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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books.

What is Alcohol and Other Drugs Dependence?

ear Dr. Steve:

Please help me help my brother. We’ve been close our whole lives. I’m 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, it’s been five years since we’ve 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 I’ve always been an alarmist, yada, yada, yada. Can you offer me some advice as to how I can reach him?

One of 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 one’s drinking and drugging can destroy relationships—whether it be family, friends, or work. The health, job, self-respect, and reputation of the active addict and/or alcoholic can be destroyed.

2.) 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.

3.) Loss 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.

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

1.) 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.



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