Sunday, October 12, 2008

Addiction Made Simple

There are several reasons why people use drugs [recreation, fun, peer pressure] but there is only one reason why people continue to use drugs and become addicted [mental illness].

For example, two people start using drugs, one of them stops and the other continues to use and becomes addicted to the drug. Why does one become addicted? Because the addicted person had a mental illness, anxiety, or a lack of coping skills to begin with the other did not.

If an addict stops using the drug the brain will eventually heal itself from the [addiction] but the mental illness will still need to be treated...

Psychiatrists normally treat the addiction first, then the mental illness. I wonder what would happen if you treated the mental illness first and then the addiction?


Fractalmom said...

I think maybe if you treated the mental illness before the using started, the addition would never take hold.

i think if you try to treat the mental illness before the addiction, it won't work.

i think you have to get them clean before you can start the treatment for the mental illness. problem is....unless the mental illness can be managed with appropriate medication while being treated, most will continue to use.

confusing isn't it?

My Daughter's Addiction said...

confusing...yet it makes perfect sense to me. :)

Annette said...

I have gone round and round about this very issue...kind of like the chicken and the egg. Which came first? The addiction or the mental illness? Personally I am leaning toward the mental illness and the addiction being a symptom of the mental illness. We have worked so hard at treating the addiction, so now, if we can get a hold of her again, I want to offer treatment for the mental illness aspect and see if they gets her anywhere.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but this is so ignorant and so wide spread misinformation and I am sick of it.

Not all drug users, not all drug addicts either, have a "mental illness"... many do, like nondrug users, but by no means all. Many of them simply like to do drugs.

If heroin were legal it would be nearly harmless. Opium addicts a hundred years ago functioned fine, they helped build this country, especially the railroads... the reason addicts fall into crime now is to support an ILLEGAL habit. Make it legal, problem solved.

Many addicts are driven insane by a society that forces them to do dangerous things like steal (to pay black market prices), use dirty needles (because many places still don't have needle exchanges), be locked into prisons for ridiculously small amounts of drugs, into using needles daily (before drug laws, needle use was occasional... most drank or smoked opiates because they were reasonably priced and didn't require stealing and prostitution to acquire), and ODing/being poisoned because the purity and sterility of black market drugs is uncertain.

I am sorry that your daughter is in this situation. But the drugs aren't the problm, the drug laws are. If you really want to help her and other addicts, stop spreading the word about Suboxone and start spreading the word of drug law reform. I am tired of people I love dying of AIDS and Hep-C, being locked up for decades for a gram of tar, and ODing on black-market heroin... all just because they prefer opiates to alcohol, America's drug of choice.

Enough is enough.

Of course, you'll probably just delete this comment without a thought because it doesn't conform to the belief system that the US industrial-prison complex has pounded away into your head for 100 years. Too bad for you. Too bad for your daughter. Too bad for all drug users dead, in prison, or head there. Hopefully she won't be one of them, but if she is, you have only your government to blame.

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Dear Anonymous-I would never delete your comment...all comments are welcome here because I don't walk around with blinders on. I want to know how everyone thinks about heroin addiction.

I think that mental illness could be a cause for addiction just based on the fact that I smoke cigarettes. I enjoy cigarettes but obviously there is something wrong with me mentally [mental illness such as anxiety or the inability to cope in general without my cigarettes]...That's what I based my opinion on...the fact that the addiction must be -first: a love and -second: an axiety to be without it. I'd like to throw them down just as a heroin addict deep down inside wants to stop using.

If the government made heroin legal today wouldn't it be the same as oxycodone...Some of my family members are prescribed oxy's for back injuries...when they run out they go looking for seboxone, vicatin, anything they can find to get them through until they get their next prescription. They call me asking for percocets, vicatin, etc. What's the difference between running out of oxycodone and running out of heroin? There both opioids...and to me if you don't need it for pain then you shouldn't take them. But that's just me...but don't let anyone take my cigarettes :)

I'm afraid it wouldn't be like a 100 years ago would be today...everyone struggling just to survive-going through the same thing my family members go through each month with their prescribed opiods...the fear of running out.

I read somewhere that 80 percent of the nation's half million heroin users are not hardcore addicts, they use on and off. I know some smokers like that...they only smoke when they drink. I'm not that way...I smoke everyday.

