Why Addiction is Misunderstood and Mistreated and What Science Has to Say About it.

-By A. Scott Roberts
M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

There is a common misconception that addiction ONLY affects moral wrongdoers or the weak-willed. The common belief is that addicted individuals just need to muster up enough willpower, strip themselves of pride, or "wise up" so that they can live "normal lives."

AddictYou may also hear that addicted individuals have an "addictive personality" or a major character flaw. Family members and friends witness their addicted loved one break promise after promise and think that they lack commitment, they're lazy, or simply just don't care.

It's understandable to draw these conclusions, but research contradicts these notions. Addiction affects the brain to the point that it is "hijacked" and biochemically imbalanced, resulting in seemingly irrational behaviors.

“The addicted brain is distinctly different from the non-addicted brain … Addiction is tied to changes in brain structure and function (Science Magazine, 1997)."

"...The common view that drug addicts are resistant because of pernicious personality characteristics that are part of their condition. Denial is often regarded to be a trait of 'chemical dependency.' In fact, extensive research has revealed relatively few consistent personality characteristics among drug users, nor do studies of defense mechanisms suggest any unique pattern associated with addictive behavior" (Miller, William R. / Motivational Interviewing)

Most treatment options are designed to "treat" these morally wrong issues and "defects in character" as AA calls it. Although well intentioned, the common and traditional methods of addiction treatment are only one-dimensional. There is much more to consider.

The 12 steps can help some individuals and encourages a valuable social support system, it often does not address an underlying issue.

Studies have shown that traditional methods often use methods that feeds an addicted individual's reluctance and resistance to change.1 The 12 steps can be stigmatizing for many, and most drop out. AA reports an 80 percent dropout rate within the first year.2

What's more illuminating, is that research shows most addicted individuals who become sober, and beat their addiction actually do it their own,3 when THEY decide how and when to make the change. When they do, it produces a long-term and more successful outcome.4 This doesn't mean that others shouldn't help, but rather, help needs to be provided in the right way.

We know that relapse is too common and some addicted individuals are in and out of rehab, sometimes 20 times! This shows us that there is a problem with addiction treatment. Addiction isn't just a psychological problem, but a biochemical one as well.

Researchers know that addicted individuals have malfunctioning and depleted neurotransmitters in their brain. This explains an addicted individual's behavior, the strong cravings and urges that do not seem to go away, and the depression, anxiety or sudden mood changes that accompany it. Neurotransmitters are the basis of how we think, act and behave. Once corrected, addicts think, act and behave differently.

Doctor Grant, while serving as a medical director, found that once the biochemical problems caused by addiction were corrected, through using key nutrients, it lead to a decrease in addictive behaviors by 83 percent. He noted that treating the underlying biochemical problem should be the first step in recovery.5

Not only does an addicted individual's success through recovery increase when proper evidence-based methods are used, but other behavior problems improve as a result.

Another researcher, Dr Stephen Schoenthaler, studied the affects of vitamins administered to inmates over the length of 29 years. His findings suggested that individuals who received vitamins had a 38% decrease in behavior problems.6 He concluded that a low concentration of essential nutrients in the body inhibits the brain to function properly and results in problem behavior, including impulsivity.

Adding key and targeted nutrients to an addicted individual's diet, not only lead to decreased cravings, but improved decision-making7,8. The reason being, is that key nutrients restores neurotransmitter activity, because neurotransmitters are synthesized from nutrition. Doesn't that finally make sense?

This is where the Truth Of Addiction program is different from others. Click here for the video if you missed it.

-A. Scott Roberts
 M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

References
1. Patterson, et. al (2004). Systematic Changes in Families Following Prevention Trials. Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 621-633
2. Comments On A.A. Triennial Surveys. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. December 1990.
3. Fillmore, K. M.(1987). Women's drinking across the adult life course as compared to men's.British Journal of Addiction 82: 801-811.
4. Miller, William R. Motivational Interviewing.
5. Gant, Charles, M.D., Ph.D. and Greg Lewis, Ph.D. End Your Addiction Now. (NY, NY: Warner Books, Inc.), 2002.
6. Dr. Stephen Schoenthalee (2003). The Crime Diet, 2003 as noted in the Alliance for Addiction Solutions, 2010.
7. Gesch, B. et al. (2002) “Influence of Supplementary Vitamins, Minerals and Essential Fatty Acids in the Antisocial Behavior of Young Adult Prisoners. Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” British Journal of Psychiatry; 181: 22-28.
8. Stitt, Barbara Reed. Food & Behavior: A Natural Connection. (Manitowoc, Wisconsin: Natural Press), 2004.