When a person is an alcohol or drug addict, it is not only him who needs treatment and therapy. Let’s say the father or the mother is “chemically dependent” and they have children. They also want to recover from their addictive behavior and start anew. Well, the treatment and therapy program that they have to undergo must include a family counseling and therapy plan. Because of their addiction, it is most likely that their spouses and kids have been affected hugely. They need to recover from it, too.
Generally, a chemical dependency counselor deals with therapy services and programs catered for individuals with chemical dependency. Chemical dependency may include alcohol drinking needs, illegal substances abuse, and use of medical drugs for leisure, and tobacco smoking. Before the assessments and therapy are to transpire, the person performing the services must have the necessary certification and training. In California, there are some requirements.
There are four stages of accreditation that an aspiring chemical dependency counselor in California must understand: the CADCA or Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor Associate, the CADC-I or Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor I, the CADC-II or Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II, and the LAADC or the Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor. (This information came from Human Services Edu website.)
Chemical dependency and substance abuse may sound the same to ordinary people, and they use it simultaneously. These terms are often used to describe someone who suffers an addictive condition. However, if one can thoroughly look into the depths of the phrase’s definition, a significant difference between the two will be discovered. And by then these two terms will be uttered in very different conditions.
People often judge others especially if they are a substance or drug addict. But do they know the reason why chemically dependent people are like that? Some people just assume that they are immoral beings and that they can stop their addiction if they only had the willpower.
“Addiction is a non-medical term that refers to a wide range of mental disorders called Substance Use Disorders. There are a variety of different types of Substance Use Disorders, including Alcohol Use Disorder, Stimulant Use Disorder, and Cannabis Use Disorder, just to name a few.” –Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I
If only that were true, there would be no addicts now. In reality, being addicted to drugs, or in a medical sense, suffering from substance use disorder is genuinely complicated. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. Addicts, while they display annoying and disturbing behavior, have to be understood, supported, and helped.
What Is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic illness that manifests an obsession and compulsion to use a specific substance, depending upon the irrational need of that person. It won’t matter to addicts that their abuse of legal and illegal drugs are harmful to their health. They will do it because they “think” that they’ll feel better after the “fix.”
Addicts are blind and will disagree if you tell them that their brains will deteriorate in time due to drug use. Yes, there is a treatment for this kind of disorder. A series of recovery and treatment activities are performed by those who want to get clean. The issue now after recovery is relapsing. When a recovered or recovering drug addict goes back to his old ways, it is called a relapse. The dangers of that to the body is higher and astounding.
What Happens To An Addict’s Brain?
When a person is doing drugs, it impacts his “reward circuit.” The brain will release a pleasure signals because of it. Now, the body will respond and find means to repeat the usage of drugs over and over again. That’s because it “feels good.” The drugs provide a state of high and elation.
They will use the drug repeatedly to try and achieve that same high again, but it’s not going to happen. The first time will feel good, yes, but after that, the brain tolerates the excess dopamine (feel-good hormones). People will now crave for that, and it results in their addiction.
But that’s not all. Because the brain has tolerated the drug use, it is now altered and messed up. The pleasure center is in “disarray” and will not find enjoyable things before as gratifying now. For example, they don’t want to eat their favorite foods, or they don’t see happiness in watching movies anymore. Before they became addicts, eating is their passion and watching movies is a relaxing moment.
Long-term changes in the brain also affect their learning ability, the way they make decisions or choices, how they pass judgment, the level of stress they are experiencing, their memory, and behavior.
“Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders include frequent use, prolonged use, cravings to use, and an inability to stop or cut back. The hallmark symptom of a Substance Use Disorder is continued use even after a person has experienced negative consequences because of their use (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).” –Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I
Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Getting Drug Addicted?
The exact reason for this is still unknown, but for now and according to research, some people are more susceptible to drug addiction because of biological factors, environmental aspects, and a person’s developmental stages.
Is There A Cure For Drug Addiction?
“Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction. However, due to the nature and the danger of this disease, simply just stopping on your own is highly unadvisable.” Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD said. It is a chronic disease like asthma or diabetes, and once it’s in your system, there is no cure. But there are treatment programs to follow so that the addiction is treated and managed. It is best to combine behavioral therapy and treatment meds for a successful outcome.
A lot of people will narrow their eyebrows when they hear the phrase “chemical dependency.” What does it mean? Is it similar to drug abuse or substance use? What is it exactly?
According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, chemical dependency is similar to substance abuse. Actually, the medical term for such condition or disorder is substance abuse. So, yes, it is a mental health issue, and both names are interchangeable. Chemical dependency is when a person or individual uses substances, drugs, or chemicals in an unusual pattern which can cause problems and misery.