On addiction Part 2 – Basic definitions

Mikky Locke
Slave Lake, Alberta

Before I start I need to clarify some basic work and definitions.
Drug: Under law, a drug is any substance (other than food or device) intended to affect the structure and/or the function of the body. One example of a device is a plastic heart valve.
Drug Abuse: Excessive and persistent use of a mind-altering substance without medical need. Examples include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, barbituates, heroin, fentanyl, etc. Because of their mood-altering properties, psychoactive drugs are the most abused of all drugs. The word “psychoactive” means having a powerful effect on thinking, mood or behavior.
Disease: An abnormal condition of the body that causes destruction that makes it abnormal and unhealthy, unsound or disordered to the point of death. What about illness? The medical dictionary says it means “sickness of the mind or a sick condition, an unhealthy, unsound or abnormal state resulting in suffering, distress, harm and death.”
Drug Dependency: A pathological relationship of a person to a mood altering chemical substance, a psychoactive drug, in expectation of a rewarding experience.
Addiction: Be it chemical dependency, compulsive gambling, eating disorders or sexual addictions. It is a compulsive activity that results in an overwhelming relationship to that activity resulting in the disease of the whole person both body and soul.
Drug Treatment: We are not talking about giving a drug like penicillin for an ear ache or chemo for cancer. Treatment for drug dependency deals with the whole person and a permanent attention is involved.
Opiate: Any drug containing or derived from opium.
Opioid: Any synthetic narcotic not derived from opium.
Whole Person?
In order to explain what happens when people have problems it seems necessary to first understand what makes us tick when healthy. The explanation lies in what is called “life powers,” meaning the naming and describing what it is that human beings are all about.
The powers we have are:
Spiritual – one that gives us the ability to develop personal moral and religious values and to apply them to our behavior.
Mental – gives us the ability to function in areas of intellect, imagination, and memory.
Emotional – this power gives us the ability to experience feelings, going toward good and avoiding evil.
Physical – this power, the ability to experience pleasure and pain, comfort and discomfort, tension and relaxation, etc.
Social – this one gives us the ability to function in relationships – individual, groups and communities.
Volitional – a power that humans have to accept reality and chose our actions and goals and direct them.
Mood altering chemicals have the power to alter our powers.
Detox Centre – The focus is on the withdrawal process of the drugs. A medical dictionary says that withdrawal symptoms begin anywhere between two to five days, and can last up to 10 days.
Treatment Centre – May be private or government controlled. It involves group and individual sessions. They are designed in order that the patient makes his own diagnosis and help that patient to decide what he wants for normal, and then how to get there.


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