It is important to understand that addiction is a problem with brain functioning. Addict/Alcoholic’s do terrible things but the are almost never terrible people. Once the person gets off the drugs and in recovery you start to see the real person emerge. It takes several months for the brain to heal. The addicted individual needs to be actively involved in some sort of treatment, sober support, or 12-step program.
I am on the mailing list for a treatment center in Canada called Edgewood. I have had the pleasure of visiting the facility and have referral several people who were happy to have been treated there. Here is some of the article: Our experience at Edgewood suggests the general public, those families who struggle with addiction, and most certainly those advocating for medicinal
use of marijuana could benefit from more information. What we are
concerned with is the lack of knowledge of the potential addictive qualities of the drug and other associated health
risks. As with alcohol consumption, many people use marijuana without suffering any apparent negative consequences. Like the occasional drinker, the occasional ‘toker’ may not recognize
or give credence to the potential for harm from the
substance. It is well documented that while consumption
of alcohol is benign for some, it can lead to addiction issues, physical and neurological damage, family crisis, or medical and
police emergencies for others. While statistics for the consequences of marijuana use are limited, it is
reasonable to suggest a percentage of those using marijuana run the risk of experiencing the same types of harms associated with alcohol. (Most people choose not to use illegal or controlled
substances, so it remains to be seen if legalizing marijuana would change its consumption and/or harm patterns.)For those genetically predisposed to addiction, marijuana is both highly
addictive and destructive. For others, prolonged use can negatively affect brain function, trigger psychotic
episodes and lead to lung disease from the constant exposure to toxins in the inhaled smoke. When despite all of this, the person using marijuana cannot stop, that’s addiction. Choice at that
point has nothing to do with it. For those who support medicinal
use of marijuana the implications of the method of delivery of the active ingredient is worth considering. Our experience with marijuana addicts in treatment is that they are admittedly
less interested in a controlled dosage in pill or tablet form. They are more interested in smoking as much as they themselves deem to be “okay”. And, while anecdotal evidence abounds, there
still is no clear scientific evidence that proves marijuana an equal, or superior, medicine to conventional medicines already available.
Society continues to debate the merits and perils of marijuana use and its legalization, but if we are going to engage in debate let us at least be as informed as we can be on this complex
subject and consider all aspects of its use. For some, marijuana remains a benign social stimulant; for others it can be the beginning of a path to ruin.
Great words from Sobriety for Women…
“Addiction is a bloody gruesome little fellow huh? He comes in and takes over lives and ruins dreams. Alcoholism is a disease. When I first was getting sober and they told me that alcoholism and drug addiction was a disease I did not agree. They wanted to compare it to cancer and how people should feel sorry for us addicts. I thought to myself, “I wish I would have known this growing up I could have gotten my parents off my back!” I could only image using that excuse when they were pointing flash lights at my eyes to check the size of my pupils.”
Read the full article here.
I spoke to a client recently who is unable to stop drinking and is wreaking havoc on his family. He insists that “he has been to treatment twice, it doesn’t work.” I hear this all the time and nothing could be further from the truth. Following your discharge plan to the letter is what it takes to maintain abstinence. Behavioral Health Hawaii offers comprehensive outpatient services for the addicted individual and their families. Many people need to go to treatment several times before they are able to stay clean and sober. -Debbie Bayer
“Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania hope they are on to something. Using MRIs, they have worked to isolate and study parts of the brain at various stages of addiction and treatment. By measuring the response of the reward system at these stages, scientists may be able to predict which treatments would prove most effective for individual addicts.”
Read the complete research article here.
The majority of the calls I receive are from the family member of adolescents and adults addicted to opioid type drugs like Oxycodone. We did such a great job of getting behind the “Ice Epidemic” here on Maui. My hope is that we do the same for what is now a “prescription drug addiction epidemic.” We are losing too many young people to this epidemic. My heartfelt prayers go out to the family of this young man. I posted this in hopes that people realize the seriousness of this issue.
Betty Ford‘s children’s program is hands down the best in the country. They offer scholarship’s and try not to turn any child away. Children are the collateral damage of addiction. They need just as much help and support as the addict.
Most of us have seen at least one episode of the TV hit show Intervention. They show graphic images of the addict using, the families talk about the pain cause by the person’s drinking or drug use, then the big drama filled secret meeting showing the person hopefully going off to treatment. A family contacted me recently wanting an intervention. I asked the Mother who appeared to be the enabler to come to my office to discuss the situation. In our session we discussed the issue at hand devised our next steps, she went home to speak with the other family members. We set up a meeting with siblings and close relatives, invited the addicted individual, making sure no one was being secretive. The addicted individual knew they were coming to discuss the issue at hand. I tell family member to say to the addict, “I would like you to come to help me deal with this issue.” Nine times out of ten the person will come to the meeting. Everyone showed up to the appointment with the addicted individual in tow. We met for about an hour and a half, the addict family member left agreeing to go to treatment. My services were about $300.00 for the intervention. Not everyone can do an intervention this way. They had the resources to set up a treatment facility on the Mainland. They had plenty of family members to stay with the person and keep the momentum going. I was told it took 2 hours to get the person in the car to go to the airport. They had someone stay with him in California for a few day during detox so they were the exception rather then the rule. The addict is in long term treatment and hopefully they will stay. The family will need to do their own work because they become as sick if not sicker then addict. Interventions come in all different sizes and shapes. Interventions work but it takes a lot of effort on the part of everyone involved to make it sucessful long term.
Let’s face it addicts and alcoholic’s are hard to love. Rather, their behavior is hard to love. It’s easy to say ” I give up, nothing works, they will have to hit bottom, they don’t want help.” I can understand why loved ones feel that way. You spend thousands of dollars, countless sleepless nights, begging, bargaining, aruging to no avail. The addict steals, lies, and breaks your heart. Just when you think they are getting better, they are using/drinking again. What I can tell you is that it takes an understanding of the disease of addiction and a lot of outside help to find the strenght to hang in there and keep the hope alive. When loved ones tell me that “they have done everything, nothing works,” most of the time they have spent their time, money, and energy doing what doesn’t work. Many people send the addict to residential treatment thinking everything should be fine when they get back. The treatment industry fails families when they don’t inform them that the residential treatment stay is just the tip of the iceberg, it will take years to recover. We spend all the time during the crisis period when the most dangerous time is when it’s life as usual. It doesn’t matter how many times the addict has been to treatment. It may matter financially, many families have spent thousands on treatment. Here on Maui residents can get treatment at Aloha House for very little money. Aloha House accepts quest insurance and has state contracts that allow them to treat people at no cost. No excuses to not try again. Dealing with addiction is not something you should do without the help of a professional that understands how the disease of addiction behaves. It is something that requires specialization because addiction behaves in ways that does not make sense to a non specialist. At Behavioral Health Hawaii we understand substance dependence and the impact it has on everyone it touches. Please get all the help you can, and please don’t give up on the addict. You may have to pull back and get help for yourself, but never give up.