WHAT WE TREAT | SUBSTANCE ABUSE & ADDICTION
Alcoholism was ruled a disease by the AMA in 1956. Almost 20 years later addiction was included under that ruling. Despite the AMA’s findings, addiction, also known as alcoholism, remains misunderstood by many Americans. It is however, undisputable that addiction, in any form, is deeply destructive. Addiction destroys families, relationships, careers and takes lives. Many of our clients report feeling hopeless, lost and alone. At Ashwood Recovery we specialize in helping those with addictive disorders find a better way to live. Addiction is more treatable now than ever before. Studies polling recovering alcoholics and addicts are in the millions. Of those polled, many reported long –term periods of sustained abstinence. (Meaning multiple years without use)
Addiction is a disease, caused by an irregularity of the midbrain, or reward center. It is triggered by unmanaged, severe or chronic stress and characterized by decreased functioning. Addiction is active in two specific receptor sites. These sites manage the release of dopamine. These surges of dopamine create euphoria or "drug high". Certain people are at a greater risk of addiction due to several variable factors. Addiction is a chronic and progressive illness, resulting in pre-mature death if not treated. Addicts do some bad things but they are not bad people. Addicts have an illness and deserve to receive treatment. Just like those with cancer or any other life threatening illness.
At one time, the term "addiction" was used almost exclusively in reference to substance abuse and dependence. Today, we understand and recognize that people can become addicted to certain behaviors. Gambling, shopping, sexual activity, eating and many other behaviors have been show to release surges of dopamine. These forms of dependencies are referred to as “process addictions”.
Process addictions are just as destructive as chemical addictions. Addictions cause enormous personal harm to not only the addict, but to their families and friends as well. The cost goes beyond the actual dollar amount that individuals spend while in active addiction. People who become addicted to alcohol or drugs may develop any number of health problems. They may also experience personality changes and lose the ability to interact with other people socially.
Addicts may have difficulty staying in school or holding a job. If they do hold a job, they may pose a certain risk to their co-workers, to their customers, and to any individuals with whom they interact. For example, a surgeon who is addicted to alcohol and drinks daily may pose a serious threat to the patient he is performing surgery on.
Symptoms of addiction: All forms of addictions have some common symptoms, including;
- Loss of control. Addicts are unable to manage their behavior or their use of a substance. They may decide to quit the behavior or using the substance one day and then fall back into the habit the next day.
- Tolerance. In most forms of addiction, a person needs more and more of the substance or behavior over time. Early in an addiction, a person may need only one "hit" of heroin a day. A few months later, he or she may need two, six, or a dozen "hits" to get the same response.
- Impairment. Addicts often continue to use a substance or demonstrate a behavior even when they know the undesirable effects it may have. For example, a gambling addict may continue to wager money even though he or she has lost everything in previous gambling experiences.