Relevance Of Quality Of Life In Substance Abuse Treatment
The nature of SUD makes consideration of QOL, particularly OQOL, highly relevant. First, active substance abuse affects nearly all areas of functioningvocational, social/familial, physical and mental health, residential status, and access to services . Commenting on findings from a study of individuals reasons for seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, researchers noted that the most striking aspect was the sheer number of problems that people were experiencing .
Individuals want SUD services to address the full range of problems that prevent them from living fully and are more likely to drop out if such help is not forthcoming. When my colleagues and I examined polydrug abusers reasons for dropping out of outpatient treatment, 33 percent said they might have stayed if the program had done something differently of these, 54 percent cited unmet social service needs, especially vocational/educational and housing .
The relevance of broad QOL domains, as measured by the WHOQOL instruments, to the recovery experience is bolstered by findings of a recent study of recovery priorities among community-based persons in recovery for periods ranging from 1 month to more than 10 years. We found that, in addition to concern about remaining abstinent, participants at all stages of recovery expressed concerns about multiple areas of functioningmost notably, employment, education and training, and housing .
Have A Healthier Body And Positive Outlook
Those who have become addicts have treated their bodies with such disdain that it led their bodies to suffer deterioration and misuse. This can lead to debilitating cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological illnesses. But once you cleanse your body of harmful substances, it can return to being better and stronger.
If youve finished your treatment and live a healthier life, you can have a better life with fewer illnesses, happy memories with your loved ones, and a happier disposition.
Truth: Addiction Is Treatable
Several safe, effective, and inexpensive treatments are available for addiction. Treatments vary depending on the type of substance use disorder.
Effective medications are available for alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, and nicotine use disorder. Often, psychosocial treatments are combined with medication. Treatment can be beneficial at any point in an addiction and can be tailored to a persons needs.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, McLean is here to help. Call us today at to learn more about treatment options.
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People Grow And Change
Personally, I am skeptical that many people substitute addictions. In my experience, people who are addicted tend to have a particular affinity for a particular class of drug, not for all drugs and alcohol. This is probably based on some combination of their neurochemistry and their psychological makeup. I was addicted to opiates, but didnt have difficulties with substances in other classes. I have seen this to mostly be the case with thousands of my brothers and sisters in recovery who I have had the honor to interact with. People continue to add to their coping skills toolbox throughout life, so the unhappy 18-year-old who is struggling is not the well-adjusted 50-year-old who has worked through many of their problems, or who has improved their life circumstances. Vulnerabilities can improve over time. People arent static, which is what reminds us to never give up hope when dealing with an addicted loved one, no matter how dire the circumstances appear to be.
About the Author
Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributor
The Myth Of The Addictive Personality
The recently deceased writer and television personality Anthony Bourdain was criticized by some for recreationally using alcohol and cannabis, in what was seemingly a very controlled and responsible manner, decades after he quit heroin and cocaine. Was this a valid criticism? Can a person who was addicted to drugs or alcohol in their teens safely have a glass of wine with dinner in their middle age?
It depends on which model of addiction and recovery you subscribe to. If you are a traditionalist who believes that addictions last a lifetime, that people readily substitute addictions, and that people have ingrained “addictive personalities,” the answer is: absolutely not. This would be playing with fire.
I learned early in my own recovery how critical it is to apply logic and evidence to the field of addiction, and that just because things make sense, and because we have thought about them in a certain way for an extended period of time, that doesnt mean that they are necessarily true. While in rehab, I was actually told a lot of other things that turned out to have no basis in scientific evidence. For example, I was told on a daily basis that “a drug is a drug is a drug.” This mentality doesnt allow for there being a difference between, for example, the powerful opiate fentanyl, which kills thousands of people every year, and buprenorphene which is a widely-accepted treatment for opioid use disorder.
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An Inside Look At The Struggle With Addiction
But what are they really going through? The bottom line is your loved ones life now revolves around their substance use. If you live with them, they probably tried to hide it from you and managed to do so for a while, at least.
Lets take drinking as an example. Your loved one has managed to earn a college degree and hold down a job, but their drinking takes precedence. If they dont drink, they cant function normally. This requires them to plan ahead. They attend happy hours after work to give them an excuse to drink. If they run out of alcohol the night before, they probably look for opportunities when you arent around to run to the store to purchase beer and small bottles of vodka that they then hide in bags or inside their socks. They probably then ration the alcohol to ensure theyll be able to make it through the day and night.
