One of the biggest questions that even experts don’t always know the answer to is whether someone with an addiction who does not want help can benefit from substance abuse treatment. There are studies and anecdotal evidence which show that there are benefits to this type of treatment even when the individual is resistant to receiving help. Other experts believe that the person has to recognize their problems and want to quit before treatment can be most effective. With the debate unsettled what can you do to help a loved one who struggles with addiction if they don’t want help? Should you just throw your hands up in defeat and hope and pray that your friend or family member sees the error of their ways before it is too late?
When addiction takes over the individual is not thinking rationally because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In this state of mind resistance to substance abuse treatment is almost normal. At this stage an intervention could be helpful and encourage the loved one to enter treatment for their addiction. Once the user stops the drug or alcohol abuse it takes some time for these substances to leave the mind and body. Once this does happen the person with the addiction will start to think clearly again and treatment can begin in earnest. A detox period is usually very beneficial because it allows the substances to be eliminated from the body, and until this happens the judgment of the addict will be muddled and any treatment may not succeed.
A dual diagnosis for addiction and borderline personality disorder can be an immense challenge when it comes to treating both conditions successfully. People with BPD have a much higher risk of substance abuse as well, they are impulsive and prone to mood swings and rages, and they are often highly unstable. Many studies show that more than half of the people who are diagnosed with BPD also have substance abuse problems, and some studies put the rate of these co-occurring disorders as high as 70%. Patients with this type of dual diagnosis can be especially difficult and challenging to treat because of the various symptoms and the impulsivity that these individuals exhibit. Many people with addiction and BPD can be resistant to treatment even though the research shows that the longer these individuals are in treatment the better the outcome will be.
Another big challenge when it comes to treating people who have both borderline personality disorder and addiction is establishing a healthy and positive client therapist relationship. People with BPD can see the therapist as someone helpful and a great source of support but this can change very quickly. As soon as the patient feels criticized, rejected, or disapproval in any form the therapist can be viewed as an enemy. This often leads to missing therapy appointments or even discontinuing therapy completely. This cycle can be just as frustrating for the therapist as it can be for the patient. People with this type of dual diagnosis typically engage in dysfunctional relationships and they have higher than normal relapse rates, and both of these issues can also pose serious challenges during therapy.
According to a new study that was released recently encouraging texts could make it easier for you to quit smoking. The study was performed by researchers at Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine in Providence, R.I. The study results showed that when smokers received positive texts of encouragement with messages like Be Strong or You Can Do It they were more likely to successfully quit smoking. Researcher and co-author Lori Scott-Sheldon, Ph.D. explained “Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable global health problems, and text messaging has the promise to reach a wider audience with minimal costs and fewer resources. The evidence provides unequivocal support for the efficacy of text messaging interventions to reduce smoking behavior, but more research is needed to understand for whom they work, under what conditions, and why.”
The study shows that encouraging texts could help you quit smoking, and there are also other possibilities as well. Smoking tobacco is a form of substance abuse, just like an addiction to alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. If this model of therapy works for tobacco use it could possibly work with other forms of substance abuse as well. In the USA tobacco smoking is the number one preventable cause of death, so even if the model only works with tobacco there is still a very large market that could benefit. According to co-author Bock “Text messaging enjoys near-market saturation and is a widely preferred method of communication with deep penetration across diverse groups. Wide availability of an attractive and effective smoking cessation program can exert a powerful, sustained impact on public health.”
According to a recent article in the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports there is no substitute for education when it comes to opioid abuse prevention strategies. The article titled “Current State of Opioid Therapy and Abuse” points out that there are limits to what newer medical technologies designed to thwart opioid abuse can do. According to the author of the article, University of the Pacific professor of pharmacy Dr. Adam Kaye “Education is the foremost strategy. We must educate primary care providers, surgeons, pharmacists, and other health professionals, as well as patients. That education must take place prior to the starting point of opioid therapy — and it needs to be independent of the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacists have a big responsibility for cutting down opioid abuse and deaths, whether it’s Prince or other celebrities or the guy down the street. We have to be part of primary education efforts.”
The article on opioid abuse prevention strategies looked at 3 medical technologies designed to prevent abuse of these drugs. There are physical barriers, sequestered aversion agents, and sequestered opioid antagonists. There are limits for each type of strategy covered, and education can be the most effective way of preventing a patient from abusing this category of drugs. Both physical barriers and sequestered aversion agents can prevent accidental overdose but these will not stop someone intent on abusing the drug if they are motivated to do so. The opioid antagonist method can prevent intentional misuse but it could also result in severe withdrawal symptoms for anyone who is already addicted to these drugs.
Legalization efforts to legalize marijuana for medical and even recreational use have increased considerably in the last decade, but proponents for this drug may not reveal all of the true facts about pot. Driving under the influence of marijuana doubles your risk of a car crash and slows down your reaction time. Some statistics cite that 10% of daily users of cannabis will become dependent on this drug, and a very small percentage of the population could develop a severe and life threatening reaction to the drug which requires emergency medical treatment. Teens who use marijuana on a regular basis are also twice as likely to quit school before they graduate, and they have double the risk of developing psychosis or experiencing cognitive impairment as adults.
The marijuana legalization efforts are led by people who believe that the use of a natural plant should not be criminalized, and this may be a valid point. Instead of being arrested and criminally prosecuted marijuana use should be treated as the substance abuse that it is, with the individual receiving health and treatment instead of a criminal record. A number of advocates for marijuana point out that alcohol kills people every year while marijuana use has never caused a single death, but for those addicted to this drug it can ruin their life and create a constant state of chaos just like any other form of substance abuse. Medical use and recreational use are two different things and these should not be lumped in the same category.