Recently state-run drug rehabilitation facilities in Asian countries like China and Cambodia have come under fire for their inhumane living conditions and torturous treatment of “inmates” – centers where addicts and other petty criminals are incarcerated and subjected to hard labour, physical and sexual abuse. Not only is this a gross violation of human rights but in terms of treatment, completely ineffective as addiction is classified a disease of the brain that needs to be dealt with on a psychological level and all governments need to take this into consideration if they ever want to win their war against drugs.
Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson who sits on the Global Commission on Drug Policy believes that the UK would be more successful in its campaign against drugs if it tackled the problem as a health issue rather than a criminal offense. We think this approach would be effective, if adopted, on a discriminatory basis, by the governments in Asia and the Middle East as well as by the rest of the countries in this world that choose to blanketly criminalise the issue.
In September, a former Australian Football League icon-turned coach, Gavin Crosisca, admitted on national television his addiction to cannabis, amphetamines, and alcohol and revealed how he’d get high on marijuana practically every night of his 25-year sports career before eventually being put in treatment by his wife.
According to Alastair Mordey Programme Director at The Cabin Rehab Centre, “The debate about the pros and cons of marijuana use is long standing. Some people can maintain use at socially acceptable levels, however those with the underlying disease of addiction, such as Gavin, will become addicted. Gavin talks about being restless, irritable and dissociated when younger and struggling to obtain enjoyment from normal activities, these are all the symptoms of the underlying disease.”
Here is Gavin’s interview on Australia’s Sunday Night Show
There has been a growing interest whether or not there is such a thing as an addictive personality. Although this question is hard to give a precise answer, there are many ways to examine it.
Doctors and researchers alike are working hard to provide an explanation on why people use, abuse, and become addicted to drugs and alcohol. They have come up with reasons such as, genetics, experiencing a traumatic event, and certain psychological traits that attribute to an individual’s personality. Some experts have suggested that because some addicts share similar personality traits, there may be such a thing as an addictive personality.
What is an Addictive Personality?
An addictive personality is various personality traits that are thought to make an individual person predisposed to an addiction. People who have an addictive personality are not only at risk for developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but they are also highly at risk for becoming addicted to food, shopping, exercise, gambling, sex, etc. It is possible for the person to switch from one addiction to another or to become addicted to multiple things at one time. An individual is considered to be at risk for developing an addiction when he or she displays various signs.
Signs of an Addictive Personality
Impulsive Behavior: The person may seem to dramatically jump from various emotions and change their opinions or way of thinking.
High Stressed: They may seem to become easily stressed. What may seem like ‘no big deal’ may seem like it is the end of the word to this person.
Difficulty Socializing: The person may have a hard time talking to other people or going to public events.
Against Conformity: The individual may be against things that are considered to be ‘the norm’ in society.
The problem is that many people have the above signs and are not addicted to anything. So while there may be certain personality traits that many addicts display, there are almost always various underlying factors. Some researchers believe that addiction is genetic and others believe it comes from a person’s childhood; what exactly causes it is still not 100% known.
Understanding the Why’s
When one is trying to understand a drug or alcohol addiction, they must be able to understand the different reasons why a person would want to use drugs or alcohol in the first place. There are of course some people who are simply curious; they get high once or maybe a few times and then never use again.
It is the people who turn to drugs or alcohol as an escape that have the biggest chance of developing an addiction; an escape from physical, mental, or emotional pain. Drugs and alcohol ‘kill’ mental, emotional, and even physical pain. A person may begin to use drugs because they are recovering from an injury and are prescribed addicting opiates, have lost a loved one and are using antidepressants to ‘forget’, working long hours and are smoking meth to stay up, etc. There are numerous reasons as to why people turn to drugs or alcohol, but many professionals would agree that it is not simply an individual’s personality. Professionals working in the drug and alcohol field suggest that pain can make a person susceptible to an addiction. Once a person begins to use drugs or alcohol, the actual cravings can cause personality traits of an addiction.
Lack of Control
If there was any one personality trait that could contribute to a drug or alcohol addiction, it could be the struggle with control. There are many people that are unable to control themselves. For example, some people cannot go out to a bar and have just one beer, they are unable to control themselves and end up drinking too much. When a person is unable to control themselves, they are at a higher risk for developing an addiction over time.
Conclusion, Each Addict is Different
Physical, mental, or emotional pain can cause an addiction. The cravings that a person develops when addicted can cause the individual to behave differently and change their personality. A lack of self control may be a factor in a drug or alcohol addiction. All in all, each and every person is different. This means that each and every reason for a drug or alcohol addiction will be different; even if it is only a little different.
It should be noted that there are certain personality disorders that can make a person more prone to compulsive behavior, but a small percentage of addicts have this. While there may be personality traits that many addicts share, it does not necessarily mean that these traits are the ‘sole cause’ of an addiction; one must also consider the other struggles and difficulties that the addict is going through.
There is Help
If you or someone you know has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact The Cabin Chiang Maitoday.
TIME reports on an initiative taken in British schools to find out to what extent personality can dictate effective alcohol abuse prevention and alcohol rehab. Before beginning the study, researchers named four at-risk behaviours including “being sensitive to anxiety, feeling hopeless, being impulsive and seeking thrills.” These, they decided, made a teen more likely to abuse alcohol in youth and later in life.
