Thursday, 10 January 2013

Addiction Survey

Healing Addictions Without Drugs

by Karl Schmidt is now available on Amazon for £25.50 link below
and Waterstones for £21.50 link below

If anyone who has succeeded in recovering from addiction [whether substance or process addictions--even nail-biting] and would like to answer the questions below in complete anonymity you can email me [see profile] or use the Comment Box at the bottom. 

After learning everything that the medical, psychological, sociological and philosophical disciplines could teach me. The 9 most crucial questions that I need to answer to understand addiction as an international problem rather than a personal one are:

1) Why did you decide to take an addictive drug and then keep taking it regardless of risk until you become addicted?

2) Why didn’t you stop before you developed physical withdrawal symptoms to prevent addiction? (It can take from nine months to two years to get addicted to methadone or diamorphine; although street heroin varies because of unknown chemical ingredients.)

3.0) How many times did you attempt to get free?
3.1) Why have you never tried to get free?
3.2) Why did you relapse?
3.3) Why did you succeed in getting free?

After months (sometimes even years) people choose to start taking the same drug or another drug until they get addicted again? (There also appears to be a higher than average potential for ‘recovered’ addicts to become addicted to alcohol or another addictive substance.) However, occasionally addicts just decide to recover and stay recovered.

4) Why don’t people always relapse? Sometimes people suddenly find that they have the strength and determination to stop taking the drug, recover, and stay off long enough to get back into work and apparently never to look back.

5) What made the change possible? Was it something internal or external, (was it something inside them, or was it something about their situation that changed?)     

7) How could treatment agencies, health-care professionals, and society have been more helpful?

8) What directly or indirectly hindered attempts to get drug-free? What else caused difficulties? How did the treatment providers help or hinder prior attempts?

                 9) If for any reason (perhaps constant pain or terminal illness) a long-term drug user cannot stop, what medically safe and socially acceptable options are available to enable the best possible quality of life? (Should social acceptability even be a factor in the treatment of patients?) 

The people I have asked are all from a group of people who [after laboratory rats] have been described as one of the most highly studied populations in science, yet they had never been asked these questions. The nearest was the frequently asked: 'Why do you take drugs?' To which the standard answer was: 'Because I like them.' In at least one case this was simply telling the researcher what they wanted or expected to hear, and this was the quickest way to get on to the next question and the end of the interview. The truth was that I didn't know why I took drugs and didn't know where to begin to explain my need for them. All I did know was that the need preceded  first use thus liking them or not had very little bearing on it.

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