The Disease Of Addiction?
A disease is a definable predictable morbid process. Once identified we can attempt treatment.
Approaching addiction, alcoholism etc as a disease allows for the introduction of the treatment. Many will argue for a long time about the precise science and definition of the concept of belief that addiction and alcoholism are a disease. Good luck with that. As a pragmatic practical approach it really helps. Do nothing, this is only going to get worse not better. Apply treatment protocols, plans methods and techniques to this situation it will get better.
How do we know that alcohol or gambling or drugs or sex or food or internet or anything else is moving from normal flexible controllable patterns and into addiction? You can get a perspective against this sample of the signs and symptoms of addiction.
Some of the behaviours that show up as addiction and dependency develop
- Surreptitious behaviours
- Minimising problems
- Rationalising problem as excuses
- Unable to discuss problem
- Persistent Remorse
- Grandiose Attitudes
- Aggressive / Defensive behaviour
- Family & Friends avoided
- Loss of other interests
- Promises and resolutions fail
- Work and money problems – unmanageability
- Unreasonable resentments
- Moral values less apparent
- Physical effects become noticeable
- Increasing dependence
- Unable to initiate action
- Impaired thinking
- Decrease in tolerance
List adapted from the Jellinek Curve
All behaviours have consequences. Leaving addiction untreated has consequences. Treating addiction has consequences. The Intervention Service invites families to engage with values and behaviours that move you all out from under the influence of active addiction and towards freedom, wellness and recovery.
Invariably, addiction is played out in the family, the body, society, friends, social groups, legal responsibilities, finance, parenting, education etc. Essentially addiction affects every part of a persons life, and impacts all and everyone to some degree.
The addiction disease model is graphically simple and clear. Untreated addiction always moves inexorably and unavoidably towards rock bottom consequences. Often this is simply put. Addiction leads to Jails, Institutions and Death.
Signs and symptoms of active addiction in the family are of course the use of drink and drugs with consequences that are intolerable.
The family will display equal measures of Enabling as a response to the addiction and associated behaviours.
Both streams, addiction and enabling tend to be predictable, involve behaviours and of course move a family away for wellness and freedom.
Both make the family poorly and do nothing to make the family well.
Addiction + Enabling + Poorly Family
Addiction, a disease that is diagnosable, offering a clear presentation of criteria that allow for easy recognition. Addiction is a morbid process inevitably leading to death if left to run its natural course. The disease, by definition, renders the sufferer powerless over it.
Willpower, emotional desire, changes in surroundings or other external factors have no direct effect. The disease can be rendered impotent, dormant, with the correct application of treatment. Treatment can be affected at any point in the process. There is no point at which it is too early.
To focus on the quantity or frequency of the condition does not allow for accurate diagnosis. This mis-information leaves many in the grip of the illness, just because they do not “gamble enough” eat, don’t eat enough, drink beer or wine, not spirits, have never used heroin, just some pot etc. Addiction is best assessed by the impact on the quality of life for the family, employer, individual and moral values.
Early recognition of addiction in any form is challenging. Early recognition of the patterns suggest that the person and the family are on a course directly heading to painfull rock bottoms, rock bottoms that will break through the denial, and can be the catalyst for help and treatment.
The Intervention Service provides method and opportunity to shorten this process and hopefully being about treatment and recovery now, avoiding the pain of rock bottoms.