A common perception in our society is that substance abusers have a weak personality or lack moral judgement. However, according to research accumulated in the past decades, the combination of biology and social environment accounts for a major part of addiction. According to Nora Volkov, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance addiction is “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” Substance abuse treatment currently focuses on both biological and psychological aspects of addiction in a way that may be impossible to do individually.
The initial period of using harmful substances often make one feel euphoric and empowered. However, one soon finds out that he/she needs to constantly increase the dosage and frequency of drugs use to obtain the same pleasurable effect. Eventually the urge for the drug becomes so great that it takes over one’s life. This is not the result of a weak personality or a lack of moral judgement – research shows that drug use reduces activity in brain areas related to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Thus the addict has biologically less control over his / her actions. Another source of influence is the immediate environment, which is often unwilling or unable to give an addict the framework he/she need to quit. In order to stop substance abuse and maintain abstinence, it is crucial to have a supporting environment.
At Advanced Human Services, we address addiction on a biological, psychological and social levels. Our treatment is focused on each individual’s difficulties and includes detoxification and group and individual therapy sessions. We provide a supporting environment and address each individual’s needs.