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Disease.. forced treatment.. role of F&F

Old 04-14-2007, 08:44 PM
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Disease.. forced treatment.. role of F&F

I just ordered the HBO Addiction DVD, but in the meantime, I've been watching the podcasts from the website. If you haven't seen it, you might want to check it out. The downloads are free. I know the show has been discussed here before, and there's a lot of very interesting information presented in the series, but was hoping to get your thoughts on a few specific points.

The statements below were transcribed from the Supplementary Series,
"Interview with Nora Volkow, MD - Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse":


What is addiction?

Addiction is a disease of the brain that translates into abnormal behavior.
Their brains have been modified by the drug, in such a way, that the drug makes a signal to their brain that is equivalent to the signal of when you are starving - the signal of 'seek the food and eat it'.
That's what the (parent/spouse) has to understand.. that there has been a change, an adaptation, from the use of the drug that led to the situation, almost as if the individual was in a state of deprivation, where taking the drug is indispensable for survival.
Very clearly, particularly in young people, the brain has a tremendous capacity to recover, much more than what we thought in the past, even though the repeated use of drugs leads to damage to certain areas of the brain.
The longer you have been addicted to a drug, the harder it is for you to respond to treatment and that's where the importance of doing an early intervention is so key.



Does an addict have to be willing to enter treatment for it to work?

I was always under the notion that to be able to treat the drug addicted person, they have to be willing, to want to stop taking the drugs. One of the things that I rapidly learned was that I was wrong... that that was a prejudice of mine and many of my colleagues. Mandated treatment is affective. The data is there to prove it. When you go look at the numbers, and you see them replicated under very different conditions with different types of drug addicts.. and it works.. you start to come to recognize that the notion of voluntary treatment is not indispensable for success. Mandatory treatment works.


What can family and friends do to help?

Family and friends can play a very important role in helping someone to go to treatment and to encourage them and motivate them to stay in treatment. So they play a role at both those stages. Number one, making the person recognize that they do have a problem with addiction.. that they do need help, which is not something that occurs automatically.
Once they go into treatment, the family can play an extremely important role to maintain the motivation to stay in the treatment. The family, many times, needs to be treated, because there is so much disruption, that there are very abnormal patterns in the communication of the family members that develop as a result of the addiction. If not dealt with, those abnormal patterns may contribute to relapse.



This leaves me with lots of questions.. Is SR affiliated with a specific program that disagrees with NIDA? Or, are these just new findings, and NIDA had partnered with HBO to spread the word? And the biggest question for me, should I be doing something? So, what do you think of these statements?



--------
p.s. This is from NIDA's FAQ:

When is the best time to get someone into treatment? [↑Top]

It is a myth that an addict must hit "rock bottom" to be ready for treatment. The reality is, treatment works regardless of whether a person has hit rock bottom; and catching a person earlier in the addiction cycle, may mean fewer accompanying problems and a better overall prognosis for long-term recovery. Further, "rock bottom" is a dangerous place to be, and for many addicts, that point is when a near-fatal overdose or other serious health or criminal justice consequence has occurred. If you think a loved one is in need of treatment, it is advisable to do everything in your power to help them find the courage, determination, and means to seek treatment as early as possible.

Last edited by Mertzie; 04-14-2007 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Add post script
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:05 PM
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i really can't answer your question, all i know is that the first time i try crack, i couldn't stop for 3 months ended up in rehab and then relapsed and went to rehab 6 more times, at first i thought that i want to stop and i believed that i did, but the urge to use always out weighed my desire to stay clean, until i got so sick and tired of myself and my addiction until i was really willing to do whatever was suggested to me, and that is when i got clean and worked the program so that it could work for me.

same for my husband, he has gone 6 times on his own, 2-3 times court ordered and each time, he still went right back to using, stayed 2yrs in prison, with meeting and spirituality groups and when right out after release and used. even found a way to use while in 18month extensive drug court program, it wasn't until he found himself homeless and hungry, that he went for treatment and is for the first and longest stretch of clean time is 4 months sober. crack was both of our docs.

i honestly believe that most addicts will not commit to recovery until they have hit some type bottom and every bottom is not the same or not as severe. each addiction is a personal thing and will take a personal bottom.

i'm not an expert on addiction so my 2cent can't compare with the knowledge that hbo has exibited, but i speak because i'm an addict in recovery, i've gone into rehab for a lot of different reason, but it did not work for me cause i was not ready for it to work even though i said that i was, i just did not have the motivation to stop, and it was not because i wasn't encouraged by friends and family, it was because i still want to use and no amount of motivation could have stopped me i don't believe until i got ready to get clean and do the work to get sober, this is just my opinion, don't want to debate the professional findings, i'm still learning and i'm still a recovering addict that have to be conscience of my thoughts and actions, cause i don't want to use today.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:09 PM
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I agree that addiction is a disease. That has been debated here more than once, but if "disease" is what the American Medical Association calls it, that's good enough for me. I also believe that it is a progressive disease that becomes worse at an alarming speed.

Does an addict have to be willing to enter treatment for it to work? I know many who have entered willingly for whom it has worked and just as many for whom it did not. I also know addicts who went to mandatory treatment with the same results as those who went willingly.

What matters, I think , is the addicts willingness to get clean and stay clean.

What can family and friends do? Encourage perhaps, set boundaries that eliminate "easy" outs, stop enabling and pray a lot. My thoughts are that I don't like this question because it tends to put some responsibility on the family and friends for the addict's recovery, and if we truly had any control over an addict's using or not using...not one of us would be here. We are NOT responsible for their addiction or their recovery.

SR is not affiliated with any specific program, taking a read around should show that clearly.

These may not be the answers you want, but they are the most honest ones I have from where I sit.

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Old 04-14-2007, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mertzie View Post


Does an addict have to be willing to enter treatment for it to work?

Mandatory treatment works.


What can family and friends do to help?

... Number one, making the person recognize that they do have a problem with addiction.. that they do need help, which is not something that occurs automatically.



This leaves me with lots of questions.. Is SR affiliated with a specific program that disagrees with NIDA? Or, are these just new findings, and NIDA had partnered with HBO to spread the word? And the biggest question for me, should I be doing something? So, what do you think of these statements?
(My opinion)
Dragging someone off to treatment in my opinion... when it works, it is because at that point they recognized they have a problem (hit their bottom).
Thing is... there are laws that say we can't go around dragging adults off to treatment because we think they need it. A child... the parents is in control (along with a DR) An adult would need be at such a point that a Dr and or the courts would agree before an intervention can be done.
If interventions worked as they say, there would be a lot less addicts in the world. Till a person is ready and willing is how I see it.

SR is not affiliated with anyone. It is a private owned web site.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:29 PM
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I haven't watched any of the HBO series, but I have seen these statements here before and while it seems that HBO did offer some good information, this business of laying the responsibility for getting an addict into treatment on the family disturbs me.

Originally Posted by Mertzie View Post
Number one, making the person recognize that they do have a problem with addiction.. that they do need help, which is not something that occurs automatically.
Just how do they suggest that one 'make' an addict 'recognize that they do have a problem'? I did everything under the sun and still got nowhere.

Originally Posted by Mertzie View Post
If you think a loved one is in need of treatment, it is advisable to do everything in your power to help them find the courage, determination, and means to seek treatment as early as possible.[/I]
This statement also arouses a lot of feelings in me, most of them not very good. It SOUNDS reasonable and like the right thing to do. But I think it puts an unfair burden on families that have tried and tried and tried to get their loved ones to get clean with no success. Families that already have enough guilt and shame to last 10 lifetimes.

I agree with Ann. IMHO, if this were they way it worked, none of us would be here and our addicts would all be living happily ever after.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:41 PM
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I am of the mind that the 12 step programs do work. AA and NA are non for profit organizations that are proven to help those who seek change....Many people all over the world have changed lives and long term sobriety.

This site is dedicated to giving space for us to share and recover- by not promoting any one method, all are free to believe as they wish and try what works for them.

Not all research is valid, not all research can be replicated to prove that it is valid. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with all that is on these dvds, but I can find 'research' to prove or sell just about anything.

The 12 Traditions protect and keep the program solely not for profit. I can't say that for HBO or others affiliated with this series.
That in itself raises huge red flags for me.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:05 PM
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That's why there's 12 steps calls.

I 've also read
It takes a while for the brain to adjust back.
The receptors changed/adjust to the chemicle. and the veriaty of receptor
are reduced. Thats why most if not all recovering addict/alki have emotional roller coaster after detox.

Our body produce nutural chemicles. That why it is suggested
we live a balance life style to experince a veriaty of emotions.
Thats why we can get addicted to whatever without drugs,
such as anger, selfpity, too happy, sad, shopalholics,excitment, fear.
mmm..emotional attachment to our alkis.
We simple create situations to reinforce our chemicle dependency.

if i had a habit of being sad, i have heck of a time being happy
becuase it dosen't fit.

If i was jumpn for joy all the time then something sad happens
I feel overwhelm..becuase it dosn't fit.

Having this forsite...I won't think i'm crazy or in other words
this too shall pass.

In other words emotional sobeity. I don't get addicted to emotions
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:35 AM
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When a scientist gives me better advice than the wonderful people on SR, I will follow it. Until then the only intervention I will do is not buy into my AD's denial and not enable her to continue in her sickness. After all there is not much I can do when what I am up against is a boyfriend who will buy her all the drugs she wants. I can tell her she needs help, I can support her when she decides to do it, but I can't make her want it. Instead of giving a blanket statement the scientists need to list the steps to take to make it happen and until they do that I will continue to do what works for me. Hugs, Marle
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:23 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly with duet. I don't think there's a person on this board who hasn't beaten their head against the wall, lost countless nights of sleep, lost money, considered themselves crazy and possibly even gone off the deep end at times trying to help their addicted person. None of us here has the power to confine an addict, take him or her to treatment and make him or her stay there and listen to it. I can accept that we play a role in recovery, but none of us is responsible for the recovery of our addicts.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:42 AM
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The best way to help an addict is to get healthy ourselves. I know my daughter has said that she knows that I am changing because I am treating her so differently. Will that make her want to change. I don't know, but one less person enabling an addict can't hurt. Marle
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:50 AM
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This statement also arouses a lot of feelings in me, most of them not very good. It SOUNDS reasonable and like the right thing to do. But I think it puts an unfair burden on families that have tried and tried and tried to get their loved ones to get clean with no success. Families that already have enough guilt and shame to last 10 lifetimes.

(((Duet))) - I'm very sorry for posting something caused you to be upset.

It gave me hope. I know that people here have done everything under the sun for their addicts. I, on the other hand, have done NOTHING! And I don't know how much longer I can stand the guilt of that.

Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts on this. Peace and Hugs
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:09 AM
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I think this is a great thread and am grateful to Mertzie for posting it. I think it clearly shows the difference between how a "documentary" on television may portray addiction and the real life experience of most of us.

I'm glad quality shows about addiction are shown, even if they conflict with my own experience. The more these shows air, the more the public will become familiar with and comfortable discussing drug abuse.

And maybe, just maybe, one person thinking of using drugs may decide not to and to take a better path. I pray they do.

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Old 04-15-2007, 09:45 AM
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I agree with Tracee. It's not about the number of times in rehab, it's about the addict's willingness to try...one more time. I admire the courage it takes to do that, to keep trying when the odds are against them, to just reach out and ask for help..one more time.

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Old 04-15-2007, 10:08 AM
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Thanks for posting this Mertzie. I'll keep my thoughts to myself, Or I'll send you a pm.
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:32 PM
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This is a great thread and it's wonderful seeing how this really has been a round table discussion. My experience is that there is no real rhyme or reason for what makes it click "this time". I know that for my RAH that his recovery coincided with my recovery. I was ready to finally do the work that I needed to do and that was what made it work for me this time. I am finally learning what having boundaries means, detaching with love, and all that comes with recovery. The support and the fellowship that I have found in the rooms of recovery are what have made me able to tolerate the ardorous process of someone working towards sobriety and recovery.

I know that the damage that drugs do during active addiction make it incredibly difficult for the addict to make any sort of sane decision and utilize any self control. There is a lot of relapse at 90-120 days and I think that it's because the brain hasn't healed enough to be able to take the time to resist the impulses that say "use use use". There is no doubt in my mind that most addicts get to the point where they would love to quit but just don't see any way to make it work for them.

Who knows what the confluence of events are that make any one person "get it" finally. There is a lot of good information now about the pretreatment stage of recovery. One of the main factors is that recovery is extremely unlikely until the addict is able to admit to themselves that their life is negatively impacted by drugs - the end. Many addicts stay in denial that that is what it really is because the disease wants them to believe that it is everything else (we nag them, their boss is a jerk, blah blah blah).

Remember that airline axiom - apply the oxygen mask to yourself first. If you don't - you can't help anyone. I know that if my recovery isn't at the forefront of my life that my spiritual fitness decreases.....I slip back to my codie ways a lot faster than my RAH has slipped back to picking up at this point!

Most addiction counselors will tell you that family recovery is so important in the whole dynamic. I don't think that it is necessarily because it's what we need to do for our addicts - it's what we need to do for ourselves. That way - we have a lot more chance of being ok no matter what our addicts ever do or don't do.

Each family situation is going to be different. My RAH's did everything that they knew to do, spent huge sums of money, numerous rehabs, etc. None of it ever "took". However, each time he went contributed to his awakening and then finally it happened for him. Interventions didn't work, tough love didn't work - they tried it all. Hands on, hands off....you name it. His options finally ran out and he knew it. No more family support had a lot to do with his recovery. He knew that he had my support and the two things together helped him to grab the ring this time. He finally was convinced that he could not successfully do crack. The other important piece that he finally got was that he could not ever use any mood altering substance....it all leads him back eventually to his DOC.

There is no one right way - I'm glad that we can all talk and learn a lot about alll the different things that we can do - mainly for ourselves.

Love, Donna
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mertzie View Post
(((Duet))) - I'm very sorry for posting something caused you to be upset.
Hey girl!



No need to apologize! I'm not upset, especially not at you! I apologize if you thought I was directing my comments to you earlier.

I find the HBO thing interesting and at least it is getting some dialogue started about addiction. I just get a little bent out of shape by people who make blanket statements like some of the ones that HBO made.

No two addicts are alike, just like no two 'normal' (whatever that is) people are alike. I just think that it is a gross oversimplification to say that families should do this or do that, because we have all done so much and nothing worked; and I just don't think anything will work unless and until the addict makes the decision for themselves.

(((HUGS to you mertzie))))
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:34 PM
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Thanks Duet!!

I'm glad you're not upset.

HUGS,
Mertzie
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