Hopeful look for younger people with addictions

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SuZir, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I stumbled to this paper while looking things related to neuroscience and how addictions influence the brain: http://www.hamsnetwork.org/neuroscience.pdf

    It gives rather hopeful look to our young addicts and their future: Both drug and alcohol addicts mature out of their addictions. Most of the 20 something addicts will not be addicts when they turn 40. More so with drug addicts but also true with alcoholism (in twenty years after onset of alcoholism two thirds of (American, probably figures are similar also in other countries) alcoholics are fully recovered, half of them are absent and other half drink low risk way according studies of National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.)

    This is something good to keep in mind, when things seem so utterly hopeless with our young addicts at times.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Real life doesn't agree with this man's theory. Sadly, there are many addictive people in their 60's and above. My sister's ex-brother in law (big mouthful there) recently died of alcoholism and it's affects at age 53 , for example. Many people DO quit, but it is a choice. You can outgrow the some of the worst symptoms of, say, borderline, but that is usually life kicking in. I have never known anyone to outgrow addiction, but know many who chose to quit and went through detoxing, either alone or with medical help. So, yes, there is hope. There is always hope. People chose to quit every single day. Call me leery, and it has nothing to do with Twelve Step. Has to do with l the older addicts I know.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes, not all addicts quit, though most seem to quit (either on their own (apparently the bigger part) or with help of all kinds of treatment programs.) And unfortunately some die.

    And of course not all quit at the same age, for example my dad was hard core alcoholic and often times addicted to drugs till he came to his fifties. Went through several treatment programs with not much help, several detoxes, deliriums and all that, even couple amphetamine psychosis and now after all that he has been a lowish risk alcohol drinker well over a decade. But it really took him much longer to get there than for the most, it seems, and he was lucky to have a working liver at that time. And yes, unfortunately I too know people several who have died because of alcohol or bentsoes and even couple who have died because of other drugs.

    But I find it extremely hopeful that according the stats most do recover even if not all. And even though in the time they do recover, many have their lives in the bad shape already, which of course is bad. And of course these are stats from USA and one can not be sure, if same is true also for example in Europe, but most being from USA in this board, it may be a great thing to know, that most of your young addicts do recover. And I do hope and believe that same is likely true also here across the bond.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I found the article interesting....it wasn't clear how they defined addiction and they mentioned alcohol dependent so that was a bit unclear to me. I can imagine there are people who are heavy drinkers that may cut down their intake. And I would also guess here are heroin addicts that manage to quit heroin and replace it with alcohol.

    It also mentioned that people dont do it "alone" but need structure, tools etc. although not necessarily rehab or AA.

    And it takes work and committment, so it doesn't seem to be it is just growing or maturing out of the addiction....my guess is the older people get the sicker they get of the downsides of addiction and so are more likely to make the decision to do the hard work of quitting.

    I don't believe there is necessarily one answer fit all...

    Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Alcohol dependency is either defined by being physically dependant of alcohol, or at times more broadly with including also mental dependence and continuing to over consume alcohol despite alcohol causing them significant areas of dysfunction. The more tight definition doesn't include people who for example drink only few times a week, but doing so in the way that cause them to lose jobs, relationships etc. the border definition is more like how many define alcoholics. I guess they have likely used the border definition, because very few 20-years-olds have had time to develop physical dependency, it usually takes years of heavy drinking. I mean, I doubt many of our kids have been physically dependent, at least I can't remember many talking about delirium tremens etc. with their kids (and if you watch someone you love going through those, it is something that tends to stick out, not only the actual risk of death, but it just really is absolutely awful to watch.)

    DSM criteria is the following:
    "According to the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence, at least three out of seven of the following criteria must be manifest during a 12 month period:

    • Tolerance
    • Withdrawal symptoms or clinically defined alcohol withdrawal syndrome
    • Use in larger amounts or for longer periods than intended
    • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down on alcohol use
    • Time is spent obtaining alcohol or recovering from effects
    • Social, occupational and recreational pursuits are given up or reduced because of alcohol use
    • Use is continued despite knowledge of alcohol-related harm (physical or psychological)"
    You are right that it isn't just snap of the fingers and they recover and it does take lot of work from the addict. That many do it without the formal support (like rehabs or support groups), doesn't make it any less hard. And for those who find rehab or support group or therapy useful, that is of course great (and I think that for my kid the program he was in was really important for his success in recovery thus far.)

    The reason I wanted to bring this here was to give hope. For many of our kids there will be a brighter future without substance abuse in front of them even if it takes some time. Unfortunately not all recover, but according to those stats, majority do and that is great.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  6. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Well, this is anecdotal, but the leader of my support group has a son who has been clean ( heroin) for over 2 years.

    My son has been in two halfway houses and several rehabs, and his observation is that the alcoholics on the whole do better than the heroin addicts as many more of the heroin addicts relapse, over and over.

    He is approaching one year without substances (he went into hospital Sept 11 2013 with psychosis caused by abusing his prescription Adderal). He hasn't had a drink or an opiate since Feb 2013.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Alcohol is not as addictive as heroin. A lot of alcoholics quit, although often not in time to curb the damage to their bodies. Some die. I think you hear less about heroin addicts quitting...usually they are put on another drug that is less dangerous than heroin. I forgot the name of it. Used to be Methadone. A guy I dated had a brother who was a heroin addict and he was on methedone. He slipped up and got back on heroin, but he's back on methadone again. He can't stay off heroin without the methodone. Each addiction is different, a little bit. All require a desire to quit in order to quit. Your body doesn't outgrow addiction. Would be nice, but it doesn't happen.
  8. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    I believe that drug is suboxon, MM.
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I have known a couple of heroin addicts who have quit.... and also relapsed. So some do it with drugs like methodone and suboxone.... and some do it without. It is definitely hard but yes people do quit and get sober. I will say that the folks I have known who were heroin addicts were very invovled in a 12 step program. I am not saying that is the only way but I do believe AA and NA have helped a lot of people.


    Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Oh, TL, I know it has. I know many people who quit due to AA mostly, but some from NA. It's not like there is a shortage of alcoholics and drug abusers around (sigh). I dated a man who had gone sober from AA and is still sober. He is still very active in AA and says it helps him continue not drinking. Not everyone needs AA or NA, but I'm sure glad that the resource is available and free.