This addictive disorder is also called “chemical addiction”. These are drug addiction, alcoholism, and substance abuse.
Although it seems that the essence of such a disorder lies in the abuse of psychoactive substances (substances), in fact, the compulsive use of psychoactive substances itself is only one of the symptoms of this disorder, which can also be observed in people who are not chemically dependent. Whereas the absence of this symptom, and the ability for long-term remissions, does not mean the absence of chemical dependence, or that it cannot be diagnosed.
Other symptoms of this disorder, most specialists and scientists include: an observed increase in tolerance to psychoactive substances, loss of control over the amount of substance use, loss of situational control in the state of use, progressive loss of choice of time and place of substance use (continuation of use despite negative consequences), withdrawal syndrome (withdrawal syndrome), an increasing focus on the use of psychoactive substances and the provision of opportunities for this, and, very importantly, psychosomatic discomfort in abstinence (i.e., in abstinence, out of use, in “dry sobriety” – abstinence without recovery, without therapy).
Moreover, the last symptom is obviously present in a chemically dependent person even before the start of the use of mind-altering substances, from early childhood. And this symptom, largely unconscious, suppressed and denied by the patients themselves (more on that below).
It should be noted that, often, during the first decade of the development of these destructive manifestations (symptoms) of the disease, they can be determined by the dependent person rather than by surrounding people or specialists. Thus, the most accurate diagnosis in this disorder is a self-diagnosis, by the addict himself. But, due to another, very important symptom of this disease – anosognosia (an uncritical attitude to one’s condition, thanks to psychological protection – denial) – this does not happen for a long time. And due to the lack of understanding of the problem by relatives and specialists who are trying to “help”, often the recognition of the disease by addicts does not occur until the most painful death from it.
Relatives of the addict have been aiding, saving or raping a sick relative for years, alternating these ineffective tools, without seriously understanding the issue. And the longer it all goes on, the less likely it is. But there are also many “specialists” (including in narcology) who do not help a person with a progressive disease but make “lotions and poultices”, in the form of detoxes, antidepressants, tranquilizers, droppers, or charlatanism in general, like encodings, blocking, programming or violence.
Many world experts in the field of addict ology recognize this disorder as genetically determined, despite the definition from the ICD-10 classification, which implies that a person develops this disorder as a result of substance abuse. Chemical dependence is also defined as a “multifactorial disease”**. The main factors in the formation of chemical dependence are recognized:
1) Genetic predisposition to chemical dependence (inherited features of the biochemistry of the brain and internal organs),
2) Psychological characteristics of the personality, which are formed under the influence of the personal characteristics of the parents (in part, also inherited by the child), as well as in the infant, child and even prenatal periods of development and further, under the influence of society (primarily – the microsociety – the family),
3) The social and sociocultural context of the child’s growing up (from the family and the kindergarten to the macrosociety and what is called “modern mores”).
Moreover, the location of these factors is higher, corresponds to their significance for the formation of chemical dependence – without a genetic predisposition, according to a large number of experts, its formation is simply impossible (here, for example, the difference between “alcoholism” and “drunkenness”), and on the other hand, the conditions in society close to ideal, are not a guarantee that a person will not die, as a result, from drug addiction, for example. However, despite the incurability, in the medical sense of chemical dependence, the presence of a healthy, functional environment (primarily in the family) gives quite a good chance of a quick exit from the destructive aspects of addiction into a sober, effective life; as well as with other incurable diseases, with timely diagnosis and reasonable therapy. What (functional family, with a sober look at the problem),
In addition to the fact that chemical dependence has bio-psycho-social factors as its prerequisites, it, in turn, destroys all these areas, or, to put it differently, affects the personality of a person at the biological, mental and social level.
It should also be noted that many experts identify another factor in the formation of addiction, which is not within the competence of psychology and, moreover, medicine – this is the spiritual component of the personality. At the same time, often, this factor is not simply put on a par with the others, but is affirmed as fundamental. This aspect is difficult to study within the framework of secular science, if at all it can somehow enter the scope of issues discussed by science, but, nevertheless, is recognized by many as extremely necessary in addiction therapy. In addition, the objective reality of the success of the Commonwealths working on the 12 Step program, called the “spiritual program”, confirms the effectiveness of this element in therapy.
Therefore, American psychiatric clinics in the State of Minnesota, at the end of the forties of the twentieth century, decided to adopt elements (philosophy) of the “12 Steps” into their programs, which marked the beginning of the creation of almost all really working programs for the rehabilitation of addicts all over the world.