- "First and foremost,
appropriate, apt to be truly effective help with persistent unhealthy drug
(includes alcohol) use deals with its root cause. For instance, no
one inhales enough foul-smelling smoke from cigarettes to do lasting harm
to himself while risking the health or happiness of everyone who depends
on him unless he is addicted to the drug, nicotine. Substance addiction
is the root cause of chronic and binge cigarette smoking." RTL
- A treatment for substance addiction or dependence is
judged to be appropriate when found to be effective in "non-study"
or "real world" environments. Little if any help is gained when a drug treatment only works when studied formally in clinical trials.
- A substance addiction-appropriate treatment includes
when needed help to avoid "addiction symptom substitution." There is insufficient
real benefit when substance-addicted people substitute or replace with
another way to ingest the same drug or with another addicting drug or some
other harmful behavior.
- A treatment facilitates needed changes in the honestly-believed
but inaccurate ideas or attitudes of substance-dependent individuals along
with healthier environmental supports that enhance and sustain the all-important
motivation to become and remain clean and sober.
- Total and permanent non use of the addicting substance (sobriety) is the essential intended outcome to be gained from whatever
is done to help.
- Rather than failing, returning to unhealthy drug use
is seen as an opportunity for the substance-addicted person to learn that
what was done to stop doesn't address the root cause or that he or she
is truly dependent. Abstinence is much of the answer and that
returning to consciously controlled use of something that abused him and
threatened all he loves is not doable or desirable.
- Success dealing with addiction takes more than surface
acceptance of its presence. Alcohol and other drug-addicted human beings
benefit from assistance that is enlightening and respectful to enable their
soon and repeated acknowledgment that they are addicted and so consciously-controlled use is and will remain beyond them.
- The health care professional who offers help has and
maintains the belief that while there are various contributors the essential,
pivotal, root cause of the unhealthy behavior is addiction, dependence.
The addicting substance rather than its usual source or delivery method
is the deciding health and life-risking factor.
- While a cure isn't possible, something even better is
available. Those who are substance-dependent can learn about and achieve
recovery: a lifelong process that enables healthier, happier, more productive
living and the influences that support relapse avoidance.
- A substance addiction-appropriate treatment views the
ingestion of the substance as beyond lasting conscious control and choice.
Unhealthy or risky drug use neither shows nor suggests something missing
or personal such as weakness or immorality. Consequently, it is inappropriate
to use negative judgement, criticism or punishment as a means to help achieve
and maintain sobriety.
- The right to choose using a drug that addicts, example,
'smokers' rights,' is a deadly illusion that confuses unhealthy physical
need, compulsion to use and ego-defensive health risk denial with choice.
- It is human and so to be expected that there are psychological
defenses, such as and primarily risk denial, that are intended to provide
protection from further perceived attacks on self-esteem and excuse continued
- Substance addiction does not exist independent of other
concerns. Help may be needed to avoid or overcome significant social and
environmental threats to recovery. While threatened personal health or
already existing health problems may be the primary obvious focus of what's
done to help, there are other problems to be addressed and avoided to
maintain sobriety. Those include legal, relationship, economic, and more.
- The unintentionally self-initiated, acquired physical
need for the drug - primarily experienced early on and as craving - is
addressed in ways that are safe and likely to help maintain sobriety.
- So-called "hitting bottom" is too risky and
not required to have and maintain what is needed for drug-use behavior
cessation and recovery.
Richard Terry Lovelace, Ph.D., MSW (Master
of Social Work) is in clinical practice with Winston
Clinical Associates - 336-722-7300 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Dr. Lovelace is mostly retired from clinical
practice and no longer sees new patients who need more than one or two
sessions. Now devoted primarily to this not-for-money public health service
. . . he rarely writes for others. Those publishers included John Wiley
& Sons, McGraw-Hill, Self (magazine), Clinical Laboratory Management
Association, Counselor Magazine for Addiction Professionals and Business
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