Understanding Addiction (Understanding Health and Sickness Series)

Understanding Addiction (Understanding Health and Sickness Series)

Elizabeth Connell Henderson

Language: English

Pages: 222

ISBN: 1578062403

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


At least one of every four people in America has had some experience with addiction--either personally or through a family member. Addiction and its consequences cost billions of dollars each year in direct medical costs, lost productivity, accidents, crime, and corruption. Yet as a disease, addiction is still largely misunderstood.

Starting with the question "what is addiction?" Elizabeth Connell Henderson takes the reader through the many facets of this disorder. She examines the effects of addictive substances on the brain and reviews each of the major classes of substances. In the development of addiction, she looks at the genetic, social, and psychological factors.

Henderson shows the effects of addiction on the family and guides the reader on a journey through the course of the illness and the process of recovery. Additional chapters deal with the problems associated with dual diagnosis--when addiction is accompanied by other psychiatric illnesses. Also chapters cover behavioral addictions such as compulsive overeating, pathological gambling, and sexual addiction.

Covered are: Who becomes addicted and why? What are the properties of the major addictive drugs? What is the course of addiction? How does addiction affect the family? What constitutes recovery? What are the current trends in research? What organizations are available for help and how are they contacted?

For the addict in recovery and for the family of the afflicted, Understanding Addiction provides crucial information to demystify this disease and provide clear guidance toward recovery. For human resource workers, attorneys, social workers, nurses, corrections officers, school counselors, and teachers, the book provides a framework of practical information for aiding individual sufferers and coping with their unique struggles.

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drug are toxic and highly explosive. Crystal meth addiction tends to cluster in certain parts of the country, such as the South and the Southwest, close to the illicit labs. It’s also frequently abused by long-haul truckers. In some cases, crack cocaine addicts have turned to crystal meth as a substitute because of the lower cost and longer high. Amphetamines exert their effect on the brain in a twofold fashion. They attach to and directly stimulate the cells that produce excitation of certain

who experience less dramatic consequences might continue using or drinking all their lives without ever facing the need to recover. But their relationships wither and their spiritual life fades away. The choice is this: recovery or death. Addictive disease is a fatal illness, with no cure. There is a chance for a reprieve. Addiction can be brought into remission, and the addict can begin repairing the damage and rebuilding his or her life. But addiction is the only fatal illness I know of that

worthy of love and attention. You feel unable to change your situation, and you may begin to feel hopeless about things ever being different. If the addict is emotionally or physically abusive, you may also begin to have a sense of guilt and shame as a result of the abuse. If your self-esteem was already shaky before you entered the relationship, as is often the case with those who grew up in an addicted family, it now begins to take a free fall. But the more your self-esteem falls, the more

broader effects of the addiction. At the next stage in the process of change is a fork in the road. You will either maintain the changes you have made and continue to grow, or you will relapse and return to the addiction. Maintenance involves a process of continuing growth and self-awareness. As your life gets back on track, you may discover that there are issues that need to be addressed. Remember that many people begin drinking or using drugs in order to avoid painful feelings. You may have

start to experience more negative consequences. Often this is the point at which the substance begins to be used more for its pharmacological effects—as a sedative or tranquilizer, for example. This “hazardous use” might lead to substantial consequences, and in some cases the person will recognize the problem and begin to abstain from the substance, therefore regaining control. Sometimes people go through a period of abusing substances during stressful periods in their lives. They might

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