Or perhaps your loved one lives alone and is hooked on opioids and alcohol. They may wake up hungover and tell themselves that theyre going to stop using. But they down a roll of Tums to stop the stomach aches and burning, then make a large cup of coffee to get their caffeine fix. At the office, they start to shake and tell themselves they just need one drink to calm themselves down. When they get home, they replace dinner with some pills to relax and chase them with another drink. By 8pm, theyre passed out with no actual end to the substance use in sight.
The Secret Life Of A Sex Addict
STEVEN: ‘I had a $4,000 phone sex bill’
I’m addicted to phone sex. For years, I saw it as no big deal. When the others in my office bragged about their sexual exploits, I stayed silent. Compared with them, I was a saint. My thing was solitary. Phone sex was just an exciting form of masturbation. I wasn’t cheating on my wife of ten years. She and I still had sex on a regular basis. As a 38-year-old sports promoter, I made good money and, at least in the beginning, could afford the phone calls. My wife didn’t have to know. No one had to know. No one could know because the experience, while getting me off, was bringing me shame–and pulling me deeper into a pattern of behavior I couldn’t stop.
Later, I would learn that sex addiction–commonly defined as repetitive and compulsive sexual behavior that over time negatively affects a person’s life–is a progressive disease. What begins as an occasional thrill builds into an uncontrollable obsession. I went from spending $10 a week to $100–and then $1,000. I went from phone sex with women to phone sex with men. The verbal stimulation became more bizarre–cruder, crueler, enticing me into areas that, only months before, I could never have imagined entering. I felt imprisoned. The minute my wife left the house, I rushed to the phone and stayed there for hours. I grew so alarmed that I called a psychotherapist and made an appointment.
BEN: ‘I Stayed Drunk on Web Porn’
OMAR: ‘Same Corner, Different Lady
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The Six Family Roles In Addiction
When a person struggles with addiction, each family member develops their way of handling the problem. Clinicians notice five distinct roles that family members may take on to cope with their loved ones substance use. Some families have a person for each role, others have members who adopt multiple roles, and others may not have certain roles in their family.
The six family roles in addiction are a simple way to observe how family members of addicts deal with their loved ones. None of these roles are healthy ways of working through the difficulty, but each makes sense given the circumstances and effects of addiction.
Sud Treatment And Qol
Whereas SUD treatment primarily targets substance abuse, it also provides services and referrals aimed at alleviating SUD-related problems in areas such as education, employment, physical and mental health, family functioning, and housing. A growing number of studies are examining the impact of treatment per se on QOL, including but not limited to any impact on substance abuse itself. The investigations completed to date have reported treatment-related improvements in most or all key QOL areas of functioning, including occupational status, overall life satisfaction, employment, and psychosocial functioning, among both alcohol- and drug-dependent samples .
Does an addicted individuals QOL satisfaction predict his or her chances for remission?
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Addiction Rarely Acts Alone
Stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression can also result in the development of substance use disorders, which can create new challenges for your mental health.
Studies show that many of those struggling with other mental illnesses also struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Many individuals with a substance use disorder also have other mental health symptoms or disorders. This is known as having a dual diagnosis.
The following have been known to co-occur with addiction:
- Bipolar disorder
- Personality disorders, like borderline personality disorder
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
You Cant Make Them Change
You can offer support, advice, encouragement and unconditional love to the addict in your life. You can issue deadlines or ultimatums. Moreover, you can enlist the help of friends and family to convince them to get help for their drug or alcohol addiction. But no matter how much energy you expend, you cant do the work for them.
While recovery outcomes for people who enter treatment voluntarily tend to be better, many people in drug rehab centers are there because of external factors. These can include legal problems, work problems and ultimatums from loved ones. Sometimes people find internal motivation to get better once theyve sobered up and are immersed in recovery activities in drug rehab.
Regardless, only the person with the addiction can choose to stop alcohol or drug abuse. Until theyre ready to make that commitment, nothing you do will have the impact you hope for or expect.
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Become An Inspiration To Others
A great story of survival and redemption is worth being told repeatedly. And many hard-core and long-time addicts who have successfully turned their lives around can become pillars of inspiration to recovering addicts today.
Even if you feel you have led a wasteful life and destroyed many relationships along the way, its not the end of your lifes journey. Your life and the way you beat the odds is a story that could inspire others. Whether in a small group setting or on a large stage, as in the much-talked-about TED Talks, you can reach millions of people and share your message of hope.
