Recovery Messages & News

Addiction is Addiction: Understanding the disease in oneself and others for a better quality of life

Addiction is Addiction Sneak Peek!

By Dr. Raju Hajela, Sue Newton and Paige Abbott

Here is a preview of our book on Addiction:

“Our goal in writing this book is to increase awareness and understanding of Addiction as a brain disease and quash the notion that it is a moral failing or personal weakness. In time, hopefully, there will be more acceptance and compassion for those struggling with active Addiction rather than stigma and people will get the necessary treatment and support they need to get into and stay in recovery.

Addiction is a word that means different things to different people. It is a term most commonly associated with psychoactive or mood altering substances (alcohol and/or drugs), where a person uses the substance of choice to excess and the substance use takes precedence over all other aspects of their lives. Some people use the word in reference to something that a person enjoys doing often and sometimes to excess; generating the comment ‘I’m addicted to….’ There is an assumption that Addiction is just about problem behaviour and that addictive behaviour is a personal choice. In reality, Addiction is an insidious and powerful disease that takes control over a person’s life creating a significant amount of pain and despair for the person affected and for those around them.

In Chapter 1, we explain why Addiction is a primary, chronic brain disease meaning it is not caused by something else and it is chronic in nature so once someone has Addiction, it does not go away and people need recovery to manage their disease to optimize their health and well-being.

In Chapter 2, we discuss in detail the historical and current perspectives of Addiction and the birth of the definition of Addiction.

As Addiction is a chronic disease, there can be periods of relapse and remission so being in tune with addictive thinking, feeling and behaviours is paramount to mitigate relapse. There is more in-depth discussion on this is in Chapters 3 through 6 where we discuss addictive thinking, feeling and behaviours.

In Chapter 7, the focus of the book shifts from the disease of Addiction to focusing on holistic recovery with an emphasis on a bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective.

Chapter 8 is geared towards family members, highlighting that the effects of active Addiction extend well beyond the individual.

The focus of Chapter 9 is for health care providers who want to learn more about the importance of assessment and tailored treatment.

The title of the book Addiction is Addiction was chosen to highlight the fact that whether a person’s drug of choice is alcohol or heroin or they have compulsive behaviors such as gambling, these are all different manifestations of the same disease and are not mutually exclusive. Many people still focus on the substance use or the behaviour, believing that this is the problem and if it is just taken away, the person will go back to normal. With Addiction, this is not the case. It is critical to understand what is happening inside the brain, as the brain is involved in everything we do including how we think, how we feel, how we behave and how we get along with others. The brain is the organ of judgment, personality, character and decision-making. When your brain works right, you work right. When your brain is troubled, you are much more likely to have trouble in your life.

The intent of this book is to encourage more open and honest dialogue about Addiction. We appreciate there are different viewpoints and those who will not agree with our views, but our hope is to cultivate an attitude of curiosity, open mindedness and empathy.”

Our book is still in the publishing process but we hope to have it available in summer of 2015.