In Colombia in the 1980s, I used heroin and cocaine, sometimes multiple times a day, the scars of which are still evident on my body. I continued to use it despite getting kicked out of school, overdosing, and even getting arrested for drug dealing. Knowing that I could spend the rest of my life behind bars. My parents were very worried. They could not understand what had happened to their gifted daughter who had always excelled in studies. Despite the fact that I had failed many times, they still hoped that I would somehow quit addiction.
Maia Szalotz is an American journalist who writes about addiction, science. Mastery of health and public policy topics. She is the author of the book Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction. He also co-authored another book, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, with Dr. Bruce and Parry, which aimed to shed light on childhood accidents. In addition, she has contributed to The New York Times, Psychology Today, Time.com, Voice, and the Sacred American Mind.
Editor: Iqra Tariq
Two theories are commonly held regarding the disease of addiction. The first is that drug use disrupts chemicals in the brain, causing a chronic and progressive disease to spiral out of control. Second, narcissists are very selfish people who don’t care about others and most people believe that when someone is a victim of it, people choose the first view while the other person chooses the second. If he suffers from it, he is considered a bad person. People are no longer ready to accept any new ideology. Another reason for this is the lack of acceptance towards an advanced investigation and the fact that many current treatments are not improving results.
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There is no doubt that addiction is a mental problem, but it is not a problem that worsens with age, like Alzheimer’s or cancer, nor is there any evidence that people with this disease will get worse with age. They have a criminal mind. Rather, it is a learning disorder i.e. a disease in which there is difficulty in the learning process and this difficulty is caused by a defect in the wiring of the brain which results in a disturbance in behaviour. Addictive behaviors in many learning disorders depend on genetic and environmental factors later in life. For centuries, scientists have written about addiction and the learning process. Research in humans and animals is now identifying the specific parts of the brain that are involved in the disease.
Research has shown that the use of drugs disrupts the functioning of the middle part of the brain. Specifically, the ventral tegmentum supplies the nucleus accumbus and the pre-frontal cortex, which results in an imbalance of the motivation and pleasure systems, in addition to decision-making. Abilities to reason, solve problems and set priorities, even survival preferences such as eating and drinking, are adversely affected. Addiction develops when these parts of the brain focus on the wrong thing, e.g. A drug addiction or other addiction such as gambling, sexual behavior or overeating.
If someone like me was raised in an environment where you were surrounded by loneliness, emotional stress, and feelings of lack of love, turning to drugs seems like an easy solution to me, like heroin to me. Use was a source of comfort, security and love that I didn’t get from people. Once I realized this experience, it was impossible for me to live without it. Our brain contains a chemical called dopamine that triggers the feeling of pleasure that comes from drugs and other experiences. This theory is very helpful in understanding any addiction that first resembles a learning disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Dyslexia. In which intelligence is not completely impaired. Then the second important point is that the powers of a person involved in the disease of addiction are not completely lost, that is, the ability to have a will does not disappear completely.
Sakti An example of this is like sitting in front of the police and not using drugs at all so that he doesn’t have to go behind bars. It can be concluded that people with addiction can learn ways to improve their health. Research has shown that there are many programs that are expected to provide addiction recovery. The learning process explains why the demand for alcohol and drugs is so strong and why people persist with addiction when the harm outweighs the fun and why they engage in irrational behavior. Are indeed, one may believe that any addiction is necessary for his survival, even if it is not important in the eyes of others. The process of learning desires like love is relatively different compared to harsh realities. As the process of learning emotions is a very different process from the ways we do in memorizing calculations. For example, you may find it difficult to remember your high school math and relatively easy to remember your high school first love.
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If addiction is identified as a learning disorder, the debate over whether it is a progressive disease as experts believe or simply a moral problem as it is commonly believed, can be eliminated. It is believed when in reality it is just a harmful method learned to deal with everyday problems. Also, if the disease affects the parts of the brain associated with feelings of love, then recovery from addiction is like being separated from a loved one, which can have lifelong effects. A broken heart is hard to mend and often relapse becomes an obsessive behavior. But this is not a sign of mental disorder.
In such cases, treatment is difficult to apply. If drug addiction is like a misguided love, compassion is a better approach than punishment. A 2007 meta-analysis of dozens of studies spanning the past four centuries found that compassionate treatment is superior to traditional addiction treatment. These treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and cognitive enhancement therapy. Instead of telling the patient that they are helpless in the face of their addiction, they are helped to make the decision to change through their inner affairs. So it appears that in this disease the brain is engaged in addiction seeking even though it normally makes social connections with others. So making the mind healthy requires more love and not more pain. The reality is that there is still no evidence of the success of harsh and punitive treatment.
These are remedies including imprisonment and humiliation is resorted to and the traditional “intervention” in which the whole family also threatens to kill the patient. People with this disease are already going through negative experiences due to their sick mind, so punishment cannot change it. Research has also shown that addiction can be controlled with age and by about age 30, people learn to control it and become aware of how they have used it. Alcoholism or drug addiction is controlled without any treatment. At the age of 23, I gave up drugs because I realized that the drug was harming me.
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This was also possible because I was physically able to do so. During adolescence, the energy that motivates us to do so is quite strong. But unfortunately we get a chance to understand this only after about twenty years. This is the reason why there is an increased risk of addiction in youth. In the same way, I came to know as I matured and it helped me a lot. At that time, all the treatment offered in the treatment centers was based on the twelve step program which only proved to be beneficial for some people. Even today, the treatment given in many medical centers consists of steps like bowing one’s will before this Supreme Being, praying and confessing one’s fault. We don’t bring as much ethics to the treatment of any other disease as we do to this disease, and people need it.
Teaching them how to ask for forgiveness for their past behaviors is not the case in treatment for schizophrenia or depression. Once we realize that addiction is not a sin but a mental process, we can discard all the logic that doesn’t work and work on recovery more effectively. Although addiction-sustaining obsessions can be channeled into healthy pursuits that can reap many benefits. Yet repeated rejection of the patient leads to addiction, but as a writer it has been inevitable for me as well. People just need to learn how to channel this ability into addiction recovery and in a positive way.