Episode 20

Addictions – What you Need to Know


May 3rd, 2019

33 mins 30 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

How extensive are addictive behaviours? Stats Canada (2003) found that addiction affects men and woman of all ages but that men are affected at a rate of 2-3 times higher than women. The highest use was found to be in people aged 15 to 24. Researchers found that 2.6 percent of Canadians were dependent on alcohol and fewer than 1 percent were dependent on illegal drugs (Addiction An Information Guide, CAMH, 2010) In the presentation by Dr. Marilyn Herie, viewers will learn about alcohol and drug addictions and how people with these problems have many factors that impact their disease. She will describe various types of drug abuse and the possible consequences associated with potentiation. Dr. Herie covers the impact of stigma, guilt and shame, ambivalence about changing, and uncertainty about the process of recovery. Questions for Further Consideration: Dr. Herie speaks about language when referring to the individual with an addiction. For many, this might put a different perspective on this disease. What stereotypes have you had about addictions and how has this video changed your beliefs? Referring to the individual first versus the disease puts an emphasis that we are speaking about people who have an issue. They are not the disease. Understanding that not only are there peer and cultural influences, genetics, difficulties during childhood, mental health issues and individual coping strategies that contribute to addiction can perhaps help us see the person first. We need to recognise that pre-conceived beliefs with little understanding of the underlying issues can influence distress line workers’ ability to be sensitive and empathetic to these callers. It is a good idea to reflect on your beliefs and if necessary, seek support from your training coordinator regarding how they might impact call taking. Addictions can impact an individual in many different ways. Have you considered some of the resulting issues that are related to addiction? Some common consequences of severe, long-lasting addiction include: family breakdown, unemployment, homelessness, imprisonment, permanent health damage, and death through overdose or suicide. Call-takers should become aware of these issues and have access to possible community supports to which they can be referred. Some callers to distress lines may be family members who also live with the impact of addictions. Have you considered how these folks are coping with the problems linked to having a loved one who has an addiction? Family members may avoid talking about the problem or express their feelings about what they are dealing with everyday. They often hide the addiction from the community so may attend fewer social activities that include extended family or friends. They often take on responsibilities neglected by the person with the addiction which may result in increased burden of caring for their family, resentment, frustration, and anger. Family members might reach out to a distress line for unloading their fears, pain, guilt, and isolation. Glossary Addiction: chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and uses, despite harmful consequences Compulsive behaviour disorder: an alternative description of a behavioural addiction. There is disagreement about whether behaviour can become an addiction. Concurrent disorders: a term used when a person has both a substance-related disorder and a mental disorder. Dependence: sometimes used to mean “addiction.” Psychological dependence occurs when a person feels he or she needs a drug to function or feel comfortable. Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body has become used to the presence of a drug. Dual diagnosis: a term used when a person has both a mental health disorder and an intellectual disability. Impulse control disorder: an alternative description of a behavioural addiction. There is disagreement about whether a behaviour can become an addiction. Relapse: a return to an activity one has tried to stop or to a condition one has tried to change. Tolerance: a sign of physical dependence; the body needs more of a substance to get the desired effect. Withdrawal: a sign of physical dependence; physical effects such as tremors, headache or nausea occur when use of a substance is reduced or stopped. DSM5 Diagnosis of Addiction Criteria: (2 or more within a 12 month period) Failure to fulfill major obligations at school, work or home Recurrent use in physically hazardous situations Persistent social/interpersonal problems Tolerance Withdrawal Larger amounts or for longer period than intended Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down/control Time spent in obtaining, using or recoveringImportant activities given up or reduced Continued use despite knowing that physical or psychological problems will become worse or were caused Craving, strong desire or urge Symptoms of Withdrawal: Alcohol - anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, tremors, agitation, sweating, seizure Cocaine - exhaustion, sleepiness, hunger, craving, depression, unhappiness Opiates - anxiety, insomnia, cramps, nausea, sweating, diarrhea, spasms/aches Benzodiazepines - anxiety, insomnia, seizures, muscle tension, psychosis