“Addiction would be more correctly viewed as compulsive behavior,” continues Anna Sarang . – Drug addiction in European countries has long been studied by addiction, along with, for example, gambling addiction. And if even ten years ago the medical community was looking for biomedical solutions to the problem, now psychotherapeutic methods are increasingly being used. “
Gabor Mate, a Canadian addictologist who has worked with the most severe forms of drug addiction for many years, argues about the nature of the phenomenon, declares that he does not see a fundamental difference between different types of addictions: “Drugs by themselves do not lead to addiction – this is a myth. Because most people who try drugs do not become addicted. The question is why some people are vulnerable to addiction. Food is not addictive, but some people become psychologically addicted to food. Shopping and television are not addictive, but for some they are addictive. “
As an example, Mate cites his own psychological trauma and the addictions that he developed in adulthood, from work and collecting CDs with classical music recordings: “Why did I become a workaholic? Because [my family] does not love me, I will at least become irreplaceable, become an important doctor and be able to compensate for my feeling of being unnecessary. This leads to the fact that I work all the time, and when not working, I am absorbed in the process of buying music. What signal are my children getting? The same – that they do not need me. And so we unknowingly pass on trauma from one generation to the next. “
“Addiction would be more correctly viewed as compulsive behavior. Drug addiction in European countries has long been studied by addiction, along with, for example, gambling addiction “
A similar thought is expressed in an interview with Wonderzine I., a woman who has suffered from addiction for many years: “Addiction is a complex and chronic disease. Addiction can manifest itself in any area of life. This is not necessarily the use of substances – this is gambling addiction and dependence on feelings. In general, there are a huge number of types of addictive behavior. You can only overcome active addiction, stop using substances or stop playing, but addiction will manifest itself in another area of life. For example, a person becomes a workaholic or fanatically begins to play sports. Dependence is one, but its manifestations and forms are different. The dependent person does not know the norm in anything. A drug addict who stops using drugs very often becomes addicted to food, feelings, emotions or work. “
Addiction as a stigma
Without justifying the harm that addictive behavior causes, and without removing personal (including criminal) responsibility from addicts, it is worth getting rid of common misconceptions regarding addiction itself. The psychological approach to addiction partly solves this problem.
It is customary to treat addicted people as weak-willed puppets. This stereotype continues to live, despite the fact that in reality an addict can be a very collected and purposeful person. “People think that junkies and alcoholics are neglected people who lack motivation. They are not – they are incredibly organized. They might sneak away for a shot of whiskey without you even noticing their absence. This is a kind of micromanagement, ” says Simon Pegg, who has struggled with alcohol addiction for many years. At the same time, his example refutes another misconception: an addicted person can perfectly read his own addictive behavior and understand its destructive effects (the actor compares this state with the appearance of a second head, which can think of only one thing).
It is customary to treat addicted people
as weak-willed puppets, although in reality an addict can be a very collected and purposeful person.
Which brings us to an important question: does a person cease to be addicted after getting rid of biochemical addiction – or, to use Pegg’s metaphor, does this “second head” disappear? “People do not use substances not because of the protection of the subconscious. A person dependent on substances has a program of self-destruction at the subconscious level. Addictive behavior is self-destructive behavior. People may not use substances for years, but they do not cease to be addicted, – says I. – In my experience, people who work with their addiction according to twelve-step programs remain sober for 10-15 years , but the disease “addiction” is very strong, and therefore make efforts to stay sober, you need it every day. “
Understanding addiction as a serious illness, the treatment of which can take years, will bring us closer to understanding those who, for whatever reason, have become hostages of it. For example, to the realization of why Philip Seymour Hoffman, who remained a teetotaler for twenty-three years, died of a hard drug overdose. Or the understanding of the recent breakdown of Demi Lovato, who, judging by the song “Sober” released shortly before him, was well aware of the dangers of relapse. The marginalization of the disease is certainly not conducive to its cure.