What distinguishes addicts from those who are not addicts?
Am I an addict is an often question people who have problems with drugs, alcohol, or gambling ask themselves. What distinguishes addicts from those who are not addicts?
1. INCREASING TOLERANCE
A person can bear a more considerable amount of substance. The body has adapted to earlier doses, and more significant or frequent amounts (the period between taking is reduced) are taken to feel the initial effect
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL ADDICTION
The desire and need of the person to feel the effects of the substance which are experienced as pleasant. “Reliance” on the substance in dealing with unpleasant feelings.
3. LOSS OF CONTROL
The person has no control over the substance. He cannot stop taking it until he gets his “dose.” It is a lasting phenomenon. Biochemical changes are happening in the brain that cannot be restored.
4. PHYSICAL ADDICTION
Body adaptation to the substance, without which the body cannot function any more. It becomes an integral part of body functioning.
5. WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME
Unpleasant mental and physical experiences that occur when one stops taking the substance or reduces its dose
Denying the problem worsens the disorder!
People taking drugs or alcohol respond to crises and problems in different ways. Some people think that this is not a problem because they can stop doing it or think they “keep things under control.” Some admit the problem arose, but do not “blame” drugs or alcohol for that. In any case, there is some form of non-recognition of truth or blurring of causes, which is essentially problem denial. Thus established pattern of denial allows continuation and problems inevitably continue to pile up.
The problem is minimized, not accepted in the present form (one undermines the doses, the scope of the problem …)
Rationalization is a strategy for justifying prohibited actions. The addict justifies his drug use by various examples from everyday life (lack of understanding from family, quarrels, conflicts).
Different interpretation of real events with the aim of justifying own behavior. For example, it is not a big deal that he “sometimes” comes home drunk, but the problem is that his wife does not know how to behave and starts a fight.
Comparing own problem with other people’s problem that are “thornier.” All with the aim of justifying and lessening the degree of own problem.
Misapprehensions about psychoactive substances
- Periodic “recreational” drug use is possible
- I’ll take it just one more time
- I can control taking drugs because I take breaks
- Addicts are homeless
- Addicts are those who are always drunk or drugged or regularly gamble
- Addicts face terrible problems when they stop taking
- Drug addicts are only those who take “hard drugs”
- Drug addicts are only those who take drugs intravenously
- Most addicts are jobless
- Marijuana is not a drug
- Drugs solve mental problems