The more I hear about addicts the more questions raise in my mind. I understand that a lot of society looks down on addicts, but some people see them as victims also. Is that really fair to put them in that category? Didn't they choose this road for themselves, most of the time? Don't they choose to refuse help when we offer it to them? I understand addiction is a disease, but so is diabeties and heart conditions, all which have doctors and medicine available. Do we feel sorry for people with diabeties who eat only chocolate and miss doctor's appointments? I would love some feedback on this. My mind is clouded wondering if I feel sympathy or anger here. Aren't we supposed to help those that help themselves?
Rosena, How ironic you post this as I was talking to my daughter regarding this over the weekend. It is my opinion in listening to so many at AA and NA that a large percent are suffering from a mental disorder first of varying magnitudes. In addition, the signs of compulsive behavior are evident. Put a mental condition with a compulsive behavior and now add the ingredient (drug) that makes life so easy and simple for the addict for the moment. Society sees disease as something done to the person and addiction as something the person chooses. In a clear headed moment, the addict really doesn't choose the life of addiction, they just can't live in a normal life as we see it. The minute they are sober, life just comes pounding back at them and they revert back to the drug. Again, I stress this is my opinion in dealing with my daughter. My anger goes out to "the system" and the hospitals and the treatment they do not offer to the addict. Also, the lack of knowledge they all share in treating addiction. If I was diabetic and had an attack,they would make sure I was taken care of before releasing me from the ER, the addict is pushed out the door with no followup. It is a vicious cycle.
Speaking of being a diabetic rushed to the hospital and getting proper treatment before being released. How long do you think they would give you 5 star treatment if you returned once a week with the same problem and every indication proved you were seeking no help for yourself or keeping the follow up visits given by the ER staff? I am just trying to put myself in their shoes for a minute, by their shoes I mean the people who have to treat them for this problem, when it is clear they aren't looking for help. Also, when it comes to mental health issues, how can we be sure that the mental health issues aren't sometimes created by drug abuse and only discovered after prolonged abuse? It makes sense to me that if you add chemicals to your brain, you are going to eventually alter its function. I don't disagree that sometimes mental health issues are present before hand, but I think it has become a scape goat for addicts in some cases. Again, feedback on this is so appreciated and this is just my own personal opinion also!
Rosena, you are right about the repeat ER visits where no help is being sought by the addict. I guess I am being a softie as I reflect to last summer about this time I took one of the "boys" to the ER while high on heroin. He has been a long time friend of my two youngest, a great family and great high school student. College got him. I was called to his house and found him in his garage, car running and wanting to die. I explained this to the ER staff, he is suicidal and 7 hours later he was released. In February he died, suicide or OD? I just miss seeing him as all the "boys" are home for the summer from college and he is not here popping his head around the corner telling me Hello. Our daughter was diagnosed with a mental condition first, the drugs appeared later and we were forewarned to watch out for them. I guess each situation has a story. Just needed to write about the "boy" as it is weighing heavy on me right now.
I understand and that is why I post some of the things I post, because you are right. Every situation is different. I not only post in here to get other people thinking, but to help me get a better understanding and help gain empathy. And as Ann has posted in this forum, knowledge is power! I understand what you are saying about "the boy" I just wish sometimes that parents and loved ones of the addicts that people who do love them get tired, so you can only expect those that have no connection to be frustrated, and even angry a lot sooner than those who see them with love.
Ann, Just a note on the follow up care in ER. The crisis center in our area is directly across the street. The facility is for detoxing and from there you will be placed in counseling or Rehab. In order to be admitted to the Crisis Center the addict has to be in physical and visible signs of withdrawal. As we know this usually 24-48 hours after using. The addict by then ,left to their own accord, has used. There is no where for them to go should they want treatment or help unless they are with someone who is concerned about their care and prevents them from using. Once you are finally admitted to the Crisis Center, you do receive excellent followup care and placed in Rehab, outpatient or sober living. It's just getting into the Crisis Center that becomes so difficult for the addict.
Cindykay, sounds like you have a pretty good system where you live. I totally know the waiting game! When they really want help, they have to wait and wait to get into the detox/rehab. Needless to say by then they are using again and don't want help. Endless cycle! Ann
I just want to say that I really believe that we are talking about a disease that most of society does not want to treat as a disease. They want to believe that the drug user can just say NO. Would they really choice to live like that if most of them had a choice. NO they would not. WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE OUR RESEARCH COMMUNITY PUT FINDING A CURE AS A PRIORITY - and not let our friends and community hide the fact that a lot more families are touched by drug abuse than is ever admitted too. Mommy
Mommy, I couldn't agree more! Sad! I mean how in the world can an addict "JUST SAY NO"? I do believe that they have to really want it bad enough to get well, but I also believe society thinks they could just say I think I'll just stop today. I wish there was a separate ER for addictions, they could call it Emergency Rehab! I also wish for a law that required the addict had no choice but to stay (for using illegal drugs) and get clean before shoving them back out into the world. So sad! With love, Ann
Look at the way The System works. An addict can go into a Methadone clinic and receive their dose for free daily with no rehab or counseling required and a new addiction to Methadone. If someone wants to be on Suboxone which has far less addictiveness and fewer side effects, you will have to pay out of pocket at least 400.00-600.00 a month and most Drs require weekly counseling which may or not be covered by Insurance. Insurance states that addiction is a chosen 'habit', as with obesity, and will not be covered. So do they want to stop the addiction? They seem to make it so difficult for the addict to stop.
