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This is the Charity’s new blog providing insights into the addictions field. We hope you will find it interesting and thought provoking

Supporting Recovery from Addiction

In relation to addiction treatment, very often the word “withdrawal” conjures up images of physical detoxification, even the profoundly unpleasant, un-medicated experience of “cold turkey”; think Gene Hackman in French Connection II. But when it comes to recovery from addiction, withdrawal involves much more than that. It involves the powerful psychological and social attachment to drugs and/or alcohol, as well as the physical dependence.

We generally characterise addiction as a consuming relationship with a substance or behaviour. While the individual consumes the substance, the relationship with say heroin or alcohol, begins to consume him or her, taking over body, mind, spirit and social life. As the relationship becomes addictive in nature, it devours more of the person’s time, it preoccupies her mind, it burns money and it ensnares those around her, often with a parallel intensity.

As anyone who has ever tried to stick to a New Year’s resolution will attest, giving up and letting go is difficult enough at the best of times but when you’re dependent or addicted it is immeasurably harder. Withdrawing physically from alcohol and drugs is, in most cases (but not all), a fairly easily medically managed procedure. The much more difficult bit is withdrawing psychologically and socially. You have to untangle your mind – your entire thinking and emotional life – from its minute-by-minute preoccupation with consumption of that drug of choice, which is where addiction leads.

You have to find something else to do with your time and the space occupied by the relentless obsession with using or drinking. It is in that vacated space and time that you fall prey to re-emerging emotions. Then there are the social networks that were bound up with the addiction. These have to go. A lifestyle that was defined by and sustained addiction has to be abandoned in favour of attachment to new social networks; those that support recovery.

The process of withdrawal and adjustment to a life that is not governed by the destructive control of addiction starts as soon as the person reaches out for help. Those of us who offer addiction treatment need to understand all the dimensions of withdrawal and be prepared to provide integrated programmes that provide for these simultaneously.

Nick Barton
Chief Executive
Action on Addiction

Posted: 12/02/2013 09:38:10 by Cherry Corner | with 0 comments
Filed under: addiction, treatment, withdrawal


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Action on Addiction is a company limited by guarantee registered in England | Company Number 05947481 Registered Charity Number 1117988
Registered office: Action on Addiction, Head Office, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6BE