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Created On Wednesday, 13, January 2016
Modified On Thursday, 01, October 2020

Addiction to Drugs & Alcohol

Addiction is an obsession or compulsion for something, which lowers the survival of the individual and in some cases will ruin the individual's life or even kill the person. Addiction can be a physical and psychological dependence such as, drugs, alcohol, and medication. It is usually associated with the use of substances, but is applied to compulsions that are not related to a substance used such as, gambling problems, computer addiction, etc. With these common usages, the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by someone to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful effects to the individual's health, mental state or social life. The word "addiction" comes from the latin "addicere" which means to give consent or agreement, it means one has given consent to be overpowered. Therefore, this means one who is addicted has given consent to it. He has agreed to give it power over himself. He has elected the object of his addiction to run his life. It is a decision that was made by the person himself.

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This is an interesting point as a lot of materials written on the subject place the cause for addiction on various "reasons" such as a bad.

  • Childhood
  • Genetic blueprint
  • Post-Traumatic distress
  • Character flaw
  • Mental illness
  • A disease

And so on. All of these factors and more can be seen to be present in an addicted person. They can also be seen to be present in a non addicted person. However, certainly, where present, these factors would all lead to a less than ideal life or lifestyle and to achieve happiness, these factors all warrant a thorough resolution. However, addiction, in its definition, means having given consent to or agreement to be overpowered by, or having given consent to being controlled by the object of addiction. This is an important point that can be overlooked in treatment of addiction. Often a treatment program gives a person a chance to address and resolve many painful and troubling issues that would be otherwise just ignored or suppressed. This is a very good thing. It can lead to a great deal of relief and lead to a better life and happier existence. However, if an "addiction treatment" program fails to handle the actual cause of addiction, per the definition, it will leave the person still under the power of his own prior decision, which was when he gave consent to being overpowered. Make sure the treatment program you choose actually handles "addiction" - which means the decisional capability of the person needs to be fully restored. If that does not happen, the original decision stays in place, and hence you have "relapses" and "failures to recover." A failure to recover or a relapse, just means that the person was not brought up to the realization and understanding of his own power of decision and consent - that is what needs to be rehabilitated. There are many ways to do this. However, it is the one thing that will is key to the whole subject, as that is the anatomy of addiction.

Talk to one of our counsellors about this very important aspect - it is one that gets overlooked from time to time.

The Percentage of Americans Receiving Treatment for Substance Abuse

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), roughly 10% of Americans have a drug user disorder at one point in their lives. Approximately three-quarters of Americans report not receiving any form of treatment. Within the past year, around 4% of Americans met the criteria for a substance use disorder. Over 23 million people in the nation have struggled with problematic drug use. Drug addiction is defined as having drug-seeking behavior, cravings, withdrawal symptoms, lack of control, and adverse effects on personal and professional responsibilities. Drug addiction was more common among men, caucasian and Native American individuals who are single and no longer married.

Younger adults and those with lower incomes and education levels were also at higher risk for substance abuse. Along with this, Americans living in the 13 western most states in the nation, such as Hawaii and Alaska, were more likely to have an addiction during their adult lives. Most people with a substance abuse problem do not receive the treatment they need. Roughly 14% of people who had a drug use disorder in the past year and around 25% with a substance abuse problem overall received treatment. Close to 20% of addicts with a moderate to severe drug problem received treatment, and less than one-third of those with a lifetime drug problem received any help.

The Controlled Substances Act in the United States

The Controlled Substances Act or Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is a federal U.S. drug policy. Under this policy, the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of specific narcotics, such as stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids are regulated. Within the Controlled Substances Act, there are five schedules at the federal level used to classify drugs. The drug classifications are based on abuse potential, accepted medical applications in the U.S., and safety potential for addiction. Schedule I drugs have a high abuse potential and are not approved for medical use. Schedule II drugs also have high abuse potential and have no accepted medical use in treatment, and the abuse of the drug leads to dependency.

Schedule III drugs have a potential for abuse, but less than the previous two classifications. Schedule III drugs are currently accepted for medical use in treatment within the United States. The abuse of the drug may lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological addiction. Schedule IV drugs have a low abuse potential for abuse, and the drugs are currently accepted for medical use in treatment throughout the nation. Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse relative to the previous schedules. These drugs are currently approved for medical use in treatment and consist primarily of drugs containing limited quantities of certain narcotics.


Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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