What Addicts NEED! A Cover Story by Newsweek!

Regardless of which side of the fence your thinking lies, this is an interesting article about the possible medical advances to aid in the fight against the disease of addiction.  Increased awareness, research and education around the disease of addiction is both welcomed and much needed! 

Newsweek – Mar 3, 2008 issue

COVER STORY: SCIENCE

      

What Addicts Need

      

       

Addiction isn’t a weakness; it’s an illness. Now vaccines and other new drugs may change the way we treat it.

Annie Fuller
knew she was in trouble a year ago, when in the space of a few hours
she managed to drink a male co-worker more than twice her size under
the table. Of course, she’d been practicing for a quarter of her life
by then; at 47, she was pouring a pint of bourbon, a 12-pack of beer
and a couple of bottles of wine into her 115-pound body each day. She
had come to prefer alcohol to food, sex or the company of friends and
loved ones. Her marriage had ended; she had virtually stopped leaving
the house, except to work and to drink. Fuller had tried and failed
enough times over the years to know that she would not be able to sober
up on her own. The last time she’d stopped drinking her body went into
violent seizures, a common and terrifying symptom of alcohol
withdrawal. But the single mother and mortgage-company VP refused to
sign into rehab. "I live in a small town," she says. "And when you go
to a hospital for something like that, everybody knows about it." So
when a family doctor told her about Vivitrol,
a monthly injection that prevents patients from drinking alcohol by
obliterating its ability to intoxicate, Fuller agreed. She took a
sabbatical from work, sent her 15-year-old daughter to stay with
relatives and hunkered down to weather the painful, frightening
blizzard of detoxification in the comfort of her own living room.
         

What
does it mean to be an addict? For a long time the answer was that
someone like Fuller "lacked willpower," a tautology that is pretty much
useless as a guide to treatment. In the current jargon of the recovery
movement, addiction to alcohol, drugs or nicotine is a
"bio-psycho-social-spiritual disorder," a phrase that seems to have
been invented by the treatment industry to emphasize how complex the
problem is and how much more funding it deserves. But the word itself
comes from the Latin addictus, a debtor who was indentured to
work off what he owed; someone addicted to alcohol or drugs is
powerless over his or her fate in the same way—except
debtors-as-addicts can never fully balance the books. It had been years
since the pleasure of drinking outweighed the pain it caused Fuller.
Looked at that way, the "social" and "spiritual" aspects of her problem
seem insignificant compared with the contribution of biology. If you
weigh advances in neuroscience over the last few decades against social
and spiritual progress, it’s clear which field is more likely to
produce the next breakthrough in treatments.

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