Addiction to a substance or behavior is complex affecting the addictive person and everyone around them. We help every individual at their unique state of development, motivation, and readiness for treatment and recovery
The power of obsessive behaviors in our lives is complex, confusing, and baffling. It flies in the face of sanity that an individual faced with an imminent threat to his or her own survival will continue to behave in a manner that will most certainly result in self-destruction. In spite of billions of dollars spent on the “drug war” and the thousands of lives destroyed by drugs, alcohol, and other addictive activities, we continue to seek out ways to change and expand our consciousness. Gripped by addiction, people are engaged in a powerful internal struggle with the most deeply held parts of themselves. It is believed that at the root of addictions of all kinds, to behaviors and substances, is a drive that is a hard wired evolutionary imperative. We all have an ongoing need to change our consciousness. We see this in the new infant as the orienting response. A newborn will automatically orient or respond to new stimulus. This need for new stimulus is the fundamental basis of our curiosity driving our need to climb the highest mountain, to explore the deepest parts of our oceans and pursue the outer reaches of the universe. This need is both a secret to our evolution and success as a living organism, and at the same time, the seat of destructive obsessions with substances and behaviors. Be they drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or relationships, overcoming addiction really means a changing of consciousness from within as opposed to artificial and ultimately destructive external means.
Addiction is fundamental need gone awry. It is recognized as a chronic progressive disease with genetic, psychological and environmental causes and consequences. Substance abuse, if untreated, becomes a progressive force characterized by different phases of use, i.e. experimental periodic use, binge substance abuse, eventually late stage chronic and continuous use, all leading to a potential early death.
Below is a list of the drug categories with associated substances that are the most widely used and abused to “get high.” However, these are but a few of the innumerable ways that we as humans seek to change our consciousness in ways that become obsessive.
Biological Effect: Depress excitable tissue in brain and nervous system, relax body muscles and bring on sleep.
Biological Effect: Decrease pain; create a drowsy, euphoric state.
Biological Effect: Stimulate central nervous system, producing euphoria, hypersensitivity, insomnia and appetite suppression.
Biological Effect: Produce hallucinations which are generally visual, but can affect sound or smell. Poisoning of the brain produces abnormal thinking.
Biological Effect: Pharmacologically related to hallucinogens. Creates an experience of floating and having no feelings.
Biological Effect: Derived from Cannabis Sativa plant. Contains THC, which produces the intoxicated state, altered time, sense, euphoria and, at high doses, hallucinations.
Biological Effect: Cleaning compounds, aerosol sprays, fuels or glue. Cause lightheadedness, confusion and the general depression of all brain function.
CLASSIFICATION: PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
Biological Effect: Drug provides good feelings, a sense of control and a state of euphoria.
Although many of these substances can be lethal, it is noted that the problem of prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions, often becoming a gateway to the use of heroin as well a factor in dangerous and lethal use together with alcohol or other illicit substances.
The point at which ingestion of a substance rises to the level of abuse or dependence may be unclear, but we can apply an overall definition of addiction: compulsive use and continued abuse in spite of adverse consequences. Out-of-control behaviors and/or use of addictive substances will undoubtedly lead to a pervasive deterioration in all areas of the addict’s life. Experts have identified and described the Primary Symptoms and Phases of Addiction to help health professionals recognize people with addiction.
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