Addiction to Things and What-not (English)
This post was written in 2001 and contains several articles about addiction related issues.
It came to an end in 2009, and has been partially restored now. As already mentioned, the topics are about addictions.
Still, there are topics and some elements of information that may help shed some light on the matter of addiction. Again, the articles were recovered and not much was possible to do other than to gather and publish the content that focus on the topic of the website,
Este sitio web tiene una historia que comenzó en 2001, que contiene varios artículos sobre la adicción y problemas de adicción relacionados. Llegó a su fin el 2009, y está siendo parcialmente restaurado ahora. Como ya se ha mencionado, los temas son sobre adicciones y como usted puede encontrar; el contenido es un poco aburrido, redundante y no es el más útil en el mundo.
Sin embargo, puede haber temas y algunos elementos; de información que podrían ser capaces de arrojar algo de luz sobre el asunto. Una vez más; los artículos fueron recuperados y no mucho era posible hacer otra cosa que reunir; y publicar el contenido que se centran en el tema de la página web, sin ser más redundante.
One of the biggest problem about addiction
Only a few people actually know what it really is. So as a counsellor, I feel that it is my duty to let people know the real meaning of addiction. Knowing what the problem is is already winning half the battle. First of all, let me tell you what addiction is not. It is not the same as a simple craving.
However, it is normal to have cravings. But it is not normal to be addicted to something. It is normal to have a craving for pizza for example.
But when you are indulging in pizza to the point where you are already harming yourself, then you can already be suffering from an addiction. Addiction is not a disease. It is not contagious. Though behavior themselves can be quite influential; there really is no reason to outcast addicts. That will only make matters worse. Addictions are not permanent.
Some people believe that either you have an addictive personality or you don’t. While some people are more inclined to become addicts, everyone has the potential to become addicted to something.
Now that you know what addiction is not
It is time to give a working definition of the world addiction. It is actually a condition where a person is frequently being compelled to indulge in a particular behavior that provides a short-term feeling of mania or relief. The problem with addictions is that it can ruin a person’s life. This is because a person who is addictive to something would give up everything just to be able to satisfy a craving; including his or her money, reputation, family, friends, etc.
The operational word in the above definition of the word addiction is compelled. Often, you will hear from addicts that they feel that some force is overpowering them and that they cannot control their behavior. This is the reason why non-addicts find it hard to understand addicts. It is this compulsion that separates an addict from someone who simply has a craving.
From my work, I have seen many different kinds of addiction
Of course, the most common ones are addictions that involve substances; such as alcohol and drugs. Anything though can be a source of addiction. There are people I’ve worked with who are addicted to sex. Then there are those who are addicted to gambling.
One form of addiction that is rarely discusses in the media is food addiction. Yet I believe that this is one of the most common forms of addiction; especially in the US. You just need to look at the increasing number of obese and overweight people in the US to know that food addiction is a big problem. This is also the reason why many people find it hard to stick to a healthy weight loss regime, such as the Dash diet or the Mediterranean diet.
A common characteristic among addicts is the tendency to be in denial about their conditions. Most addicts would be assert that they are totally in control of their behavior. This is why most addicts would realize that they have a problem when it is already too late. This is also the reason why intervention from friends and relatives are almost always necessary. It is very rare that an addict would admit that he or she has a problem and would seek treatment by him or herself.
Why are most addicts in denial?
For the simple reason that they think they will lose something if they ever give up their addictive behavior. In truth, they are not really gaining anything from their anything from their addictive behavior. Hence, they will not really lose anything if they will be cured of their addictions.
As a counsellor, helping addicts get rid of their addiction is the main point of my work. But experience has taught me that helping the loved ones of addicts is also necessary. They are what psychologists call co-dependents. And they need as much help ; sometimes even more as the addicts themselves.
Hopefully, this article was able to enlighten people about this often confusing subject. Understanding addiction and addicts and knowing what addicts go through is the first step towards finding an effective and lasting solution to the problem.
Recent Posts – English:
Psychoactive Substances – Initiation and Consumption
It comes as no surprise that recent studies show a considerable rise in the use of psychoactive substances in teenagers. This consumption starts more and more early, bringing aggravated issues to those age groups as well as to all that share a relationship with them.
The adolescence period is a complicated phase and negative events such as lack of family and social support, poor socio-economic conditions, educational problems as well as other elements, dangerously increase the vulnerability to the use of substances.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), around 11% of the city centers’ populations (worldwide), consume such substances in an abusive manner.
