Breaking Addiction – A 7 Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction by Lance Dodes, MD

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According to Dr. Lance Dodes, our current treatment model for addiction is ineffective.  In many cases, people are sent to programs that deal with addiction only and then sent to a different program to treat their mental health issues.  This fragmented treatment plan ignores the fact that addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Addiction persists, because it serves a purpose.  The addictive behavior is often intended to reverse a profound feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.  Addressing those feelings is key to treating addiction.

The drive behind addiction tends to be rage and feelings of being trapped.  This rage compounds the feelings of helplessness, so addiction becomes a displaced action.  Addiction is a symptom of deeper psychological problems.

The book lists seven steps for overcoming addiction.

Step 1 – Understand addiction as behavior driven by psychological/emotional distress

Step 2 – Addictions are compulsive behaviors and need to be treated through therapy which allows the person to gain a better understanding of themselves.

Step 3 – Recognize key moments in the addiction processes.  The thoughts and feelings that drive addictive behavior are clues to the cause and treatment options for the addictive behavior.

Step 4 – Recognize your defenses that hide the root cause of your addiction.  Look for the feelings and thoughts that are driving you.

Step 5 – Understand what is happening at the key moment, what’s the trigger.  What are the corresponding feelings that make you feel helpless or powerless?

Step 6 – Develop short-term strategies to deal with triggers and emotional distress.  Ask yourself why you are thinking about your addiction and look for alternative behaviors.  Restore feelings of power by finding a practical way out of the trap.  If you can’t change your circumstances, focus on the feelings and learn to deal with those feelings.

Step 7 – Eliminate or reduce feelings of powerlessness and helplessness by being an expert on yourself.  Also, learn to identify high risk situations.  Knowing the risks in advance allows you to prepare for it.

Dr. Feelgood – Documentary

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The documentary “Dr. Feelgood,” was produced by Bungalow Pictures and it is available on Netflix.

Every year, approximately 200 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are given to patients.  This documentary discuses the pros and cons of these drugs and tries to determine at what point should a doctor not prescribe opioid painkillers.  The documentary also takes and in-depth look into a criminal case involving Dr. Hurwitz.

Dr. Hurwitz was a pain doctor in the Virginia area, until he was arrested for overprescribing medication.  He admitted to the DEA, on average his patients were taking 70 pills a day.  Two of his patients died indirectly from overconsumption of opioid drugs.

Upon further investigation,  the DEA found some patients receiving thousands of pills a month and selling those pills on the street.  They also found medical records showing a few patients tested positive for heroin and/or cocaine.  Dr. Hurwitz ignored the drug test results and continued prescribing powerful painkillers to those patients.

Dr. Hurwitz also had patients suffering from chronic diseases and severe nerve damage. These patients had a legitimate need for powerful painkillers.  One such patient committed suicide, because he could no longer get the medication he needed for his chronic pain after Dr. Hurwitz was arrested.

The opioid painkillers can be a miracle drug for people with severe chronic pain.  Unfortunately, the drugs are also addictive and have a history of being abused.  This creates a problem that is not easy to fix.

How can a doctor know how much pain their patient is actually feeling?

How can a doctor tell if their patient truly needs a powerful pain medication?

 

Pain Don’t Hurt

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Mark Miller is a kickboxing champion.  In his book Pain Don’t Hurt, Mark discusses his successes and failures in the ring, as well as personal struggles.

Mark was born with a heart defect that required open heart surgery to repair and he is a type 1 diabetic.  He grew up with alcoholic parents.  His father was physically abusive to him and his mother.  In an attempt to hide from his personal demons, Mark also became an addict.

I really enjoyed the book, because the author was honest about his personal failures.  He also did a good job of describing the difficulties of overcoming addiction and health problems.

In the end, Mark Miller is able to conquer his addiction.  He also overcomes his medical problems through stringent diet and exercise routines.

Mark Miller is a true champion in and out of the fighting ring.

Binge Eating Disorder

I suffer with binge eating disorder. I feel like my mind and my body are not communicating.  I eat until I am so full that I am in pain; however, my brain is screaming for more food.

I finally talked to my doctor about it yesterday.  He gave me some information about binge eating disorder.  I learned the disorder has a genetic component and research shows people with the disorder tend to have a chemical imbalance in the brain.

The doctor developed a treatment plan for me and gave me a follow-up appointment.  I believe working with my doctor and attending the Celebrate Recovery meetings will allow me to finally beat this disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder

I have a binge eating disorder.  I feel like my body and my brain are not on the same page.  My body is saying, “Stop, I’m full.”  However, my brain is always screaming out for more food.

For me, binge eating is a compulsion that seems impossible to control.  That’s why I started attending a Celebrate Recovery group.  Celebrate recovery is a 12-step program that helps people overcome their addictions and compulsions.

I have tried to stop binge eating numerous times in the past, but I always failed.  I admit I have become powerless over my compulsion and I need help (step 1).