Addiction – A Chronic Disease
Addiction is probably the single most misunderstood disease in the world. The majority of people who have no firsthand experience with the disease believe that those who suffer from addictive disorders are simply irresponsible, repeatedly making bad decisions and giving little thought to the emotional well-being of their loved ones. The truth is that addiction is a legitimate and diagnosable disease, one that is medically and scientifically recognized. A study recently published by the US National Library of Medicine titled, “Free Will and the Brain Disease Model of Addiction: The Not So Seductive Allure of Neuroscience and its Modest Impact on the Attribution of Free Will to People With an Addiction.” The study explores the idea of free will in the context of addictive disorders. While the brain disease model of addiction argues that addiction significantly reduces the attribution of free will in the sufferer, others believe that arguing that free will is compromised allows the sufferer to be less responsible and blame irresponsible behaviors on the addictive disorder without taking any responsibility.
The truth is that while addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease, it will ultimately be up to the individual to seek professional addiction treatment. However, sometimes the individual will be so immersed in his or her addictive disorder that intervention is necessary – without a professionally staged intervention, help will not be sought. At Chapel Hill Detox we are in communication with professional, experienced and compassionate interventionists who will gladly work alongside you and your family in order to get your loved one to commit to the addiction treatment that he or she so desperately needs. We work hard to educate our clients and their loved ones on the disease model of addiction and the importance of long-term care – which always begins with the process of physical stabilization that takes place in an inpatient detox facility. To learn more about our medically monitored detox program, feel free to give us a call today.
10 Things You Need to Know
When it comes to active addiction, there are several things to know.
- Addiction is not a choice. Individuals who suffer from addiction do not actively decide to develop a substance abuse disorder. They do not wake up one day and think to themselves, “You know what, I think I am going to start running my life. I think I’m going to start drinking excessively and push everyone I love away, isolating myself completely and eventually falling into an unconquerable pit of despair and loneliness.” When it comes to the development of an addictive disorder, there are always numerous contributing factors at play. It is often a combination of family history with substance abuse (genetic factors), underlying mental health disorders and unresolved trauma. It is important to understand that those who suffer from addiction have lost their ability to make positive and healthy decisions entirely.
- Addiction has nothing to do with weak moral standing or bad character. One of the main stigmas surrounding addiction is the mistaken belief that those who struggle with addiction have a lack of will-power or a weak character. Addiction has nothing to do with an inherent lack of morals. Addiction is an all-consuming disease, one that lowers inhibitions and causes individuals to act in reckless and self-destructive ways. If you have a loved one who has been suffering at the hands of an addictive disorder, try to understand that he or she has very limited control over his or her thoughts and behaviors.
- If underlying mental health issues are present, they must be addressed simultaneously. It used to be believed that addiction and mental health were separate, and that they were best treated in separate facilities. It is now understood that addiction and mental illness go hand-in-hand. In order for addiction to be successfully treated, all underlying mental health conditions must be effectively treated at the same time in a dual diagnosis treatment facility. At Chapel Hill Detox, we offer psychiatric evaluations to those who are unsure whether or not an underlying mental health condition is present. If one is determined to exist the client will be set up with a dual diagnosis rehab facility.
- Hitting rock bottom is never a prerequisite to effective recovery. Some mistakenly believe that in order to become willing to recover, they must first hit rock bottom. The truth is, professional help can be sought at any point in time – and it is always better to seek professional care sooner rather than later (seeing as addiction is a progressive disease).
- No matter how severe an addictive disorder has become, recovery is always possible. Those who have been suffering from severe substance abuse disorders begin to feel helpless, hopeless, alone and without any options. The truth is that no matter how severe and life-threatening an addictive disorder has become, help is available – and recovery is possible.
- Addictive disorders are not always glaringly obvious. Some individuals hide the symptoms of their addictive disorders surprisingly well. If you have noticed some slight behavioral changes in someone you know well, or if you believe you might be struggling with a substance abuse disorder but are not entirely sure, we are available to help.
- There is no easy solution or quick fix when it comes to overcoming an addictive disorder. There is no short-cut – recovery takes time. The payoff will be huge, but it is important to understand that undergoing a comprehensive recovery program is not going to serve as a quick fix or simple solution.
- Active addiction affects everyone around it. Addiction affects the loved ones of the sufferer, his or her friends and coworkers, and people that might not even know the individual well – or directly. Addiction is an extremely far-reaching and devastating disease.
- Recovery is about much more than “quitting” – it is about healing. Even if you are able to put down the drinks and the drugs for an extended period of time, it does not mean you are “in recovery.” Really, it just means that you are “dry.” In order for long-term recovery to occur, comprehensive healing must take place. This includes intensive therapeutic care and a close look at all underlying factors.
- Withdrawal symptoms can begin occurring even after weeks of use, depending on the chemical substances involved. Addiction can occur quickly – and this means that withdrawal can also happen after a very short period of time. If you want to quit using once and for all, it is important that you admit yourself to a medical detox facility immediately. For more information on the admissions process, please feel free to give us a call at your earliest possible convenience.
Why Is Addiction Treatment Important?
A comprehensive program of addiction treatment generally means the difference between long-term sobriety and relapse. In most cases, addiction recovery will take place in phases. These phases include:
- Medically monitored detox
- Inpatient or residential drug and alcohol rehab
- Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP)
- Outpatient treatment (OP)
- Sober living housing
- Long-term aftercare planning
Addiction treatment is important for several reasons. First of all, addiction is a highly complicated and far-reaching disease, one that devastates mental and emotional health as well as the physical body. A medically monitored detox program, much like the one offered at Chapel Hill Detox, will always be a necessary first step on the lifelong road to addiction recovery. For more information or to get started on your own personal journey of drug or alcohol addiction recovery, please feel free to reach out to our treatment advisors at any point in time.