What is Alcohol and Other Drugs Dependence?
Dear Dr. Steve:
me help my brother. Weve been close our whole lives. Im very concerned about
what I see happening to him. When we went away to college we both began smoking marijuana
on a regular basis. However, its been five years since weve been in college. I
gave it up a long time ago. But not only has he continued to smoke, over the years he has
smoked with greater regularity. He insists that marijuana is not addictive, that he can
quit anytime he wants, that Ive always been an alarmist, yada, yada, yada. Can you
offer me some advice as to how I can reach him?
the difficulties in recognizing alcohol and other drug dependence as a disease is it just
plain doesn't appear to be a disease. It doesn't look, sound, smell and it certainly
doesn't act like a disease. To make matters worse, generally the person who suffers from
the disease denies that it exists and oftentimes resists seeking treatment. Below are five
signs that suggest that somebody has developed alcohol and other drug dependency.
1.) Adverse Consequences. All addictions are destructive to the individual.
Directly or indirectly ones drinking and drugging can destroy
relationshipswhether it be family, friends, or work. The health, job, self-respect,
and reputation of the active addict and/or alcoholic can be destroyed.
Absorbing Focus. All addictions consume time, thought, and energy. They are not mere
pastimes. They are obsessions and preoccupations that demand more and more from the person
who uses alcohol and other drugs.
of Control: The inability to limit one's ingestion of a mood altering substance(s) on
any given occasion.
4.) Increasing Tolerance. A person needs increasing amounts of their drug of choice
to maintain the same effect. Drug addicts need more crack to get the same high. Alcoholics
need more alcohol to maintain the buzz that came so easily at first.
5.) Growing Denial. Denial is the mechanism that enables an individual to continue
to drink and drug. An individual is convinced that they can stop whenever they want. The
individual in denial learns to live in two worlds by becoming an accomplished actor.
6.) Painful Withdrawal. When an alcoholic or drug addict is unable to drink or use,
they experience emotional and physical withdrawal. Angry outbursts, agitation, anxiety,
panic attacks, tremors, and depression are all symptoms of withdrawal.
If you believe that your brother exhibits most of the signs above encourage him to contact
a qualified healthcare provider so that his alcohol and drug use can be evaluated.
how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of
chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. series of
Insanity to Serenity.
Contact a qualified healthcare provider.
2.) Contact your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
3.) Read as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.
4.) Read as much as you can about what Recovery.
5.) Your brother will need to learn how to integrate the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics
Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous into his life.