Addiction: Purpose, Defined, and Approaches

Why is it important to treat addiction?

It is important to treat addiction, whether drugs, alcohol or other additions such as eating disorders. Addiction shouldn’t address the mere use of or abuse of the subject at hand but rather the whole person. When treating substance abuse we want to look at the client’s history, environmental factors (friends, family, living conditions, community, housing, employment, etc), cognitive thinking, support elements, and mental abilities. In addition addiction, in particular, continues to grow amongst Americans as a major problem within the country. The former president Donald Trump has stated that the opioid situation is an ongoing epidemic that must be combated. This is in large part not only to illegal drug use, but also the growing abuse of prescribed medications that Americans are becoming addicted to. It is important to note that before the development of a client’s addiction they were functional parts of society that contributed to the community in some fashion (“Importance of Drug Addiction Treatment,” n.d.). We should also note that none set out in their lives to succumb to these addictive behaviors. This is why it is so important that we help those with addiction, so they can go back to living their previous lives. Through treatment, a client can gain confidence, coping skills, support groups, and the ability to manage their lives as close to it was before the abuse.

One of the greatest reasons to conduct drug addiction treatment is to assess environmental factors and educate the client on what factors surround them. A client that is educated on how their family perceives them whether positive or negative, will aid in determining if they are suitable as a support member in their recovery. In addition, we should determine if the family members are abusing drugs as well, if so we need to bring to light to the client that though they may be loved ones they will not assist properly in their recovery. A person living with family members that are abusing substances will more than likely lead to a return to substance abuse. In turn, we should look at the client’s friends to determine if they are involved with substance abuse as well. Just like family, the client must understand the relationship he has with his friends may fester continue substance abuse if they are using as well. Though some may have compassion and understanding to not engage in abuse around the client, not all will. It is important that we encourage the client to break the cycle which means casting the enabling factors to the wayside side to move forward in recovery

We should also look at how a client’s community can be a leading reason to seek recovery. Though illicit drug abuse is slowly lowering it remains high in low-income areas suffering from disparity. If our client lives in a community whether rural or urban that has a bleak income potential they are more likely to succumb to substance abuse of some type. Even if our clients sought prevention treatment due to the surrounding community, they would be more empowered to look for signs and dangers of abuse. With this said, if our client lives in a low-income community the likelihood of employment is more or less mute. Areas that have shrinking economies which equates to losses in employment give rise to addiction to community members. The New Port Academy has made note that within the United States 1 in 6 unemployed people will abuse some form of substance. This demonstrates a powerful full reason to seek treatment for addiction (Monroe, 2011). Finally, our client needs to receive treatment for substance abuse for a return to cognitive thinking. An individual’s ability to think, act, and respond is greatly reduced over time. The longer the client has used a particular substance the greater reduction in cognitive thinking and the more challenging it becomes to end the abuse and restore proper thinking and reasoning (Gould, 2010). For the aforementioned reason, our clients must seek treatment for their condition. Treatment can provide clarity, a return to proper physical condition, provide self-esteem, confidence, and restored purpose in their life and community (Hasin et al., 2013).

DSM 5 Diagnosis for addiction and how itis defined

In 2013 Psy.D John M. Grohol reported one of the most important updates in what was then the new DSM-5 the significant update in the definition of substance abuse and alcohol abuse, dependence disorders. The importance of this was the removal in distinguishing between what is abuse and dependence. This important change modernizes the DSM to current thinking in the field and treatment practices. In addition the updated DSM-5 addresses criteria for tobacco use disorder which previously was associated with other substance disorders (John M. Grohol, 2013). The DSM-5 identifies multiple addictions that fall under substance use disorders. Each of these disorders is grouped into classes such as Hallucinogens, Alcohol, Caffeine, Inhalants, Cannabis, Sedatives, Opioids, Hypnosis, Anxiolytics, Tobacco, Stimulants, and Potential unknown substance. The DSM-5 acknowledges that all individuals have unique physical make up that varies in vulnerability in developing abusive/ addictive behavior; because each individual is built differently some will have low self-control, poor cognitive thinking, and compulsive behavior which can generate problems for the individual if exposed to any of the classes of substance.

