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Recovery Management Services (RMA) delivers this helpful information to help you and your family better understand addiction in adults and children, psychoactive drugs, intervention, treatment, the brain, depth psychology, and much more.

When you need added help or specific answers to your questions, please call Elisa Hallerman at 310-415-2299 or email Elisa.

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What Is Addiction?

It is no longer simple defined as abuse versus dependence. The DSM-V (or DSM-5), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines addiction as: Substance Use Disorder (SUD), with subcategories that include alcohol/cocaine/heroin: “SUD is a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms
that the individual continues using the substance despite substance related problems,” including:

  1. Failure to meet work, social or family obligations
  2. Regularly taking lager amounts of substances over a longer time than intended
  3. Devoting a lot of time to getting it, using it, recovering from it
  4. Craving
  5. Tolerance
  6. Wanting to stop and cut down but can not
  7. Continuing to use despite physical or psych problems
  8. Causing problems in relationships
  9. Using causes you to miss social obligations
  10. Using again and again even when puts you in danger
  11. Withdrawal

For kids addiction looks like:

  • Physical compulsion
  • Mental obsession
  • Lack of spirituality
  • Self centeredness

Other Important Information You Should Know

How the Brain Works

How are dopamine pathways hijacked creating chronic alcohol and drug use?

There are two parts of your brain that are directly affected by alcohol and drugs.

Reptilian Brain (old brain)
3 Areas that make up the old brain are brainstem, cerebellum and mesocortex (midbrain) and limbic system (emotional center)

How it works—3 Main functions of the old brain:

  1. Regulating physiological functions (respiration, heartbeat, temp, hormone release, muscle movement)
  2. Basic emotions and cravings (anger, fear, thirst, pain and pleasure)
  3. Imprinting survival mechanisms (GO switch need more of that substance dopamine for survival, remember we did to survive, do whatever you did before again until you feel satisfied)

What happens when alcohol or drugs enter the body and then brain:

  1. When an individual uses a psychoactive drug, most often it is the old brain that remembers the experience and how it felt.
  2. These memories can be triggered repeatedly, encouraging drug use.
  3. Emotions rather than objective reasoning decide continued use.

Neocortex (new brain)

2 areas that make up the new brain are Cerebrum and cerebral cortex. New brain processes information coming from old brain. It allows us to speak, reason, create, remember, make decisions and then act. (A STOP switch applies when a need has been satisfied or the pain relieved…stop switch signals the old brain).

How it works:

  1. Because the craving of psychoactive drugs almost always resides in the old brain, the desire for pleasure, pain relief and excitement and cravings therefore override the new brain (rational thought process).
  2. Before people have time to think, they have following thought: “This will result in dangerous consequences” which means their old brain is already taken over. This is because the old brain reacts 4 to 5 times more rapidly, making the drug use well underway before common sense arrives!

The end result—The G0 switch is more powerful than normal and the STOP switch becomes dysfunctional. Chronic drug use makes the STOP switch useless.

Source: Inaba, D., Cohen, W. E., & Holstein, M. E. (1997). Uppers, downers, all arounders: Physical and mental effects of psychoactive drugs. Ashland, Or: CNS Publications

Treatment Options

Different therapy options include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Equine therapy
  • Somatic experience
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Brain mapping
  • Neurofeedback
  • Authentic dance movement therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Ecotherapy
  • Somatic therapy
  • Constellation therapy
  • Psychodrama
  • Music therapy
  • Depth perspective (bringing the unconscious to consciousness…through dream work, active-imagination, writing and somatics)
  • Mindfulness
  • Soul making

Psychoactive drugs

These have an enormous social impact on all aspects of society worldwide, including:

  • Approximately 2 billion people drink alcohol
  • 76 million people have an alcohol use disorder, and 2.5 million people die from the disorder each year
  • 167 million to 315 million people use illicit drugs.
  • 11 million people to 21 million people inject drugs.
  • 1 billion use tobacco.
  • About 180 million smoke marijuana each year.
  • Depending on the survey, 30%-60% of hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from the medical consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. If food addictions were included, that percentage would be closer to 80%.
  • There are 72 major medical illnesses in which substance abuse, in all of its forms, is the primary contributor.
Source: Inaba, D., Cohen, W. E., & Holstein, M. E. (1997). Uppers, downers, all arounders: Physical and mental effects of psychoactive drugs. Ashland, Or: CNS Publications.

What is Depth Psychology?

  • The modern field of Depth Psychology originated in the work of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, two visionaries who called attention to the importance of what lies below the surface of conscious awareness.
  • Depth psychology is non­pathologizing and strength affirming.
  • This approach focuses on the psyche, human development, personality formation, and Individuation is a process of bringing our unconscious potential into a concrete living reality. This process helps to secure a bridge between an individual and the unconscious as well as the individual and his/her wider community. By incorporating both an inner and outer exploration, one discovers a more potent sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • Individuation is a process of bringing our unconscious potential into a concrete living reality.
  • This process helps to secure a bridge between an individual and the unconscious as well as the individual and his/her wider community. By incorporating both an inner and outer exploration, one discovers a more potent sense of meaning and purpose in life.