Alcoholism and recovery has been one of mankind’s greatest quandaries for much longer than we have history written down in any book. For centuries, alcoholics were locked up in insane asylums or prisons and given no hope of recovery. Alcoholics were often branded as immoral, valueless men – the scourge of society.
In the early 1930s, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, along with a handful of others, put together a book about a proven method to help the alcoholic stop drinking. Prior to this time, alcoholism was considered virtually incurable. This book, simply called Alcoholics Anonymous, brought the difficulties of the alcoholic to the public’s attention and posed an alternate theory: Alcoholism wasn’t a mental disorder nor a moral one.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob were right. As we’re finding out more and more in addiction science, addiction to any substance is a chronic brain disease. Furthermore, we’re now understanding that all addictions – chemical or otherwise – are basically the same disease. To that end, treatment centers are now offering programs for internet addiction.
Addiction medicine is a very new science, but one that has been heavily studied in recent years. Doctors and psychiatrists that have been looking for the magic anti-alcoholism pill or the genetic mutation that causes addiction have come up empty-handed. We do know that a full plan of treatment and follow-up care, including active engagement in recovery activities by the alcoholic, enable ongoing, progressive recovery and hope for a rewarding, successful future.
Dr. Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA is president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and an addiction medicine specialist in Rhode Island. Dr. Gitlow explains the problem, the cause, and the solution in addiction medicine in the following article. Read and enjoy.
Read the article here: Addiction: It’s Not What You Think
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