What is Addiction
Addiction is a disorder which causes malfunction of the brain’s reward circuits. Up to 60% of addiction sufferers have probably inherited the disorder genetically (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2010). As well, the reward system can be damaged by overusing it. Those who are affected by this disorder will continue to reinforce their dulled reward system with substances (drugs, alcohol) or processes (gambling, sex, food) to increase feelings of pleasure – although only temporary. Once this happens, someone with a genetic susceptibility to the disorder will have knock on effects, or chemical cascades, to other parts of the brain affecting things like judgement and impulse control. This is why ‘addicts’ or alcoholics cannot control their using. Addiction is a chronic condition (American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2011) which means that it lingers, and symptoms will return if it is not treated.
Types of Addiction
Addiction is a complex disorder that goes beyond just chemical dependence on drugs or alcohol, contrary to what is commonly believed. It is now recognized in modern medicine that addiction can also arise from a range of stimulating activities that can become addictive. These activities, which are known as “process” addictions, encompass various behaviors, including gambling, overeating, and sexual compulsion, among many others.
At The Cabin rehabilitation centers, we believe that all forms of addiction are part of the same disorder, and we adopt an “all addiction” approach to addiction treatment. This treatment method is supported by ASAM and NIDA, who have conducted extensive research on the neurobiology of addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with a process addiction, such as to gambling, food, sex, or other addictive processes, seeking treatment may be necessary. Treatment for these disorders follows the same treatment guidelines used for chemical addictions, such as drug or alcohol addiction.
Treatment Types – Outpatient vs Inpatient
When it comes to treating addiction, there are primarily two options to consider: inpatient and outpatient settings. In cases of severe substance abuse disorders involving drugs or alcohol, medical supervision during withdrawal is often necessary, making inpatient treatment the most suitable option. Residential detox and rehab centers, such as our inpatient rehab center, provide an ideal environment for those who require constant medical attention during their treatment.
Outpatient addiction treatment, on the other hand, also known as “dayhab,” takes place in specialized medical clinics and is suitable for those who can still lead functional lives despite their addiction. These individuals may be able to continue their work and family responsibilities while receiving the necessary addiction treatment.
At The Cabin London, we offer a counselling schedule that is tailored to work around our clients’ work hours, ensuring that they can maintain their job and family life while receiving the treatment they need and deserve. Depending on the individual’s needs, some clients may require initial inpatient treatment at our facility before continuing with outpatient treatment. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
How is Addiction Treated
It is widely accepted by both medical and psychological professionals that the disease of addiction entails biological, psychological and social components – all of which need to be treated. Which is why we use the bio/psycho/social model to conduct our addiction treatment.
When detoxing from any substance, it is always advisable to seek medical advice to ensure a safe beginning to recovery. However, the need for medical treatment varies depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction. At The Cabin London, we have an on-site psychiatrist who can make an initial assessment and assist with detoxes when necessary.
Psychological and social aspects of addiction can be effectively treated using recognized and evidence based counselling models:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – focuses on increasing psychological health by learning to dispute what are known as ‘thinking errors’ or irrational ways we perceive and make meaning out of situations. Thinking errors are a main cause of the dysfunctional emotional states which are symptomatic of addiction (ASAM 2011)
- 12 Step Fellowships – 12 Step fellowships focus on treating the social/psychological aspects of addiction via ‘fellowship’ meetings which are peer run support groups where members use a common lexicon of recovery and learn to “identify” with other people recovering from addiction.
- Meditation/Relaxation Techniques – There are many techniques of meditation which concentrate on building the brains ability to focus and concentrate, producing a more balanced brain chemistry which is necessary for recovery from addiction. You can even expand the idea of meditation to include physical activities which increase feelings of wellbeing, such as yoga.