This is a very good blog about the book Understanding Addiction. The points made regarding rock bottom and choices are excellent! Often times when a family tells me they want to bring the addict in when they have hit rock bottom I point out that things are so bad that if they got worse, rock bottom will only mean death. There is no reason to wait when someone is addicted. They are suffering and need addiction treatment.
And it is also true, maybe in the beginning the drug use was a choice, but once it becomes an addiction, it is no longer a choice. The bad choices then are made BECAUSE of an unrelenting addiction. Oxycontin, heroin, crack cocaine – most people have no idea of the grip these drugs can have on them.
The solution is simply workable drug treatment as quickly as possible. Any other suggestions are made by people who don’t understand drug addiction.
“I went to Town Hall last night to listen to bestselling writer and physician Gabor Maté talk about his book “Understanding Addiction.” I said on the “About Us” page that I was basically doing this blog for me – to understand things and people that I don’t already understand. Hopefully I will take some of you along this journey with me.
Maté started his presentation by telling the audience about 2 myths regarding addiction:
1. People have to hit rock bottom. He asked “what is rock bottom? These people have lost their homes, their families, their jobs – you tell me. What is rock bottom?”
2. Drug addiction is a choice. Maybe they made a choice when they first tried drugs, but for many, it is no longer a choice.
He continued by giving an example of individuals with ADHD – If you look at the drugs that physicians prescribe for ADHD, they elevate dopamine levels. His example was of a teenager who smokes marijuana in school; if they have ADHD, they will most likely tell you that they became more focused. He gave this example to show that people use drugs for different reasons, but many use them to self medicate, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or social phobias.
He said that when trying to understand addiction, that “the first question of addiction is not why the addiction, but why the pain.” As someone who works with the severely addicted on skid row in Vancouver, BC, he said that every single addict that he has ever met was abused as a child, whether it was sexual or emotional abuse. ….”