The criteria to qualify with a disorder that involves addictive behavior will involve a slew of possibilities.

  1. Ingesting increasingly larger amounts of any class of substance for longer periods of time
  2. A desire to reduce the use of any such product that has caused addictions or a desire to stop completely.
  3. Increase time to acquire, consume, and recover for any classes of substance.
  4. A desire to use or crave substance.
  5. A reduction in work performance on the job, at home, and school.
  6. Poor relationship problems even when its defined as a result of substance abuse.
  7. Abandonment of social, recreational, or work activities as a result of continued substance abuse.
  8. Continue use even when cause of self-endangerment arises.
  9. Self recognition of mental or physical issue that is known to the user as a direct relation to their abuse.
  10. Increase levels of substance to obtain the same previous high or level of intoxication, uforia, or relief.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms occur and are only relieved by the continuance of abused substance.

The DSM-5 does distinguish the level of severity of the user based on the number of symptoms the client demonstrates. Two to three symptoms are associated with a mild case of substance abuse. Four to five of the symptoms drive a moderate addiction disorder, all else is considered a severe development of substance use disorder (“The Symptoms Used to Diagnose Substance Use Disorders,” n.d.).

Integrative approach and how it is used to help an addiction client become successful.

The integrative approach was established to address clients that maintain a dual or more diagnosis. Patients that maintain mental disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, compulsion, or personality disorders often suffer from some form of substance abuse. Likewise, addicts often suffer from a dual diagnosis (Thomas M. Kelly, 2013). A tentative approach to integrative treatment in substance abuse could be presented through a client that is suffering from bipolar disorder as well as substance abuse. A way forward in treatment would be to address each issue at the same time. We can address substance abuse through motivational therapy and education about the client environmental factors. It would be important to discuss strategies to avoid or alter their surrounding so the environment can foster recovery. While we conduct motivational therapy we can also apply Cognitive Behavior Therapy to address a co-existing disorder such as bipolar disorder. In addition as an additive, we can incorporate the use of pharmaceutical therapy as an additional way to progress through treatment. Medication such as acamprosate to aid in the reduction of alcohol consumption, naltrexone to disengage the receptors that identify with opioids, methylphenidate for reducing the use of cocaine, buprenorphine for aiding at the end of heroin use, and varenicline to help alleviate the use of tobacco (“Drug Addiction Medications: Effective Cure for Substance Abuse,” n.d.).


Drug Addiction Medications: Effective Cure for Substance Abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2019, from Addiction Resource website:

Gould, T. J. (2010). Addiction and Cognition. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 5(2), 4.

Hasin, D. S., O’Brien, C. P., Auriacombe, M., Borges, G., Bucholz, K., Budney, A., … Grant, B. F. (2013). DSM-5 Criteria for Substance Use Disorders: Recommendations and Rationale. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(8), 834.

Importance of Drug Addiction Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2019, from Drug Addiction Treatment website:

John M. Grohol, P. D. (2013, May 21). DSM-5 Changes: Addiction, Substance-Related Disorders & Alcoholism. Retrieved September 7, 2019, from Psych Central Professional website:

Monroe, J. (2011, September 27). Unemployment Rates Increasing the Rate of Teen Drug and Alcohol. Retrieved September 7, 2019, from Newport Academy website:

The Symptoms Used to Diagnose Substance Use Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2019, from Verywell Mind website:

Thomas M. Kelly, D. C. D. (2013). Integrated Treatment of Substance Use and Psychiatric Disorders. Social Work in Public Health, 28(0), 388.

Published by stmd1980

Hi, and thank you for joining me on my new site. Here I want to take time to discuss different aspects of Mental Health that I have observed over the last 17 years. I wanted to use this blog as an opportunity to discuss research, personal experience, and though the comment section have you the reader share your personal experience with mental health either yours or in a support role for your loved ones. Here on this form I will be targeting topic such as personality disorders, Autism, addiction, and other such aspect that effect many of us throughout the course of our lives. It is my hope through sharing information we can learn from each other.

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