Before the 1980s, the so-called addictive personality was used to explain the development of addiction. The addictive personality was described as escapist, impulsive, dependent, devious, manipulative, and self-centered. Many doctors in the early 2000s believe that these character traits develop in addicts as a result of the addiction, rather than the traits being a cause of the addiction.
When to call the doctor
The earlier one seeks help for their teen's behavioral or drug problems, the better. How is a parent to know if their teen is experimenting with or moving more deeply into the drug culture? Above all, a parent must be a careful observer, particularly of the little details that make up a teen's life. Overall signs of dramatic change in appearance, friends, or physical health may signal trouble. If parents believe their child may be drinking or using drugs, they should seek help through a substance abuse recovery program, family physician, or mental health professional.
In addition to noting a preoccupation with using and acquiring the abused substance, the diagnosis of addiction focuses on five criteria:
loss of willpower
increased tolerance or escalation of use
withdrawal symptoms on quitting
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are three goals for the treatment of persons with substance use disorders: (1) the patient abstains from or reduces the use and effects of the substance; (2) the patient reduces the frequency and severity of relapses; and (3) the patient develops the psychological and emotional skills necessary to restore and maintain personal, occupational, and social functioning.
In general, before treatment can begin, many treatment centers require that the patient undergo detoxification. Detoxification is the process of weaning the patient from his or her regular substance use. Detoxification can be accomplished "cold turkey," by complete and immediate cessation of all substance use, or by slowly decreasing (tapering) the dose that a person is taking, to minimize the side effects of withdrawal. Some substances must be tapered because cold-turkey methods of detoxification are potentially life threatening. In some cases, medications may be used to combat the unpleasant and threatening physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal. For example, methadone is used to help patients adjust to the tapering of heroin use.
The most frequently recommended social form of outpatient treatment is the 12-step program. Such programs are also frequently combined with psychotherapy. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anyone, regardless of his or her religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs, can benefit from participation in 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The number of visits to 12-step self-help groups exceeds the number of visits to all mental health professionals combined. There are 12-step groups for all major substance and process addictions.
Bill Asanjo MS, CRC, Ken R. Wells, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit,