ʻFalse beliefʼ is when drug users start to believe that once on the drug they are invincible and can accomplish anything. This leads them to becoming reliant on the drug for that false sense of confidence. At first, the drug was used for fun and then for confidence, and from then on drug users would find a reason to use it for every emotional state experienced, be it a good or bad emotion. At this stage, drug users have developed the belief that when they experience a good emotion and they want to heighten that emotion, they need to use the drug to take them there, and if it is a bad or sad emotion the drug will numb the pain that they are experiencing.
This is called escapism, where drug users believe that they donʼt need to go through these bad emotions and also believe that the drug will remove the pain. Escapism is not being able to live up to the realities of life and to find ways to avoid the problem. But, the problem has not gone away. It has just been psychologically suppressed by the drug and once they are sober again, the problem will be back staring them in the face. When a drug addict is in recovery, one of the most difficult hurdles to clear is to learn to face the realities of life all over again, e.g. disappointments, anger management, depression, boredom and failure. Now, the frustration of not being able to overcome a problem situation could lead to a relapse; to bury the problem momentarily, the person would want to use drugs again. This veil of not seeing the reality of why they are using drugs and the object of escapism is called denial.
It is now the set up false belief that the drug is the best thing in their lives as it gives them false comfort when the world appears to be against them; it gives them the energy to go out and do things (indirectly for the drug). It also gives them the confidence to stand up to any situation (indirectly for the drug) but they will deny that they are doing this only to get money to obtain the drug and not for improving their lives. So, indirectly, they have now become slaves to the drug and they would do or say anything to get it. They see the drug as their god, parent, family and friend. It seems to be the solution to sailing through life easily. This deep black hole of denial gets deeper and deeper with the continuous use of drugs. This is why drug addiction is referred to as a disease; it slowly destroys you from within; you canʼt see it from the outside. And the deeper the drug addict is in, the longer it takes to see the light of reality and the harder it is to break away from denial into accepting how the drugs are affecting their lives. Thus, the drug brings about a personality change in the addicted person. The task at rehabilitation level is to break into and to destroy that false belief system that the user has developed and begun to depend on over the years of using. But this can only be broken and destroyed by the person who created and developed it – the drug addict himself or herself.
This break-through is a step out of denial. Therefore, recovery from drug addiction needs to start from within, and with the user.
New Approach In Addiction Therapy!
ARCA Jhb (Johannesburg) uses non-addicting anti-craving medical products as far as possible. This is the advantage, as many other current therapies for Opiate abuse is Methadone and Buprenorphine (Subutex and Suboxone) which is highly addictive in their own right. Hence the cure can then be the new addiction = Cross-addiction. This is the major reason why most substance abuse treatment providers are opposed to medical therapy – ARCA JHB’s Medical Anti-Craving Treatments are ” NON- Addictive”.
Why are Treatment Centres Afraid of Anti-Craving Medications?
Using What Works
Why do so many drug treatment centers continue to shun science by ignoring medications that ease the burden of withdrawal for many addicts? That’s the question posed in an article by Alison Knopf in the May-June issue of Addiction Professional, titled “The Medication Holdouts.”
“Nowhere else in medicine,” Knopf writes, “are the people who treat a condition so suspicious of the very medications designed to help the condition in which they specialize.”
Acamprosate, a drug used to treat alcoholism, is a good case in point. A dozen European studies examining thousands of alcohol test subjects found that the drug increased the number of days that most subjects were able to remain abstinent. But when a German drug maker decided to market the drug in the U.S., fierce advocates for drug-free addiction therapy came out in force, even though the drug was ultimately approved for use.
The non addictive anti-craving medication —the evidence for all of them is solid. Knopf cites the case of buprenorphine:
“‘There are scores of peer-reviewed journal articles that evaluate the success of buprenorphine,’ says Nicholas Reuter, MPH, senior public health adviser in the Division of Pharmacologic Therapies at the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). ‘It’s well established that the data and the evidence are there. Not treating patients with a medication consigns most of them to relapse, adds Reuter. While some opioid-addicted patients, as many as 20 percent, do respond to abstinence-based therapy, ‘That still leaves us with the 80 percent who don’t,’ he says.”
Dr. Charles O’Brien, one the nation’s most respected addiction professionals and a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, is incensed that anti-craving medications are not more widely used. “It’s unethical not to use medications,” he says. “This is a subject that I feel very strongly about.” O’Brien told Addiction Professional he no longer cares who he offends on the subject. “If you’re discouraging people from taking medications, you are behaving in an unethical way; you are depriving your patients of a way to turn themselves around. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you have to keep your patients away from it.”
And at the Association for Addiction Professionals, “the prevailing philosophy is pro-medication,” Knopf writes. Misti Storie, education and training consultant for the group, told Knopf that the “disconnect” at treatment centers is due to a “lack of education about the connection between biology and addiction.” Counselors working in centers that do not allow anti-craving medications are in a tough spot, Storie acknowledged.
It is continually astonishing that treatment centers–where the primary goal is supposed to be the prevention of relapse, even though the success rate remains abysmal–would spurn medications that often help to accomplish precisely that goal. Relapse rates hover around 80%, by an amalgam of estimates, so it’s not like rehabs are wildly successful at what they do. What’s really behind the resistance?
What stands between many addicts and the new forms of treatment is “pharmacological Calvinism.” I would love to claim this term as my own, but it was coined by Cornell University researcher Gerald Klerman. Pharmacological Calvinism may be defined as the belief that treating any psychological symptoms with a pill is tantamount to ethical surrender, or, at the very least, a serious failure of will. As Peter Kramer quoted Klerman in Listening to Prozac: If a drug makes you feel better, then by definition “somehow it is morally wrong and the user is likely to suffer retribution with either dependence, liver damage, or chromosomal change, or some other form of medical-theological damnation.”
Check out Ocean Recovery Centre’s list of 80 top recovery blogs. This post list 80 of the Internet’s best addiction recovery blogs.