I don't want my daughter to be addicted to heroin or cigarettes. I want her to be free...go to college and live her life without mind altering, unhealthy substances...I want her to be happy not tied to a drug. That's what I want for her but in the end it's her choice.

What would the world be like if heroin was legal? What about the 20% hard core users? Would they be able to afford the prescriptions?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you taking the post seriously. I also apologize for it being hostile in tone, I was angry about other stuff unrelated... that said, I am still adamant that enough is enough. Misinformation helps no one. And your post is chalk full of misinformation. You DO walk around with blinders on; blind spots are by definition points we can't see.

So a point by point:

1) You don't have a mental illness b/c you want cigarettes. You have an addiction. Your comment that no cigarette = anxiety = mental illness is not based in any reality. How do you get from B to C? I see a choice to smoke that weighs beneftits vs. risks and chooses to smoke. (Legal)heroin has far less risks than tobacco: don't believe me? Look it up.

2) "...just as a heroin addict deep down inside wants to stop using."

Says who? I no longer use heroin, but it has NOTHING to do with not wanting to get high... it's about not wanting to go to prison. I don't use drugs because the penalties are severe and my love for opiates doesn't outweigh my love for family, career, freedom, etc... I suspect that if cigarette had 10-year minimum sentences for possession of a pack, you and many others might reconsider smoking. Some would not, and some of them would go to prison. Ultimately, this has nothing to do with whether cigs should or shouldn't be illegal; drug laws have little to do with the actual risks invovled, merely (mis)perceptions of them. Besides, I'd rather make my own choices, thank you big government.

3) "if the government made heroin legal today wouldn't it be the same as oxycodone?"

No, b/c oxycodone is not legal. It is on schedule II of the controlled substance act along with crystal meth. Possession without impossible-to-get-unless-you-have terminal-cancer script is punishable by harsh prison sentences.

4) "anything they can find to get them through until they get their next prescription."

Who said anything about a prescription? Do you have a cigarette RX script? A rum and coke script?

5) "There (sic) both opioids...and to me if you don't need it for pain then you shouldn't take them. But that's just me..."

Yes, it is just you. An arbitrary and personal moral opinion. Problem is, your moral opinion puts people like your daughter in prisons. I will care about your opinion and drug of choice preference when you are the one persecuted and imprisoned for your preference. Until then, I choose to fight for the "hard" drug addicts' rights.

6) "I'm afraid it wouldn't be like a 100 years ago would be today...everyone struggling just to survive-going through the same thing my family members go through each month with their prescribed opiods...the fear of running out."

No, it WOULD be like a 100 years ago today if it were legal. Do you spend all day preoccupied with "cigarette seeking behavior"? No, you walk to the Circle K or 7-11, shell out $5 (most of which is sin tax) and then go to work.

7) "What would the world be like if heroin was legal? What about the 20% hard core users? Would they be able to afford the prescriptions?"

Terms like hard core user don't mean anything. Heroin is not like alcohol; it doesn't impair you as much in gneeral, can be taken in maintenance doses, and is nontoxic (look it up).

And again, who said scripts? All estimates on price of legal heroin traded on the free market place it at pennies on the dollar of what it costs now. A $120 a day habit would easily drop to a $2 a day a habit... and I guess, given sin taxes on top, heroin would end up costing about the same as alcohol does. Think about what it is... sap from a poppy with minimal processing a High School chemist can do. Do you really think it costs $150 a gram for poppy plant extracts? The current price is b/c of the black market, nothing else.

8) "without mind altering, unhealthy substances..."

Who says it is unhealthy? Heroin, unlike cigarettes and alcohol, is nontoxic. If taken orally (as it was when prices were low and not run up by illegal trade) from a legal source, the only problems you would have would be constipation (thanks Pepto-Bismol)and maybe a tendency for respiratory infection in a few susceptible people (not even proven). Not exactly major health risks, huh? Addiction itself is only a problem when someone cuts off your supply... but as a smoker, you know this.

9) "I want her to be free"

Me too... so you should support drug law reform also.

10) "What would the world be like if heroin was legal?"

