America has an addiction crisis and Utah is not exempt. When I think of Utah, I think of wide-open spaces, a peaceful Western State populated by stable red-blooded Americans with strong principles, ethics, and family ties based primarily on Christian religious teaching and the more than 60% Mormon majority.
Rural towns in Utah seem simple and safe and the large and growing Salt Lake City metropolis doesn’t seem to exhibit the usual growth problems associated with cities that size.
I was shocked to read this news report on CNN:
“Out of all 50 states, Utah ranks eighth in the number of prescription drugs overdose deaths, according to Susannah Burt with the state’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. And, despite a dip in 2008, the number of pill-related deaths in Utah over the past decade has increased by 400%, according to Burt.” CNN report with Lisa Ling:
As addictions are sometimes referred to as ‘Social Diseases’ and often news and public activity can be reserved, underplayed, and withheld from the public eye, the degree of addictions and drug-related problems have grown to gigantic proportions and Utah seems firmly in the grasp of the recently publicized Opiate Epidemic and the Addiction crisis rapidly spreading across our homeland.
A quick search revealed that in the Metro Salt Lake City and surrounding suburbs we have over 80+ Addiction Treatment Centers filled with addicts in recovery programs and the flood of new applicants is ever-growing.
Hospitals are reporting a flood of drug-related cases such as overdose or medical problems related to drug or alcohol abuse. New deaths from overdoses or drug-related violent crimes are reported daily.
You need to be informed, prepared, and on your guard. Addiction problems could be coming in your direction soon. It’s on our streets, in our schools, in our businesses, in our churches, and in our homes. No one is exempt… it can reach anywhere.
In this article, we hope to explain about Addiction, what it is, what its causes are, how to recognize it, and what the options for treatment are.
The Complicated and Often Controversial Definition of Addiction.
There has been a lot of conversation recently about the Opiate Crisis in America. We seem to now be focusing on the drug dependencies, especially over the counter pain medications, and other illegal and addictive substances flooding across our borders.
Have we forgotten the alcoholics, the nicotine or smoking addictions, and what about the compulsive addictions such as gambling, sex, hoarding, shopping, or the many simple but crazy things we are addicted to that interfere with our quality of life and responsibilities?
What Is Addiction?
To begin with, we must understand what addiction really is and not define it by the type of addiction we might suffer from. One is just as disabling as another; not in a physical way perhaps but disabling is disabling. Maybe the circumstances and characteristics will be different but an addiction is an addiction is an addiction!
A physical addiction is a biological state where the body absorbs a substance and gives a physical reward… we may call it a ‘high’. Our systems adapt to the drug and the absence of the drug causes us discomfort… we call that withdrawal.
We crave the ‘high’ and want to avoid the withdrawal symptoms and so we take more and more over longer periods of time. We build up a level known as tolerance. And need to increase the level of use to gain our ‘high’ again and so the spiral downwards begins and the cycle of addiction expands.
Much addictive behavior is not related to either physical reactions or tolerance levels. People commonly react compulsively to stress by using a substance or compulsive behavior to ease their discomfort. (Drinking, Compulsive Shopping, Gambling, Sex, and others) These addictions are not based on chemical or physical brain effects.
An Addiction occurs when a person uses a substance or engages in an activity that can give them pleasure, but if it continues, can become compulsive and interfere with ordinary life, our responsibilities and relationships with family, friends, or work. In the case of a physical or biological dependency, it will dramatically affect our health and well being and could eventually lead to death; oftentimes in a horrible and diabolical way.
Strangely, addicts almost always harm the people around them… family, friends, neighbors, employers, co-workers… but often are not be aware that their unacceptable behavior is totally out of control and that they are causing serious and long-lasting problems for themselves and others.
It’s extremely important to understand that the cause of an addiction is not simply a search for pleasure; it’s much more complicated than that. An addiction has nothing to do with the strength of character or personal weaknesses. There is a lot of debate about an addiction being a “disease” or whether it’s simply a mental illness. Can drug dependence and addiction be the same?
Treatment requires a complete understanding of the nature of a particular addiction and how it works. We’ll talk more about treatment a bit later.
There are certain signs that warn of An Addiction. Grab our free report on Symptoms Of Severe Addiction and learn 11 ways to tell if somebody has an addiction or serious problem.
Signs of An Addiction
Treatment of Addictions.
Once you accurately assess the addiction, know exactly what it is, what substance or behavior, and you really know what you are dealing with, it’s important to get the right treatment
For an in-depth study on Addiction Recovery and Treatments please read our article Treatment Options in Utah If you read that article you will understand the treatment options in great detail.
In a typical study of treatment options we look at the particular addiction we are dealing with and what the components of our treatment program should be. We look at Intake issues, we consider Detoxification requirements, we look at the program lengths and services offered, and we try to find the perfect Addiction and Recover Treatment Center for our long-term program.
However, let’s take a quick look here at another interesting aspect of the important topic of treatments, one that is not often discussed or considered.
The Psychology of Addictions. Special Psychological Treatments and Considerations.