It is necessary; and thus more important, to improve the creation and execution of health policies and specific therapeutic strategies in order to prevent and intervene in the psychoactive substances usage.
One of the main goals is to know how to locate and to pinpoint the initiation and the consumption pattern of such substances within adolescences. This is the only way to address the problem efficiently in order to get results.
Method and Approach:
It is important to start by separating elements as the ones present below:
- Reasons for seeking therapeutic communities, complaints and applied treatments;
- evaluate initiation age towards the substance consumption;
- Consumption patterns in different psychoactive substances.
This topic is actually a global concern due to its importance as well as for the considerable increase of its consumption rates worldwide. This topic has gathered plenty of efforts, in hoping to generate more and more knowledge about this phenomenon and to seek solutions that might reduce the damage ; mainly in teenagers.
According to World Health Organization data, such substances consumption is a largely male dominated universe. Other important data points out the low level of education and learning difficulties as potential factors of vulnerability in young people.
One can conclude that such contributes considerably for this cycle perpetuation, showing as consequence clashes in personal and familiar relationships; thus resulting ; in the future ; in an anti-social conduct.
It will not come as a surprise that the psychoactive substances usage is more and more interconnected with low educational achievement (dropping out of school or repeating school years). Recent studies show that in early and middle adolescence (12-16 years), a youngster shows little understanding of the real danger and vulnerabilities that taking such psychoactive substances might bring.
As mentioned in another article present in this website, teenagers in this phase seek independence. They seek to relate to groups that share their personal beliefs and tastes. However, as years pass by, maturity arrives and with that, chances are that the individual will start evaluating risks and assuming the need for protection.
Among the motivations to seek therapeutic communities it deserves a special highlight the important role of the family that seeks clinic and psychological treatment for the teenager.
In more than half of the cases, family is the driving element and responsible for the admission and success of these adolescences in the withdrawal process in therapeutic communities.
Nevertheless, families might also have an inverted role in this situation. According to recent researches, the environment that surrounds these adolescences represents a major influence in the usage of such substances.
- The pressure of closest friends or acquaintances
- The need for acceptance in a group
- Lack of family structure and bad family habits
These elements reinforce the idea that family is indeed involved in the development of its members. As a matter of fact, family factors have come to stand out as possible elements ; either of risk or protection. One believes that the existence of rules and boundaries within the family will be a crucial element so that youngsters assume responsibility for their actions and choices.
Regarding the initiation age and the consumed substances, numbers point towards alcohol and smoking as early choices. Speaking now about illicit drugs, cannabis is the prime choice for initiation. The group age for initiation in these substances is around 12 and 16 years old.
With morbidity and mortality rates showing more and more alarming figures worldwide, one can say that initiation consequences ; as well as psychoactive substances premature consumption ; suggest future deep thoughts and analysis about the topic.
Furthermore, the study of these numbers desperately cries out for preventive measures in (very) early phases so that one can prevent the progress of the problem from reaching a higher level.
Therapeutic communities (TC) can be defined as professional treatment facilities (in-patient care), where through psychotherapy and socio-therapeutic support, aim to help drug addicts to reorganize and envisage a future. These therapeutic communities seek to promote biopsychosocial rehabilitation through a therapeutic program with several and different phases.
The therapeutic community has a multidisciplinary team together with psychiatric supervision that will guide the patient step-by-step in the withdrawal process. The goal here is to break the habit and break all sorts of connections the patient has with the drug environment. This will help them to learn how to live without drugs and to know their own skills. This will definitely ease their reintegration into society.
Therapeutic Community’s Goals:
- To create the need of a reflection about the drug addict’s personal life so that he can identify necessary elements of change:
- Change negative patterns of behavior, thoughts and feelings that can lead into drug consumption;
- To promote autonomy and responsibility as cornerstones of adult life in society.
- Develop the skills to establish (and maintain) healthy relations breaking old destructive patterns;
Address and put into perspective a social inclusion.These goals will promote self-control over drug consumption as well as aid in developing social and personal skills; with this, one expects the patient to become fully capable, achieving a perfect and solid social inclusion.
Treatment and Rehabilitation in Therapeutic Communities:
Each therapeutic community should acknowledge its responsiveness to each one of the problem areas. Such is indeed mandatory so that one can know in advance; which areas the community can and will assist and aid. Moreover, in its own profile definition, there should be all the types of assistance/aid that the community will be able to supply.
