According to Stedman’s American Heritage Medical Dictionary, addiction refers to “a habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one’s voluntary control.” A person caught in an alcohol addiction or drug addiction knows too well how good intentions to staying clean and sober fail to materialize when a craving takes hold.
Physical Treatment for a Physical Disease
But why does addiction relapse occur so frequently, or more specifically, what causes a person to act contrary to their voluntary control?
Although we all recognize psychological and physiological features in addictions, treating the cause is the only effective way to banish the dependence that has usurped an addict’s voluntary control. That requires diagnosing and treating the physical chemical imbalance acting on the brain before it manifests as a psychological distortion (i.e. depression, anxiety, etc.).
This straightforward idea is grounded in the science community, who has been arguing with the addiction industry for decades to acknowledge the physical understanding of the disease. Sadly the idea of physical treatment for a physical disease has fallen on deaf ears, and has yet to be embraced by the main-stream addiction treatment industry.
Today the majority view of the treatment industry still interprets addictions such as alcoholism as learned behaviors, requiring behavior modification and psychological therapy to correct it. The approach most treatment programs emphasize focuses on spiritual and deep-seated psychological reasons to explain why some people have out of control alcohol addiction and drug addiction.
Start checking around and you’ll find just about every addiction treatment center operating today works from the premise that behavior therapy and psycho-spiritual intervention, like the 12-steps of AA, is the best way to overcome an addiction. In short, talking to sick brains.
As you might imagine, this just about guarantees addiction relapse and a revolving door of clients checking and rechecking into addiction treatment programs with the hope that maybe this time they’ll be successful.
Very few addiction treatment programs dare to buck the system with innovative approaches that strive to deliver more than words to sooth an addict’s misery. The joy an addict seeks with their attempts at staying clean and sober can only be realized with a stable brain that has received the proper biochemical repair.
Only after the brain is repaired does an addictive substance lose its power to overcome an addict’s voluntary control. A stable brain is what determines our psychological health and how we experience life.