Looking at nearly three thousand teens in twenty-one secondary schools throughout England, researchers created and monitored the effects of programmes that target the at-risk behaviours they designated. They sought to provide students with tools to help them understand how they view the world, whether it is through more anxious or thrill-seeking lenses, and to avoid thoughts that lead to self-destructive behaviours and possible addiction and the need for alcohol addiction treatment
The author of the TIME article explains, “Rather than addressing alcohol or drug abuse directly, the teachers spoke more about the students’ reactions to life experiences and incorporated cognitive-behavioral principles of regulating behavior, for example, to help the anxious students to cope with stressful situations and to guide the impulsive students to think through their options before indulging in their first reaction.”
Presented as an alternative to programmes that bombard young people with the threat of the physical and social harms that alcohol abuse can cause, this study, led by Patricia Conrod of King’s College in London and the University of Montreal, emphasises the role of mental health in addiction, and of harnessing mental tools at a young age in order to hopefully combat alcohol addiction.
After completing these programmes, the at-risk teens’ likelihood of binge drinking had fallen by 43 percent.
“A mental-health approach to alcohol and drug prevention looks like it’s much more effective and promising than simple drug education or alcohol education,” Conrod told TIME.
The study’s findings speak to two ideas: that numerous social behaviours and how one handles them can lead to alcohol addiction, and that given the right tools, young people can learn how to manage risky behaviours and practice a form of pre-emptive alcohol addiction treatment before adulthood.
Living with an alcohol addict is a trying and exhausting experience. At times, saying “no” and helping him or her to alcohol rehab seems far more complicated than saying “yes” and turning a blind eye to substance misuse.
Appeasing an addict – giving he or she money when it’s needed, allowing a loved one to socialize with other known alcohol abusers – may seem like acts of support and help, when in reality they constitute enabling and entangle both parties deeper into a canyon of addiction.
Below are common reasons why enabling is so easy and at times feels like the right thing to do. But in order for a suffering loved one to find alcohol recovery, all the thought processes that lead to enabling must be overcome.
Afraid of retaliation
Many close friends or family members are afraid that after saying “no” to an alcohol abuser, he or she will retaliate violently either with physical or mental abuse.
A fear of retaliation though is really just a fear of the depth of a loved one’s addiction; if someone resorts to physical abuse because of being denied alcohol, then it is clear that he or she needs to seek alcohol rehab immediately.
Desire to be liked
The desire to be liked begins at a young age and never really ceases. When fearing that an addict will never speak to you again after demanding that he or she go to alcohol recovery, you are failing to understand the misdirection of your loved one’s emotions. He or she isn’t angry with you, but with himself. The addiction is the part that he hates.
Too lazy to change
Life provides its own avalanche of pressures be they related to work, finances or family. Having a friend who is suffering from alcohol addiction can take its toll, and at times it might seem like too much work to plan for a loved one to enter alcohol rehab.
Keep in mind though that once your loved one enters alcohol recovery the work that will be asked of he or she will far outweigh the burdens of a life not controlled by addiction.
The relationship of addiction and the differences it has between genders has been a topic for professionals for quite some time. The National Institute on Drugs and Alcohol (NIDA) has dedicated a large amount of money towards research to identify and understand these differences. It is through this the NIDA hopes to determine the best treatment methods for males and females alike. Research has shown that gender differences do in fact play a role from the very first time an opportunity arises to use drugs and continues all the way into treatment for the addiction.
The Causes of Use Differ Between Genders
Multiple studies have been conducted to try to determine why women and men begin to use and abuse drugs, some of the results are as follows:
Co-Curing Disorders: Women tend to have co-curing emotional disorders such as depression, low self esteem, and trauma to name a few.
High Stress: Women, especially with an addiction to alcohol or cocaine, began using because they were under a high amount of stress.
Sexual Abuse: Women who have been sexually abused are four times more likely to use drugs with at least 60% of addicted women having a history of sexual abuse during their childhood.
Depression: Women with an addiction to drugs, particularly prescription medications, often show signs of depression or have been diagnosed as being clinically depressed.
Overall, women with an addiction to drugs typically experience more anxiety, depression, low self esteem or self confidence, and guilt than males with an addiction do.
Experimentation: Men are more likely to be curious about drugs and experiment with them; which may eventually lead to the abuse of them.
Greater Amounts: Men are more likely to use drugs, even if it is the first time, in greater amounts than women are.
Escape from Reality: While men and women may use and abuse drugs because they are trying to escape reality, the initial reasons for men to use are often the desire to escape into another world.
Greater Chance of Addiction: Research shows that men are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs than women.
Different Effects in the Brain: It is believed that the brains of men and women react differently to drugs. For example, men experience a greater rush when using cocaine; therefore, their chances to develop an addiction to it are higher.
Gender Differences When Reaching Out for Help
Women and men also differ when it comes to reaching out to a rehab centre for treatment. Women with an addiction tend to face more judgment and stereotyping from the outside world; therefore, they are less likely to admit that they have a problem and need help than their male counterparts. Women are also more likely to seek a private therapist or counsellor rather than checking into an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation center. However, when a woman does go for treatment at a rehab, they are more likely than men to complete the programme.
Recognising Addiction and Getting Help
When it comes to an addiction to drugs, what is important to understand is that each and every addict is different and with that one must consider the differences between the two genders. The average man and woman likely began to use for different reasons; therefore, they may require different treatment approaches such as therapy sessions for women/men only. Through recognising these factors, one can begin to find the best treatment methods suitable for the individual.
The Cabin Chiang Mai recognises the differences in addiction between both genders. We have both male and female professional staff members, allowing us to best treat all patients in a healthy way. If you or a loved one is in need of professional treatment, contact us today. We will create a treatment programme with evidence based therapies that will meet each of their own unique requirements. This programme will give them the opportunity to maintain long lasting and healthy sobriety.