Saturday, May 16, 2009

Same dis-ease, different drug

Multiple addictions. We know that many people don't have just one addiction, they have a cluster of them. Indeed, some addictions seem to go together. Sexual addiction is often associated with drug abuse; anorectics and bulimics are often compulsive exercisers. Some compulsive spenders are workaholics, and gamblers often overeat. One addiction seems to fuel the other.

As more and more people have found, stopping one addiction does not automatically "cure" others. In fact, it often results in the emergence of a new one. Like a bump in a rug, when it's flattened out in one place it simply pops up somewhere else.

What is the common denominator in every instance of addiction? It's not one particular chemical, then, or whether the substance causes withdrawal, or how specifically it affects the brain. All of these vary considerably from one addiction to another. But what's present in every case of addiction is the addict! It's our "dis-ease" within--our lack of ease--that renders us so vulnerable to addictions, not the substances or activities themselves. The true source of addiction lies within us.

What are our drug treatment programs doing to address multiple addictions?

If you're interested in this subject, check out the book I co-authored, Willpower's Not Enough by Arnold Washton and Donna Boundy, published by Harper-Collins.

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