sold. Savings and retirement funds may be emptied. If an addicted person has a business, the operating cash of the business may be directed toward supporting the addiction. If an addicted person is an employee, they may turn to theft or embezzlement. Some people begin to deal drugs or steal in order to finance their habit.
Addicted people very often become manipulative. If a family member tries to help or asks the addicted person to please quit using drugs, the addict may turn on the person who wants to help. The addiction is someone else's fault and they are not being supported... the number of ways an addicted person can become manipulative is endless. But you could consider that it is the addiction "talking" not the addict. The addict is not in control of his or her thoughts or actions but when the addiction is eliminated, he or she can be in control once again.
What if the Addicted Person Does Not Want Help?
It is possible to help an addicted person who does not recognize that they need help. And it is very common that addicted people feel that they have no choice but to continue to abuse drugs or alcohol so they may reject help that is offered.
It is not necessary to wait until a person "hits bottom." Some people die of overdose or injury while under the influence, before they can be gotten to a rehab. There are also incurable or difficult to cure diseases that can be contracted during an addiction.
This is what an interventionist does for a family and an addicted person. They are experienced and skilled at helping an addicted person grasp the bleak future ahead and seeing that by going to the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, they can have life back like it used to be. In most cases, they can repair their relationships with family and friends. They can have their self-esteem back. If you could see into an addicted person's heart, you would see that they deeply want these things back. An interventionist can be the key to helping this person choose sobriety now.
Life After Addiction
The best way for a former addict who has achieved sobriety to live is to create a full, enjoyable life. On the Narconon program, an essential element of recovery is for each addicted person to realize that they are responsible for his or her life, condition in life and future. By living this philosophy fully and creating a life one can enjoy, recovered addicts will never be tempted to look back. Having the support of one's family and the encouragement of those close to one makes lifetime sobriety a very real prospect.
Ref: Xanax Addiction
When you want to help someone who is struggling with addiction, or when you want to recover from your own addiction, contact the Intake Counselors at Narconon to find out how you can put the problem behind you for good.