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Addiction (Part 1)

Last month, we closed our series about resilience. Now, we’re starting a new series on addiction which will be made up of a two-week introduction and then several articles on specific drugs and their effects on the brain and body. Addiction can bring up different opinions and reactions from people, especially those hurt by the effects of addiction. My hope is that this series will provide awareness and education so victims of addiction in our communities can receive the support they desperately need.

“In the United States, about 16% of the population twelve and older meet criteria for a substance use disorder, and about a quarter of all deaths are attributed to excessive drug use.” These statistics are frightening, and they highlight the reality we each probably know someone or have been someone who has experienced addiction. Addictions come in many forms, both substance-related or behavioral (gambling, social media), and are found in all ethnic backgrounds, races, age groups, and economic statuses. The root cause of addiction is unknown, but research has revealed that genetics (family history), developmental influence (exposed to drugs early in life), and environmental exposure (continued exposure to drugs) play significant roles.

Why can’t people make better choices?

This is a common reaction to people who struggle with addiction. It’s a reasonable question, but often leaves us all feeling helpless when those we love let us down over and over. As someone who has asked the same question, I want to draw our attention to a bit of folk counseling wisdom: People only change when the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same. As a mental health therapist, this quote helps me understand how sometimes the pain we are familiar with is easier to handle than the unknown pain of change. The hesitancy of deciding to stay the same vs. changing is a feeling we can all relate to, no matter the situation. If we are honest, change is scary, costly, complicated, and it looks and feels different to each one of us.

Exercise:

Watch the following video and journal or discuss some reflections. Then imagine those you may know struggling with addiction and what their life experience may be.

Next month will be Addiction Part 2: how addiction affects the brain and behavior. If you, or someone you know is struggling with addiction, give us a call at Rapha Centre and we can provide guidance towards change.

Outpatient Addiction and Recovery Community Mental Health

482 Interstate Drive, Suite D 482 Interstate Dr., Suite C

Manchester, TN 37355, Hours: Mon-Fri 7:15am-5:00pm/Sat,Sun-Closed P| (931) 444-1000 Manchester, TN 37355, Hours: Mon-Fri 7:15am-5:00pm/Sat,Sun-Closed P| (931) 444-1000×1010

References:

Grisel, J. (2020). Never enough: The neuroscience and experience of addiction. Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Landon Rivas

Landon Rivas

Landon Rivas (M.S. LPC-MHSP) has worked in mental health counseling for seven years in diverse treatment settings. He specializes in treating anxiety, depression, and addiction in adult populations and is especially interested in rural health care.

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