It should list:
- The fully therapeutic program to be followed;
- Full description of the community’s facilities;
- Technical staff (staff workers, academic background, specialized training and so on);
- Geographical location (entrances and accessibilities);
- established inter-institutional agreements.
Therapeutic Community Admission:
There are a few criteria that must be met in order for the patient to be admitted in the Therapeutic community.
Admission criteria include; but limited to:
- Voluntary confinement or accommodation through a registered doctor that understands the procedure of taking the patient into the adequate community for treatment and rehabilitation.
- Patient signature (and/or family if it is necessary)
- Medical record, blood tests as well as any other recent exams.
- In case of chronic infection or disease, patients must come with the related report.
The necessary procedures related to admission in a therapeutic community follow a straight line of adjustment as well as dismantling bureaucracy so that the whole process can be accelerated. Thus, elements related to the required documentation as well as administrative procedures for admission must always be taken into consideration.
Patient’s Clinical Record:
For each patient there should be a clinical record (fully organized) that keeps all the relevant data for his treatment. This file should contain as many tabs as necessary for each area of intervention (administrative area, appointed therapist / Case manager ; if necessary ; medical area and so on).
Basic Elements for Treatment and Rehabilitation in Therapeutic Communities:
Therapeutic communities should follow the following criteria:
- A therapeutic program should cover areas; such as medical, psychoactive substances abuse, psychological, familiar, legal; and last but not the least, social inclusion.
- Having a program as well as an internal procedure; (properly certified); which should be posted in a clear and readily accessible place, where all people can read it.
- To have a complete record of assisted patients, ensuring all the privacy within the medical files.
Accommodation in a therapeutic community usually stands from 6 to 12 months; (numbers used in treatments for psychoactive substances abuse patients). Regarding alcohol consumption treatments, the average time is 3 months. Nevertheless, these timelines are prone to change because it will always depend on the patient’s evolution /or not; that alone can make the period of time be longer or shorter.
Effect of Drugs and Drug Addicts’ Withdrawal Process
Consuming psychotropic substances will affect body and mind generating a huge barrier both in analysis as well as in assessment of events and images. Actions originated from drugs can overlap any state, giving the body the need and the desperate seek of such an altered state; which is intense. But with little reflexivity.
In other words, the drug action informs what to think about the world, or environment, that surrounds the individual, removing any capability to assess what is right or sensible. It emerges a solid individualism gathering to itself some pleasure and ignoring all the rest. Things gain a special highlight due to those personal changes. Mind assess the immersive environment according to the only incoming data and representations.
Ironically, one can say that you have a constrained mental freedom where there is not capability to foresee incoming problems. It will only be fair to assume that drugs (or any other psychotropic substance) will suppress the natural ability to be aware of bad things and instead, create comfortable moments, fully capable of deceiving both pain and sorrow. Such imaginary compensation comes from a false security related to drugs; an illusion of consolation that arrives to overcome the social and relational behavior management issues.
With all of the above
There is now an issue to assess the problems originated from one’s acts. A barrier now stands between the individual and the reality his mind now accepts, generating a new time and space, providing a twisted perception of reality. As a direct result, it will be hard to regulate this new reality in his mind, as well as the emotions, together with the real reality and the surrounding environment.
The new regulation of the body presents a limited human being (both in analytical and adaptability capabilities) as a direct result of the consumed substances. One can say that it restricts free will.
Revert the Process:
In order to recover the body from this drug addiction (or other substances); and to reverse the situation, it is necessary to reorganize the pleasure and pain systems. Such is intended so that the physiological system can function well, keeping away the states of fear and panic the drug addict experiences before getting his product (drugs). It can indeed be vital to reverse such dependence.
Physical withdrawal is quite important so that the mind ; without the presence of the drug ; can assume its pathological condition and gain consciousness of the physical and mental state in the absence of drug. Although such may cause stress and inconsistency in an early stage, physical withdrawal’s main goal is to make the patient cease consumption without suffering the withdrawal symptoms. Such will be achieved with the aid of pharmacological procedures that will ease the correction of the brain dysfunction.
Steps in the Withdrawal Process and Recovery of the Patient:
- Quality medical care for a solid reconstruction of the patient’s self-esteem, aiming for an independent and free of drugs environment.
- Group psychological interventions with particular attention to personal changes and relationships with others.