Walking In The Shoes Of An Addict
Nothing can compare to the chaos and turmoil of addiction. Feeding the beast is a full-time job in itself and the constant desperation to avoid withdrawals never lets up. If someone you love is struggling with addiction, youll need to have a basic understanding of the disease. With that in mind, heres a day in the life of an opiate addict.
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Ial Hospital Or Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient and partial hospital programs offer less structure because patients do not live at the facility. Patients return home each day after treatment is complete.
Treatment may consist of medication, talk therapy, or both. Sessions can occur one or more times per week. Those who are in stable recovery may attend therapy less frequently.
Brief Moments Of Happiness Fade
Despite my self-loathing, I take every penny my dad graciously gave me and hand it over to my drug dealer. Im happy to have five pills in my pocket and I cant wait to get home.
I walk in the door and Im immediately greeted by my dog. Thanks to this addiction, my furry little friend has been left alone for most of the day. Despite my neglect, hes so happy to see me. I instantly begin to sob. What am I doing? At this point, theres nothing in my life but collateral damage.
Despite my self-loathing, I take every penny my dad graciously gave me and hand it over to my drug dealer.
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Qol Among Active Substance Abusers And Treatment Seekers
QOL is poorer among substance-dependent individuals and SUD treatment seekers than among cohorts without SUD . This finding is consistent across comparisons with clinical and nonclinical cohorts, primary care patients, groups with chronic physical or mental health conditions, and healthy nonabusers . For example, on the SF-36 indices of physical and mental functioning, clients in SUD treatment score significantly lower than the general population, as low as or lower than patients with lung disease and diabetes, and significantly lower than patients awaiting cardiac surgery .
While the evidence is equivocal regarding negative impacts of SUD on physical functioning , SUD is clearly associated with severe impairments across several other functional domains. Mental functioning is particularly affected , as are social and physical role function , general health perception, employment, and leisure activities .
Greater number and severity of alcohol or drug problems each consistently associates with poorer functioning in nearly all QOL domains.
Life Events And Trauma
Financial problems, a bad breakup, or the death of a close friend or relative are some of the situations that can push you to seek relief or escape with drugs or alcohol.
Also, people exposed to high levels of stress are susceptible to addiction. Research has found that 60-80% of people with PTSD also have substance use issues. People who experience PTSD may use drugs and alcohol to cope with stress or to relieve symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irritability.
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Help Is Available For The Families Of Addicts
Its difficult to cope when a loved one struggles with addiction. You may feel like youve tried everything to get them the help they need. When your attempts are unsuccessful, though, its painful and disheartening, to say the least. Even if your loved one chooses to continue using substances, finding help for yourself may be one of the best choices.
Help isnt only available for people who live in active addiction its also available for addicts families. If you feel the effects of your loved ones substance use, seeking help for yourself is a great way to begin your journey to healing.
The True Face Of The Opioid Epidemic
Of all the illicit substances contributing to the increasing number of drug-related overdoses in America today, none are more dangerous or deadly than opiates. More than 20,000 people died in 2016 from synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and heroin alone claimed over 15,000 lives the same year. Like other drugs that have infected American communities in recent years and wreaked havoc on the lives of millions of people across the country, there seems to be no true discernible pattern among who might be impacted by opioid addiction today. Parents can be just as likely as their children to experience its impact and just as likely to be killed by using it.
If you think you know what a person addicted to opioids like heroin looks like, think again. Nearly two in three that we polled were employed, and the average user spent just under $27 a day acquiring drugs. They typically dressed casually for work, and the most common job type was a manager. They told us they slept just under the recommended number of hours, but more than 65 percent said they made sure to have breakfast before leaving home in the morning and generally preferred to eat eggs.
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Truth: Addiction Is Not Caused By Poor Morals Or Willpower
In the 1930s, when researchers first began to investigate what caused addictive behavior, they believed that people who developed addictions were morally flawed or lacking in willpower. Addicts were punished. Or they were encouraged to muster the strength to break their habits.
Over the years, we have learned much more, and today, we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. With addiction, the brain goes through a series of changesbeginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behavior. These advances in science have improved diagnoses and treatment of substance use disorders .
Giving In And Giving Up
Ive been staring at whats left of my OxyContin pill, swearing that Ill make this one last the whole day. Im in a futile argument with myself and I know it. I finally give in and grind the rest of my pill, snorting it with all the self-hatred I can muster. Minutes later, I wish this tug-of-war would just end.
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