Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse dependency consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.
Addictions can include, but are not limited to, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, exercise abuse, pornography and gambling. Classic hallmarks of addiction include: impaired control over substances/behavior, preoccupation with substance/behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial.
How does addiction start?
People try drugs or other potentially addictive behavior because they are seeking some sort of reward or benefit. Those who take drugs, for instance, do so because of the physical effects they hope to experience. Drugs have a marked effect on the body and mind. If there were no effect, people would be unlikely to repeat the experience. No one sets out just to become addicted.
Who’s at risk of addiction?
What makes some people more susceptible to becoming dependent or addicted is perhaps a genetic predisposition. This theory, with some evidence to support it, makes sense especially since addiction crosses social divides. However, this is still debatable.
There are also cultural and social factors that put people at greater risk. For instance, you’re less likely to become alcohol-dependent growing up in a country where alcohol consumption is unacceptable than where it’s a normal part of everyday life. Growing up in a family where there’s alcohol or drug abuse increases the risk. This is also the case for people who suffer childhood trauma, abuse and neglect.
Poverty, a lack of education and unemployment can also increase the risks. If your environment is stressful and you feel unable to change it, you may turn to substances for relief. Significant life events may contribute. If your inner world is in turmoil, you may turn to substances as medication to feel better.
People who don’t receive adequate nurture as children or who are more emotionally sensitive may be more susceptible. These factors won’t always lead to substance misuse or dependency or any other addictive behavior, but they can increase vulnerability.
Since addiction aspects all aspects of a human person, treatment should likewise focus on all aspects namely physical, psychological, spiritual and social.
Components of Comprehensive drug treatment:
- Medical Management e.g. detoxification, ailments care, nutritional therapy, pharmacotherapy
- Occupational therapy: teaching of skills and attitudes necessary to gainfully earn a living
- Psychosocial therapies and counseling (individual, group, family)
- Re-integration into normative society
- The professionals employed in the process of addiction treatment are doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and addiction counselors, occupational and family therapists.
Levels of Care
- Level I: Outreach & prevention programmes
- Level II:Risk Reduction (Early Intervention)
- Level III: Non-Residential (Day Care/Out-patient)
- Level IV: Residential/In-Patient
- Level V: After Care