Education and awareness on health. Expose the drug’s effects on the organism, negative actions and consequences that it can activate on the patient.
- To have meetings together with family members in order to reduce the emotional distance within the family.
- Recreational activities that encourage the patient’s awareness and sensitivity at the same time that memories related to drugs consumption and its habits are removed.
- Physiotherapy sessions keeping a close eye to the patient’s evolution. Make the patient realize that his body is better now and far from the negative state that drug addiction causes.
- Educate towards a healthy daily routine (food and hygiene), as well as guaranteeing that the patient has a normal behavior in society.
Alcohol consumption in teenagers
Modern times show us that childhood ends much sooner giving place to a premature adolescence ; one should understand premature as in experiences, experimentation and social status. Family ancient standards are prematurely substituted by new sensations and experiences.
Drugs and alcohol addiction problems are starting to create an early general awareness in today’s society. A teenager will begin by identifying himself with a group ; being by style, music, beliefs or ideologies -, and it is then with them that he, or she, will be in a so called an experimentation stage.
Experiences at those ages tend to be dangerous and sometimes with a future impact in adult life or even for the rest of their lives.
In these we should include:
- unprotected sex
- unmeasured actions (hardly classified as stunts or other related physical demonstrations)
When talking about the adolescence one can immediately add the experimentation stage expression to the equation. Nevertheless, trying out alcohol and drugs does not come only by trying to figure that feeling or flavor. But for the experience itself as well as for the need for acceptance. That need for acceptance is clearly interconnected with social status gain within the environment the teenager is emerged.
Whatever the reason may be, teenagers more and more start drinking alcoholic beverages at a young age. Most of the times that consumption reaches points of no return, where a deep stage of inebriation is achieved causing hard cases of violence and ; not so rare ; drinking themselves into a coma. Recent studies show that alcohol is more and more present (and earlier too) in the life of adolescents. Their preference (according to those studies ; ages from 14-18) goes to liquor, with beer coming right after in second place.
The importance and the impact of media nowadays and social circle where teenagers belong, together with their own social and financial condition will always make them (adolescents) a risk group. Their environment also plays an important role in this matter (a rural environment presents few chances for a personal development, leaving alcohol as a more and more premature experience).
The city, on the other hand, presents a more paced life style full of events and new experiences; and thus, vigorous future prospects. Nevertheless, such does not remove completely the strong presence of alcohol in young people.
If we look at another element about this topic, we can firmly state that the presence of alcohol in adolescents can be even more dangerous ; requiring an increased attention ; as alcohol consumption is socially “accepted” at this age. A clear example is reaching adulthood (18 or 21); when such happens, the alcohol intake tends to increase.
With a whole set of advertisement and ad campaigns and above all, not being illegal (anymore), most young adults now use and abuse of their so called “alcohol clearance”. This definitely may create new habits, addiction and therefore future related health problems.
Causes and Medical Conditions:
Although chronic illness caused by alcohol is rare in this age, there are still some medical conditions; such as changes in sleep and appetite, eczema, and sleep disorder. In more severe cases, alcohol may be interconnected to a whole new level of problems like school violence, risky sexual behavior and even death.
According to the experts’ opinion, it is estimated that the sooner alcohol consumption becomes a reality, more likely it is for related problems to appear ; at some point in the future.
Going more in detail, one can see ; upon several conducted studies in High Schools ; that boys present less issues in confessing they drink on a regular basis as well as reporting some shameful events when drunk. On the other hand, girls ; although not far away on statistics ; still show some issues to admit regular alcohol consumption as well as sharing past experiences while drunk.
There are some differences in statistics when you go from the coast to the interior. But overall the final result is pretty much the same in regards to this topic.
One of the main concerns regarding possible consequences of alcohol consumption in adolescence (premature adolescence) is the transition to soft drugs. When you look into studies and surveys, one element that immediately stands out is that more than two thirds of drug addicts admit the changeover to drugs after very premature alcohol consumption together with severe cases of inebriation.
To sustain this data, several studies show that a considerable part of adolescents that admit to drink on a regular basis, are inserted within risk groups. Moreover, they also confess drugs intake as part of experimentation phases from the groups or environments they are emerged in.
Finally, one should add that the individuals from the topic above mentioned also possess ; in its vast majority ; disciplinary proceedings in schools as well as a history of school violence.
What are some highly addicted foods?
