Getting Help for an Addiction - dummies

By Brian F. Shaw, Paul Ritvo, Jane Irvine, M. David Lewis

Part of Addiction and Recovery For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Entering treatment for an addiction involves a sincere effort and finding the right method of treatment. Keep in mind that when deciding on your treatment options, all addiction recovery programs use one or more of these seven views on addiction:

  • Moral: People can sacrifice anything to feed addictions.

  • Disease: Addiction is like other diseases that cause unhealthy brain function.

  • Pharmacological: Addiction stems from chemical imbalances which non-addictive drugs can overcome (for example, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications).

  • Cognitive-behavioral: “Stinking thinking” or cognitive distortions drive addictions and can be replaced with “healthy thinking” and non-addicting satisfactions.

  • Learning: Different levels of learning cause addiction. Conditioning is important as it can be largely automatic and dominant, involving little or no thinking.

  • Psychodynamic: Difficulties in emotional regulation cause psychic numbing, emotional flooding and other extremes — addictive substances are then used to numb, calm, sedate, excite, sexualize.

  • Biopsychosocial: Physical, psychological and social aspects of addiction are addressed in combined treatments.

These views are structured into programs taking place in residential treatment centers (for example, 28 day program) or outpatient centers, guided by professionals or self-help trainers who apply twelve step and other treatment approaches.