About the same, with less crowded prisons, about at least a 70% reduction in property crimes, and less addicts ODing on drug adulterants like quinine and unexpectedly-pure drugs. Alcohol is SO SO SO MUCH worse for you, impairs your ability to drive, causes brain damage, nerve damage, liver damage, on and on. Has society collapsed with its legalization? No. Legal heroin has none of these problems to boot. Did we learn nothing from Prohibition? 90+ years of failed policies seems to suggest we haven’t.

11) "That's what I want for her but in the end it's her choice."

No, it's the prosecutor's choice if she gets caught. Or if you live where I do, it’s the mandatory minimum sentence’s choice… and it tends to be pretty inflexible on these matters...

So let's change the laws.

Thanks for listening; obviously this is a subject that means a lot to me.

Fractalmom said...

1. Agreed. I do NOT believe Heroin addiction is a mental illness. I believe it is a choice which then very quickly becomes a non choice because you get addicted.

2. I have never met a heroin addict (including my daughter) who did NOT love the heroin. That's why they got addicted. The only thing that stops SOME of them is the fear of a. Death, b. Prison, and C. they finally just get too tired of the whole junkie scene.

3. Agreed, up to a point.

4. N/A (not applicable LOL, or no opinion on this one)

5. Everyone has an opinion on that.

6. don't care either way.

7. Disagree for the following reasons.

Heroin, although it CAN be taken in maintenance doses, would NOT be taken in maintenance doses by hard core addicts. Most addicts would just continue to shoot up whatever/however much they could get. To the exclusion of all else. They would just have more time to do it.

Secondly, any government regulation pr legalization or decriminalization would necessarily have rules and regs. Those rules and regs would also include most certainly, 'maintenance amounts, or safe amounts or government approved amounts, or some such shit.

And, the junkies would then go out and do the same freakin things they do now to get more than the government allows them to have. See various European countries where heroin is, in fact, legal and they STILL have a drug problem with junkies in particular. For that matter, they have a drug problem in Afghanistan or hadn't you been informed of that?

And, heroin DOES impair you. It's very dangerous for instance, to drive while under the influence of heroin. Usually, when people drive, it is a really good idea to stay awake, something a junkie under the influence has alot of trouble doing.

Babies drown when being bathed by a mother who is under the influence. While certainly, other drugs of choice like alcohol cause children to be killed, cigarettes cause second hand smoke..why add to it by making it socially and legally acceptable?

Decriminalizing drugs, in my opinion, would only slightly decrease the incidence of crime associated with the drug, and not help the junkie out a whole lot either.

The evidence is against it. Sorry.

And, I have never thought, nor will I ever be convinced that heroin addiction is a mental illness. I maintain it is a lifestyle choice and a bad one, as indicated in my blog over and over.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

How can you not agree up to a point that Oxy is illegal. It IS illegal with no script.

Your "facts" are simply wrong.

Yes, if there was a limit on the amount you could get, there would still be crime to get more. But this is not what I am advocating, you're arguing against something other than what I propose. I don't see why you see it as inherently "necessary" to force limits... there was no limit on opiate purchase prior to the Harrison Narctoic Act and there is no limit on quantity of alcohol you can buy now... your assertion that it must be regulated is based in no fact.

Why just add to the costs of smoking and alcohol? Because it is the just and right thing to do. Govern yourself, not me.

I could also say, why don't we just remove the cost of the smokers and drinkers too? Then we could put you in jail... smoking problem solved. Seems silly and unjust, no? That's how heroin users feel; only for them it is real.

I know driving on heroin impairs you, but not to the point of alcohol. Regardless it is moot... that is why "driving while nodding" should still be illegal. If the crime is intoxicated driving, charge DWI, not posession. That is like banning cars because people might drink and drive... makes no sense.

I disagree about the maintenace doses.... again, losts of people did it before (and do it now). Likely you would see people doing maintencance while they go to work, and coming home and doing extra to get high at night. Will everyone do this? NO. A few will screw off life to get high (as a few do with alcohol now, but not means a majority or even close to it). So what? It is their choice to shit off life, but why should we punish all for the acts of a few? Especially when those acts are personal choices with only personal consequences.

Legal in Europe? Wrong. Show me where it is on an open free market like alcohol. Nowhere. Britan has trials where they give some addicts free heroin... they HAVE been shown to function better in society. Give all they want to all users, crime goes away.