Highly palatable foods are foods that are rich in sugar, fat and salt. Highly palatable foods do trigger feel-good brain chemicals; such as dopamine, kind of like addictive drugs.
There are also addictive drinks, usually containing caffeine and/or sugar, so swap that diet soda for a mild cup of green tea.
When individuals show symptoms of food addiction, it may also develop a tolerance to food. They tend to eat more and more, only to find out that food satisfies them less and less. Most scientists believe that people with food addiction may play an important role in becoming overweight or obese.
People who weigh average (normal) for their height, may also struggle with food addiction as well. Their own bodies may easily be genetically programmed to handle the extra calories they take in better than others. Or, they might possibly increase their exercise routines to being satisfied when over eating.
Individuals whom are addicted to food will further be addicted and continue to eat and eat despite the bad consequences, for instance, weight gain, and possible damaged relationships or friendships. Those who are addicted to gambling or drugs, for example, will have lots of trouble ending their behavior, and it doesn’t matter how bad they want to.
Some Signs of Food Addiction:
- You eventually eat more than you’ve planned when you are starting to eat certain types of foods.
- You tend to keep consuming those certain types of foods; if you are not hungry anymore.
- When you eat to the point where you feel sick to your stomach.
- You are concerned about not eating certain foods or even concerned about limiting certain foods.
- When certain kinds of foods aren’t accessible, you’ll do anything possible to get them.
- You consume certain grub so repeatedly or in such huge quantities that you then begin to eat so much rather than working, doing activities; or even spending time with your friends and family.
- When you tend to shun friendly or professional/work situations where those specific foods are present because of the despair of overeating.
- You may have difficulty functioning efficiently at your school or your work place because of eating.
Some Symptoms of Food Addiction:
- Physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, social symptoms, as well as spiritual symptoms
1) Physical Symptoms:
- “Do you think you can’t take control of your food intake; especially high sugar and junk-type foods?”
- “Have you ever tried a healthy diet or a weight loss program; but it never worked or wasn’t ever permanent?”
- “Have you ever vomited, used laxatives; or exercised so much to avoid a weight gain after you’ve eating too much?”
There are many, many food addicts that are overweight and/or obese, who has tried various methods for weight control (diets, drugs, etc), and yet, nothing has been permanent. But on the other hand, there are many food addicts out there who have never been obese in their life; which is because their weight has been controlled by extreme diseases; (such as anorexia).
It doesn’t even matter what version of food addiction fits your lifestyle, all of these signs and symptoms of food addiction becomes more and more serious with time, and may one day lead to severe problems that can possibly create an early and likely painful death.
2) Emotional Symptoms:
- “Have you ever found yourself depressed, sad, ashamed, and even hopeless about your eating habits and/or your body weight?”
- “Do you ever find yourself pigging out when you are upset?”
- “Have you in your life noticed after eating sugar, wheat, or even flour, that you become more and more annoyed with yourself”
Individuals who are addicted to food sometimes notice their mental state become more and more intense and severe when eating the foods you are most absorbed to. For many, emotional life may fail into hopelessness, depression, or even thoughts of suicide.
3) Social Symptoms:
- Do you choose to eat alone somewhere so that nobody will see you?
- Do you turn down special events because you may feel like you don’t fit any of your clothes; or feel like you’re not good enough?
- Do you tend to take other people’s food off their plates?
- Are you always curious to know what kinds of foods are served at events or gatherings?
The social life of a food addict is damaged by a severe obsession thought about food. Those who are food addicts frequently hide, steal other people’s foods, or secretly eat it.
4) Spiritual Symptoms:
- Do you have a strong feeling that your lifestyle would be fine if some things; (or people) would change?
- Do you often pray to God and ask him to help you with your weight? Then feel he isn’t answering back to you?
Individuals who are food addicts find their lives less controllable; or completely chaotic when consuming wheats, flours, and/or sugars.
This biochemical condition is incessant, continuous, and deadly. During the later stages of this specific type of disease, hopelessness becomes our daily partner. Apprehension fill us; we became deserted in a room full of different individuals. Plenty of times, we try to please our soul needs with food; only to find the exact bareness within.
As our confidence vanishes and our health decays, we search desperately for a way out of it. Diets develop into our higher competence; only to decline us over and over again. Most people who are addicted to food erupt their lives; and can not any more define sensibility. With moderation from sugars, wheats and flours; as well as other possible high-carb foods; we can seek hope to live our lives.
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