Addiction as a Disease


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Addiction is a disease. WHO has recognized it as a disease and has provided principles for its treatment. Often diabetes is cited as synonymous to drug addiction as far as its characteristics are concerned. Addiction to any chemical has following pattern:

  • Primary
  • Progressive
  • Chronic
  • Potentially Fatal

Primary in a sense that there is no concrete reason for its inception. People start drugs just to seek fun and cross invisible boundaries beyond which starts addiction. Once addiction begins, it takes it’s own route and start ruining person’s life. Subsequently patient begins making excuses and keep on taking drugs surreptitiously, a hallmark of addiction.
The path to drug addiction starts with experimentation. You or your loved one may have tried drugs out of curiosity, because friends were doing it, or in an effort to erase another problem. At first, the substance seems to solve the problem or make life better, so you use the drug more and more.

But as the drug addiction progresses, getting and using the drug becomes more and more important and your ability to stop using is compromised. What begins as a voluntary choice turns into a physical and psychological need. The good news is that drug addiction is treatable. With treatment and support, you can counteract the disruptive effects of addiction and regain control of your life. The real fact remain which is the biggest hurdle in treatment, that is the patient as well as the family starts believing some lies or which are truly the Myths about drug addiction that keeps the patient and the family for not reaching out for help and apprising as dysfunctional.
It has been observed that people start taking drugs keep on increasing its amount. Patients thinks that they can get same buzz which they’ve experienced on their first ever dose. But that never happens again. In pursuance of same illusion, they keep on increasing dosage and sometimes even move to more potent drug. Its a vicious cycle with no obvious end.

Once addiction has consolidated its tentacles in one’s body, it remains there for ever. As in with all chronic ailments, addiction can only be managed, can never be cured. We can’t dig out its very roots but can learn skills for happier life without drugs.

If addiction is left untreated, it not only harms patient’s life but also creates distress in it’s surrounding, severely affecting the loved ones and their intimate others. It has potential to take life both patient and his/her loved ones. Unmanageability is the result if this disease left untreated.

Patient’s Characteristics

Following criteria is not only applicable on drug addiction but all other diseases where chronicity is one of their characteristics.

  • Denial
  • Controllability
  • Certainty

Denial

Denial is a defense mechanism. Patient doesn’t want to face reality. Denial can give him a ‘push’ to keep on destroying his/her health and spread a havoc in loved one’s mind. In denial, patient distorts reality and if not properly handled, it can lead to death. Denial equip patient with other deadly arsenal, like:

Anger

Patient deliberately exhibits anger and uses it as an excuse to take drugs. Anger can be internal or external.

Minimization

When denial and anger has been exposed to reality, patient will tell that he was taking very minimal amount of drug.

Externalization

Unfortunately, patient often tries to prove that his drug taking is secondary to other people’s behavior. He/she will always put blame of his drug taking on others, like wife, parents, siblings, boss, society, world, etc

Rationalization

It has been observed that drug addiction patients are very clever or this cunning and baffling disease has made him so. He tries to prove his drug abusing behavior with logics which are often illogical. Most of the patients put blame on ‘stressful working environment, uncooperative spouse and even political or economic situations in the country.

There is long list of such excuses. Other common forms of being in denial are blaming and deceiving.

Controllability

Patients of drug addiction often tries to control other people, mostly family members. This characteristic can help them to remain in denial and keep destructive life style intact. Sooner family members ascertain this better it would be.

Certainty

Patients of drug addiction never likes to be uncertain. They forget that there is nothing as certain. There is beauty in being uncertain. Only God is certain about all things. We human beings can’t be. With proper training, family members help their patient to come out of denial and accept the reality.

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