We normally think of addiction in terms of the physical aspects such as the intense craving, shaking, cold sweats, and weight loss. We recognize some associated social traits such as criminal, anti-social and violent behavior.
However, it is believed that addictions are psychological symptoms of deeper underlying problems. Science just now understands the need for in-depth psychological and psychiatric treatment and therapy as part of a successful treatment plan for an addict.
Psychotherapy is the optimal treatment component. Some Important Aspects to be considered are:
Dual diagnosis is when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time. A person with a dual diagnosis has two separate illnesses. Each of the illnesses needs its own treatment plan.
Compulsions. ( intense and manic behaviors) We use psychotherapy as a treatment for compulsive behaviors in an addiction treatment and recovery program.
Cues or emotional triggers that cause compulsive behavior are recognized, studied and treated. A trigger or Cue can be anything that brings back thoughts, feelings, and memories that have to do with addiction. An example would be an alcoholic walking into a bar and see alcoholic drinks being served and people drinking. Witnessing the alcoholic beverages and drinking behavior generates a cue reaction and a craving for alcohol.
The Prospects of Experiencing a Positive Result and a Lasting Recovery from Addiction
Many people struggle to experience any success at all with their attempts at treatment. The success greatly depends not only on the willingness and cooperation of the patient but also on the quality of the treatment center and programs as well as the training and skills of the staff.
There are patients that are able to pause their addiction and seem to be making progress only to lose their motivation and relapse with a rapid spiral downward into an even worse condition than before.
The Dangers of Relapse
Relapsed addicts find themselves back in the same misery as before and often not only pick up where they left off but find an even deeper and more dangerous level of addictive life.
Because there is no guarantee that the addict will ever get another chance to recover it’s crucial that they do everything they can to prevent a relapse. It’s a serious possibility that death will occur and often does in the cases of relapsed addicts. Bad things can happen!
Why People Relapse
Here are some of the common causes of relapse:
They become too relaxed and bored with their treatment program. They think they are ‘cured’ and become convinced that their addiction ends with the completion of a recovery program. They don’t realize that true recovery is a lifetime
They get stuck along the way and give up. Recovery is dealing with the problems that arise and working hard to overcome them. Giving up or getting stuck is a step towards relapse.
They don’t make needed changes. They continue to ‘hang out’ in old haunts where their addictions lay in wait. You have to change those old behaviors and sometimes remove people from your life who want to keep you in your addiction.
High and unrealistic expectations can lead to severe disappointment and eventually failure. It takes time to rebuild your life and it may never become what you want it to be.
There may be a dual diagnosis but you are only treating with one side. You need a professional assessment and a full circle all-encompassing treatment program.
Cues and triggers will pop up and you need to learn what they are and how to deal with them for any long-term success in recovery.
Aftercare is extremely important during the first year or two of recovery.
Regular involvement in Aftercare Programs will definitely increase your chances of rebuilding a stable life after your treatment is finished. The Aftercare programs might be booster sessions or regular follow-up meetings with your program provider.
A quality aftercare program will give you an opportunity to discuss your life after treatment and talk about any difficulties you might be experiencing. You will work with the professionals on staff and other members in the program to stay motivated and focused and you will be encouraged to keep involved and keep growing.
Lifelong Attendance at a Support Group
An example of a good Support Group would be the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12 Step Program which is based on a very successful recovery philosophy built on years of experience and with a successful track record of helping alcoholics in a lifelong recovery program.
There is some disagreement about the necessity of lifelong attendance at support groups. Some people claim that they don’t need a support group and can maintain their success without one. Others claim that the support group is what keeps them sober and safe and that it’s crucial to their long-term success.
It’s really up to each individual to determine what works best for them. Some people benefit from a Support Group and some mostly just enjoy belonging to a fellowship. Do your own research, visit some groups, ask questions, attend a meeting, talk to the members, and then make your own qualified decision.
Some Common Questions
Is addiction a disease or a character weakness?
“ According to DrugAbuse.gov, Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her.”
What the Physical Signs of Addiction?
Things to look for might include:
Mumbling, slurring of words, and repetitive speech patterns.
Physical changes like a puffy face, blotches, dilated pupils and red eyes.
Looking pale, waxy skin, open sores, skinny, or undernourished.
Excessive sniffing and runny nose. (not from a cold)
Jump and overactive or sleepy and underactive. (depending on the drug)
Rapid or excessive weight loss and loose fitting clothes.
Can you be cured of an addiction?
No, there is no such thing as a cure for any addiction. It’s a chronic disease, It is progressive, deadly if not treated, and the treatment is lifelong. This disease is known for its difficulty in treatment and its pattern of relapses. If an addiction is ignored or goes untreated, or if it’s misdiagnosed and mistreated, it can and will result in death.
Can you inherit an addictive personality?
Research indicates that children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs are likely to try alcohol or drugs and develop an addiction. There are many cases where the opposite is true so there is no guarantee, but it’s something to pay attention to and recognize the possibility.
Are you looking for an addiction treatment center in Utah? They are everywhere, pretty common and easy to find, but you need to analyze carefully and chose right one.
How to get help
Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.