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Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/drug-addiction-alcoholism-different/

Is the junkie shooting dope that much different than the alcoholic who drinks a bottle-a-day? Does the addicted brain treat alcohol and drugs the same, or is it a different problem altogether? How much of a similarity exists between a person who abuses alcohol and another who abuses pills, powders, illegal drugs, etc.?This post explores the lengthy controversy over whether drug addiction and alcoholism are the same or different.

Cultural Divide

Perhaps the biggest difference between drug addiction and alcoholism is that alcohol is legal and socially acceptable. Humans have been drinking alcohol, to excess, for thousands of years. While alcoholism isn’t socially approved, it is certainly not as taboo as drug addiction. While drugs like cocaine or amphetamines may make the user more social, they are certainly looked down on by the majority of our society. Because of the illegality of drug usage, finding drugs dealers, buying drugs, and using drugs is more riskier and even dangerous than going to the liquor store or bars.In treatment centers and in 12 step programs, much effort is spent classify someone as an addict or alcoholic. Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that drug addiction shouldn’t be mentioned at meetings. The truth is that the issue of “addict or alcoholic” may not be as important as it seems.

Drug addiction and alcoholism can take people to similar places. They can lead to jail, bankruptcy, divorce, and homelessness. Addicts are prone to overdoses, alcoholics are prone to accidents. A person at the advanced stages of alcoholism sitting next to a seasoned addict would often fool the casual observer.

Scientific Similarities

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/addiction-disease-perception/ 

Sober addicts, alcoholics, and therapists have called addiction a "disease of perception". What the heck does that mean? This post will examine how addiction warps a person's perspective and the ugly effects it can have. Addiction alters our view on the outside world, blocking us off from reality.

Our eyes are the tools that scan and pick up what we see in our life. However, our eyes only record information, they do not analyze or interpret what we see. If you remember taking biology or anatomy in high school then you may remember that visual information travels from our eyes via the optic nerves to the occipital lobe of the brain, where visual processing occurs. It is at this stage of perception that addiction really gets involved, skewing what we see away from reality. What's an example of a perceptual distortion caused by addiction?

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Addiction Distorts How We See Ourselves and Others

Drug and alcohol, in excess, cause visible problems. These could be hangovers, health issues, consequences, relationship troubles, and more. When these problems occur, ex. we get fired because of our drug use, our addiction changes our perception to defend itself. Rather than looking at the situation and saying "Wow, my drug use is out of control. Maybe I should quit...", the addicted brain instead goes "Gosh, my boss was a jerk! I didn't need that job anyway". Addiction will do anything to keep the blame away from itself. It changes how we perceive the world, blaming others for our troubles or rationalizing selfish behavior. The addicted brain constantly rationalizes its behavior, despite the contrary evidence. As long as our addicted brain views other people and circumstances as the real reason for our unhappiness, we will never suspect that our addiction is really the main problem.

When our perception is flawed, we make judgments based on inaccurate information. I used to gossip and talk crap about my co-workers, based on the assumption that they were talking behind my back. In turns out that they weren't, and I let an error in perception almost ruin a few relationships. Part of overcoming addiction and helping the addict/alcoholic to see the truth behind his predicament is to provide evidence that proves his perception as wrong. Chuck C, a well-known figure in 12 step programs, says that getting sober is like "putting on a new pair of glasses". What he means by this is that when we get sober we discover a new way to look at ourselves and the world around us. Our perspective (hopefully) is no longer clouded by ugly emotions like fear, anger, jealousy, dishonesty, etc. Our new outlook on life allows us to take a more tolerant view of others and ourselves.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-anxiety-sobriety/ 

Perhaps one of the most commonly reported ‘triggers’ for drinking and using drugs is anxiety or nervousness. It is not a pleasant feeling. Anxiety is a formidable obstacle to happiness, serenity, and sobriety, it can dominate our thoughts and permeate our emotional defenses. Sometimes it whispers “You’re not good enough, nobody is going to like you” or “You’re going to fail, why are you even trying?”, keeping us from leaving our comfort zone. As addicts and alcoholics, we quickly learn that certain drugs can reduce anxiety, leaving us with chemical apathy and artificial calm. Unfortunately, a life of active addiction often causes consequences and difficulties to arise, which increase anxiety even more. Avoiding jail time, waiting around on a drug dealer, trying to get money to stay high, and withdrawals can cause extreme amounts of stress. Eventually the drugs we initially used to numb the anxiety end up causing an untold amount of additional stress and worry.

 

social-anxiety

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/addiction-lives-tell/

In addiction, the addict is often a master of dishonesty, a “Rembrandt” of manipulation and deception. The following joke summarizes this trait: “How do you know an addict is lying? …Their mouth is open”. Unbeknownst to outsiders, the person most fooled by addiction is often the addict themselves. Their perceptions of reality are skewed, they believe everything is under control or that there isn’t really a problem. Here are some of the biggest lies that the addict tells themselves and believes.

Common Lies in Addiction

 

“I’m not addicted to drugs, I choose to use drugs… I could stop if I wanted to”

“I can quit anytime I want”

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

 

 

I recently spoke with a woman at a support group for people who have lost loved ones to drug overdose. One of a fortunate few, her son not only survived, but entered recovery. She was describing the isolation she experienced when her son was in the throes of addiction; she felt like she was the only one who struggled with the fear, uncertainty and powerlessness over her son's destructive and irrational behavior. 

 

She would walk down the street, look at other people, and think she was the only one who felt alone and helpless. 

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