And whenever I hear this argument from parents of addicts I'm always reminded of how annoyed I get with NIMBYism, a related practice. "Yes, drugs should be illegal, users and dealers sent to jail.. oh, but not MY addicted daughter. Those 'bad ones" only..." Do you really think your daugther belongs in prison? If caught, she will go there. How can you support that law?

You refuse to look at the issue without bias.

Fractalmom said...

First Anon, let me clear up a few things. One, I am NOT the author of this blog, my blogs are located at


. There. cleared that up.

Second, I do NOT suffer from Nimbyism. Yes, I do, in fact, think my daughter belongs in jail. For many many many years. She fucked up the lives of numerous people to fuel her own little sick fucking addiction. She lied, stole from family and ignored her children. Personally, at one time, I wished her dead. Now, I fail to care enough whether she lives or dies.

I can easily support that law. Heroin is destructive to most people who use it. I want them all locked up and off the streets. Dealers, users, facilitators, I don't care who they are. Lock them all up. Fence off the four square states and put them all there and give them unlimited heroin and let them all shoot themselves up to death.

Works for me.

Heroin kills. Either slowly or fast, either way, it kills. Making it legal would just entice more and more kids to try it, just like cigarettes and alcohol. I smoke and drink, but wouldn't hesitate one bit to stop if they make them illegal. Wouldn't care either.

Responsible society needs certain limits. Responsible people accept them.

I have known only ONE functioning junkie in my entire life. I was a child of the sixties and an original haight ashbury hippie.

Junkies do not function. Their families are either on welfare or being stolen from. They do not function in society well, unless they are a rock star or in advertising or writing, or some other type of situation where their 'problem' is covered up and excused.

Junkies don't contribute a whole lot.

And again, yes, I would lock my daughter up for life.

My Daughter's Addiction said...

You're absolutely right...after ten years of that crap...I don't think I could handle it...

Found a couple of links on addiction / mental illness...

Anonymous said...

Fractal Mom, Okay, well, when you call the cops on her, I will believe you...

It is obvious you refuse to look at facts and will only believe what you want to belive, so forget you, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

If you are totally unwiling to look at the problem and separate the effect of heroin from the effects of heroin being illegal, fine suit yourself. But this is the heart of everything you see as wrong with it... take away the forced criminal lifestyle, heroin is nothing.

Legal tobacco and legal alcohol do far more damage than legal opiates would because they are actually bad for you; heroin is not. Except for mixing it with other drugs, or getting poisioned by fillers (from it being illegal), you really have to have a death wish to overdose on heroin. Trust me, I know.

Anyway, people like you won't bother to look at facts; you are morally entrenched, so just forget it... you can go back to your seat of moral superiority, shored up with the "facts" that are so obviosuly not in tune with any reasonable look at reality. Whatever.

Heroin is destructive to most people who use it because the US persecutes them. It was destructive to be a Christian in the Roman Empire... is that the Christians fault?

How about rather than do your lock up scenario, we release them the way you have (aritrarily) released alcoholics and smokers and let them be. That YOU supposedly could quit smoking has no fucking bearing on anything... that doesn't cange the fact that a law that sent people to prison for smoking would be wrong, regardless of whether or not you are Wonder Woman of Wil Who Can Quit Anytime (but don't ask me to now).

Like with sex-ed, abstinence may be best, but if kids are going to have sex, lets give them condoms. Or at least not infect them with HIV on their way to sex prison.

Anyway, forget you; you are closeminded and probably too busy thinking up your counter post to actually consider anything I say. Don't bother, I only debate thing with people willing to listen and consider fact over rhetoric.

And you don't have to call the police on your daughter. People like you already ruined her life, so don't bother.

Fractalmom said...

Anon, ooooops too late. I already did call the cops on my own daughter.

and sadly, it didn't help.

And, also sadly, you are wrong about it being harmless. Not to the unborn it isn't.

See, that's the problem, and why I wouldn't even mind outlawing alcohol or tobacco.

I do in fact know what I am talking about, because I have three grandchildren who were born the babies of a junkie.

and as to 'people like me already ruined her life"

That, more than anything proves you are still a junkie, who suffers from 'junkie mentality' because SHE is the one who ruined her life, not me, not you, not the laws, not society.

Conversation now ended.