Substance Abuse & Addiction

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Is addiction a disease?

I often get asked if I believe that Addiction is a disease.  What I can say is in the United States calling Addiction a Disease is common practice within my profession.  This is standard, and often follows the Medical Model of treatment.  I can’t say that I agree with this philosophy of Addiction.  I also don’t think we need to define it in order to treat it.  I also don’t believe that there is only 1 way to treat addiction.  I find that all people are unique in their own way, and finding out what works for each individual person is what’s important.  I have however in my work with Addiction is learned that Spiritual healing is necessary and an often neglected aspect of treatment.  I’m a huge proponent of AA as it provides a community of support.  What is often not talked about are the statistics of Addiction treatment.  Most US treatment centers follow the Medical Model- this encompasses 84% of programs today. Only about 3-5% of people who go through these programs find success.  This statistic should be alarming for people, and should make us question why this is so.  People often become Angry at the Addict.  They expect the Addict to JUST STOP!  Let me just address that no one can STOP anything.  One must REPLACE the habit with healthy choices.  In the treatment of addiction, we have to find a motivating force, a method to help the Addict focus on the long-term goal, and not the Now- the impulse, the need to “escape” to euphoria because whatever is going on Now is not worth the consequences of relapse.

Addiction is not limited to just drugs and alcohol.  It is also, not limited to those living in impoverished areas.  This is an issue that affects people from all backgrounds regardless of race, gender, socio economic status, and religion.  In my work with those struggling with Addiction, I believe in creating Hope, a safe, non-judgmental space where we can work towards discovery of motivations.  For those who are ready to do the work, we will work on healing the pain, the shame, guilt, and regret.

How do you treat addiction?

I don’t view “addicts” any different than any other client. We are all addictions in one way or another, we are all addicted to our way of thinking. I help my clients understand the relationship with their thoughts, feelings, and actions. It’s about breaking a cycle that isn’t serving you. Often we can’t see our own destructive ways until the pain reaches a level of intensity that becomes unbearable. Don’t wait for things to get worse! Get the help you need today! Pain is often a good first step and motivator to get us to show up and receive help, however in therapy we’ll tap into desire and re-establish a new sense of yourself that you’re happy with.