In order to understand why outpatient detox for drug addicts and alcoholics rarely gives satisfactory results, we have to review a couple of things about addiction.
Addiction is a compulsion to use a substance or behavior to alter the way we feel. However, it is more than that: it is a physical and emotional way of living our lives that, over time, becomes ingrained and seems to be the normal way to live. Addiction makes changes in our brains that cause us to believe that we need the drug or mood-altering experience — be it a prescription medication like Xanax, an illegal drug such as heroin, multiple sex partners, alcohol (the most commonly-abused drug of all), or something else. We believe that we need it to feel normal, to be comfortable — to live — and every time we try to get the monkey off our backs we have those beliefs reinforced by the discomfort of withdrawal.
Living like this for long periods, we begin to view it as normal. No creature willingly goes from situations that seem normal into those that seem different [Read more…]