Addicted...to the Core
What do you think of when you hear the word “addict?” Do you visualize someone with a crack pipe, syringe, or bottle of pills? Or what about the perp standing in the courthouse being convicted of felony DWI?
The Many Manifestations of Addiction
Drug addiction takes many forms. But there are times when the drug addict enters recovery and the addictive trait remains. This maladaptive behavior can be manifested in any number of forms: food, sex, work, money, etc., etc, etc.
Yes, as a society we are a mélange of obsessive-compulsive behaviors. There are a variety of theories that explain this. One school of thought is the disease concept; that addiction is biochemical in nature, affecting dopamine and serotonin levels in our brains. A second looks at the problem from more of a metaphysical perspective by describing addiction as a spiritual void. Yet another belief is that the drug use is simply a symptom of an underlying issue.
Just because you take away the drug does not mean that you remove the addiction. One key element in addiction recovery is to discover the underlying cause of the addiction. In addition to biochemical/spiritual perspectives, environmental factors may exist.
The Ugly Truth About Addiction
No matter which theory you subscribe to, it is what it is. Just because a person stops using the drug (alcohol too) doesn’t mean that s/he is free from the addictive lifestyle. In addition to substance-related disorders, there are other behaviors that can surface. Compulsive lying is one, for instance. The danger of allowing these other behaviors to persist is that they may cause the addict to relapse on the primary substance.
Addressing the Problem of Addiction
In the end, I believe that discovering the cause of one’s addiction is simply one part of the recovery process. In fact, it can take years to discover the root cause. What is just as important is to acquire the tools to be able to overcome one’s addiction. There are many paths to do so. Formal drug counseling, the various 12-Step programs, and SMART Recovery are just some of the ways that help people learn about not just how to stop using, but how to get to the core of their problem.
So when your substance use ends, the journey begins. The process of recovery can be incredibly rewarding. Each step along the way takes courage. But it is with this courage we can become the person we were intended to be.
Shallowhorn, K. (2012, August 13). Addicted...to the Core, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2012/08/addicted-to-the-core
Author: Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC
Great article, Karl. I think all three theories play an active role in addiction.
True....and how it is treated is what really matters.