The Phases of ADDICTION

Drug ADDICTION is NOT "take a narcotic prescription, then become an addict for life". Statistics show that only 10-15% of people who are given a prescription for narcotics become addicts.

Some of the phases of ADDICTION start early in life, right under our nose. They are called ANTECEDENTS, which usually involve ACES (adverse childhood experiences). They can range from severe sexual or physical abuse to unavailable emotional support for a child. ACES can be a one time event or an on-going trauma, and occur in affluent neighborhoods as well the ghetto. These traumas can be held in for years until a TRIGGERING EVENT occurs , putting the person into toxic overload. Triggers can be a family death, divorce, poverty, bullying, or trying to fit in with a new crowd. Trying drugs may give a person the relief from their trauma, and may be seen as their only reward. Thus an ADDICTION cycle begins, Trauma - Drugs - Relief = REWARD. Then there are MEDIATORS and PERPETUATORS, which help to perpetuate the cycle. The pain relief is one of the major perpetuators, also the alienation and stigma that comes with the ADDICTION.

The main reason that a prescription for pain turns into an ADDICTION is when a person continues to use the drug to treat their PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA. Narcotics are not meant for routine long term use, but for initial severe pain and only prolonged in end of life pain.

Henry Balzani MD