Monday, November 25, 2013

The Cycle of Addiction

Addiction rears it's head in many different ways at spontaneous moments every day.  Addiction Disorder is a classified disease of genetics and anatomy of  a percentage of society, as cancer effects a certain percentage of people in society, it is imperative it receive similar treatment and access to medical facilities. 

The cycle of addiction disorder and mental illness disorder may co-exist and there is a process that is critical to be followed in the treatment plan of these individuals.  Now that I am professionally educated in addiction and mental health disorders, there is absolutely no proven 'long-term' treatment of addiction without analyzing / determining if the individual has a mental disorder.  If a person has a mental disorder and it is not identified or treated, they will either live a miserable in trying to remain sober or not remain sober for very long.  Longevity and being in active recovery for the rest of a persons life is the 'umbrella' goal in treatment.  Short-term sobriety to make it through legal woes or because a loved one wants you to 'clean up your act and slow down' is not sustainable for someone with an addiction disorder.  I have been around people in recovery groups and AA meetings that are miserable and tell the room of people they are miserable.  Some people in the room judge and will try to solve their problems and others listen to relate it to their own experiences.   Like the people in the room aren't able to see it on their face.  Being miserable is a lot different than having a hard time or hard day and thinking about drugs or alcohol.  People in active recovery have to reteach themselves, hopefully with the help of professionals, to problem-solve, look at problems differently, as where before substances would hide the problem and still be sitting there in their lap when they became sober hours / days later.  

Hypothetical Comparison of Treatment of Mental Illness to Treatment of Vital's Before Heart Surgery: 

  • Surgeons and medical staff preparing for heart surgery prepare the patient and make sure the vital signs are appropriate before the doctor begins the surgery.  If the medical staff did not measure and maintain a proper blood pressure before beginning surgery, and the blood pressure was excessive, the patient would bleed to death.  
Baseline Vital Signs and Knowing Critical Information about Yourself

Treatment for an addiction is not effective or comprehensible to individuals suffering from the  untreated imbalance of  psychoactive substances that are interfering with neurotransmitters. 

  • Examples:
    • Morphine binds to the brain's natural receptors for endomorphine and the brain / nervous system accept it as a natural endomorphine. Some drugs increase the secretion of natural neurotransmitters. 
    • Cocaine, increases the amounts of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine released into the synapses, while ecstasy increases the amounts of dopamine and serotonin.
    • Some drugs block the effects of natural neurotransmitters. For example, alcohol blocks the excitatory effect of the neurotransmitter glutamate through the brain’s NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors. Alcohol’s interference with NMDA receptors may partly explain how it impairs cognitive functions including memory and learning. 

Reference: cqld - Know Facts

It is Essential to Treat Addiction Before Attempting to Treat a Mental Health Disorder

The brain is not chemically able to function if narcotics, alcohol, and other mind-altering substances are present.  The success of staying in active recovery or sober is highly effected and the success rate for staying in recovery for the rest of a persons life decreases drastically.

Treatment of the whole person and not just the chemicals being ingested is the most important concept to remember when trying to help someone become free from active addiction.  Addiction disorder is not curable and I am proof that a person that is an alcoholic can NOT control his drinking after a year of sobriety.  The main goal is to save your life or the life of someone else by remaining in active recovery.  

It's been almost two years and I attribute that success to the identification and proper treatment of my bipolar disorder.    

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