Cindykay, I was reading back over your daughter's story and all that you have been through. I have your daughter on my heart and will lift her up in prayer along with my son who has been missing for three days. I agree that the system needs to change, even though we know that unless the addict wants to change nothing works.
In an earlier post you mentioned that little is done to dealers in our neighborhoods. I have personally turned them in and nothing ever happened. My son tells me that nothing will ever happen, because the dealers pay the officers so they can keep selling! Who knows? One officer told me that if he arrest someone then he has to fill out a four hour report and they are back on the street selling by morning.
Another thing that makes me furious is the way the dealer's give kids their drugs free to "try", and then when they get hooked they give them more drugs in exchange for the user doing drug runs for them!
Ann, I will pray for you and keep you in my thoughts. I have lived those missing days and nights and held vigil knowing where she was, just not being able to do a thing about it. That is a whole different story. As with all of us, we remain strong and pray and hope. That is what they always told me in NA, just pray. But it is so hard. My daughter's dealer is now offering her free heroin for her silence. We changed her phone number once again. Some days are wonderful and others not so. Stay strong and know that you have support and prayer surrounding you.
I could not agree with you more. WHY cannot a cure be found or at least SOMEHTING other than what is available right now. If there was a cure for addiction we would not need lawyers, judges, courts, hospital psyc wards, rehabs, etc.....think of all those people that would be out of a job! Am I crazy, I don't think so. Or I didn't even mention PRISONS!!! I keep praying that there will be one someday. I hope before it is not to late for my son...
My son has been a heroin addict for a long time. He is 37 years old and is now in jail for stealing to support his habit. He has been in and out of rehabs for 15 years. He needs help. He needs another rehab. Jail doesn't do much when they don't offer real help. He will die on the streets when he gets out if he does not go to get help. He is smart when he is not on drugs. I'm sure you all can say the same about your children. What a waste!! This is a disease. I have said this before but everyone needs to hear that we need help from the medical community. His 2 uncles and 1 aunt are dead from drugs and his parents have never used. What does this tell you?? IT IS A DISEASE AND WE NEED PEOPLE WORKING ON A CURE!
Rosena - yet another interesting topic that gets us thinking.
Ann - I will pray for you and your son also, I know the agony of the "missing days" also but usually by day 2 or 3 he needs money and finds his way home.
I have an 'ex-friend' now who I got into a huge debate on the "is it a disease or a choice" topic - she said if her husband can quit drinking, anyone can, its a choice and she thinks its B.S. saying its a disease, she says no way is it like cancer, its a choice to either use or not use. I had to get up and walk away from the computer (we were emailing) I was so furious. She basically called my husband and son "weak" and said its a cop-out calling it a 'disease' when I told her I was so sad that my son must have inherited this gene from his father. She says "there's no such thing its not hereditary its a choice." Gee I'm so glad she explained it all to me. GRRR
My opinion is that once you are an addict then it is a disease...maybe they don't have the choice to quit or continue, but don't they have the choice to even begin or refrain??
AND, what about the addicts that are given clear, positive opportunities and decide to continue on in their addictions? Aren't they making a choice? Some addicts actually have resources and loved ones constantly providing them with avenues other than addiction. I personally think that saying this is purely a disease, and not holding the addict accountable is a cop out made easy for the addict and the enabler. There is help out there, but the addict doesn't want it, so we make excuses for them, yet still enabling them, and not holding them accountable for their own actions. A person with a cold or flu, seeks help to feel better. A person with diabetis or heart disease seeks help to get better. Why is the addict no different?
I think addiction becomes a disease after they become addicted. I could be wrong, but it seems that certain people and their brain chemistry are more likely to become addicted than others?
Yesterday I read an article from the mayo clinic saying that in addition to individuals who have chronic pain, both cancer and non-cancer related, anesthesiologists have the greatest risk of opioid dependence and abuse among health care providers. Also in the high-risk group for health care providers are nurse anesthetists and sedation nurses. Sounds kinda like it may not be a disease, just a love of the feeling that opioids must give?
Now, they are working on a new similar drug that helps with pain but takes away the euphoric feeling, which would make the desire for taking them go away? Make any sense? Ann
I could be wrong...and may very well be, but it seems to me that WE are always looking for answers to what is going on, along with ways to help, and attaching labels to what is happening...and making excuses for the same. I think that addiction has been around FOREVER, and people see what it is and what it does...so WHY would they start in the first place? I can almost have sympathy for a person who has been in chronic pain and ends up addicted. BUT if a person chooses to pick up drugs, with the intent to GET HIGH...they are choosing addiction. I could be wrong...but this is MY personal opinion.
I agree! I mean if anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists and sedation nurses are at high risk of adddiction. Sounds kinda like it may not be a disease, just a love of the feeling that opioids must give which causes addiction and then becomes a disease? Who knows? Rosena, I hope you had a good weekend. Thinking of you, Donna
Ann/Donna, I had a really good weekend. I think the thing that had me so upset was the fact that even though I have handed the addiction back over to the addict, I was still feeling all the emotions, because the addict is STILL someone I love very much. Just because I FEEL doesn't mean I am weak, and that is how some perceive me when I show emotion over the addiction. I did have a great weekend though, had our wonderful, family, ladies game night on Friday, Saturday took my mom to the movies and Sunday went out with a friend! It was great...even going to the movies tonight with my brother and dad...to see the new horror flick! I must have way too many male hormones because I would rather see a horror than a chick flick anyday! I might just be conditioned after raising four sons alone! I was outnumbered!