Absolutely not. Addiction is a disease. Just as you couldn’t cause heart disease or cancer, you can’t cause addiction. If someone never touches a drink or drug, they can’t become an addict; but if someone has the genetic predisposition for addiction, they could experiment as little as a handful of times and be triggered. Once the disease of addiction is triggered, there is no turning it off. Family dynamics, relationship stress, and life challenges can be underlying issues that inspire people to use addictive substances; but it’s the genetic predisposition that turns that usage into addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
We don’t recommend it. Addiction reduces the reasoning centers in the brain to 20% capacity. If people struggling with substance abuse could be rational enough to understand what was happening, they would help themselves. The fact that they don’t means they can’t; and that also means a rational conversation won’t have any effect. In fact, one-on-one conversations tend to push an active addict deeper into his/her addiction and denial. A structured intervention is a huge undertaking, but it allows you to touch the heart of your loved one, and that’s where success will usually lie.
Yes. For interventions, our policy is to match, as a percentage, whatever scholarship.
Of course. There are differences in reliability, staffing levels, staffing expertise, service experience, therapeutic modality, and specialties. Some treatment centers will be flexible about costs and duration of stay; others won’t. Some segregate their populations for special treatment needs; others can’t. One of the benefits of working with Recovery Care Partner is that we will identify the treatment center best suited to your loved one’s particular needs and personality.
Unfortunately, most couldn’t. Though medical school prepares doctors for many things, it leaves them woefully underprepared to diagnose addiction. Their ignorance is compounded by an addict’s tendency to deny, justify, and rationalize their substance use. Treatment centers are populated with doctors who know addiction better than they know anything else. Rely on us and them, not your general practitioner.
Actually, it can. A sizable portion of the patients in treatment today are there for cocktails of prescription drugs. While taking prescriptions isn’t illegal, taking cocktails and buying additional doses from dealers (or friends!) is all too common. Addiction is addiction, even if it’s not addiction to street drugs.
Of course, we didn’t all smoke pot, but more importantly, marijuana is no longer the gateway drug it used to be. Creative biochemistry and a tendency for dealers to “cut” their product with other substances have made pot a deadly drug in its own right. In the past few years, we have seen overdoses and psychotic breaks caused by pot alone, and more people than ever are going to treatment having tried no other substance.
Your kids already know. Addiction isn’t something we can hide – when someone is actively drunk or stoned, the stress and reaction is obvious to a whole family. Children might not be able to label what’s going on, but they do know. The way to respect that is to broach it with them in age-appropriate language and to ask them how much they want to participate.
Among other things, substance abuse is a disease of denial. By the time an addict or his/her family acknowledge a problem, it’s usually long past time. If you or your loved one can see the effects of an addiction, that suggests they are advanced enough to no longer be kept secret – and that is advanced enough to intervene.
An intervention is a betrayal, but it’s the betrayal of a disease, not a person. The disease of addiction is cunning, baffling, and manipulative. It has one goal: to isolate and kill the addict. Though an intervention is one of life’s most difficult experiences, it is also a life-saving one.
The DSM-5 lists 11 symptoms that can be used to determine if someone has an alcohol use disorder.
- Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
- Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
- Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
- Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
- Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
- Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
- Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol b) Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
It isn’t fair. Addiction is a disease, and different diseases have different lifetime effects – most of which are unfair. If your loved-one had diabetes, you’d deal with a lifetime of insulin shots. If s/he were wheelchair bound, you’d make your home handicap-accessible. Your family has been touched by addiction, and the most successful way to stay in healthy recovery is to go to meetings.