Often times, New Jersey detox centers have to handle patients that have a very obvious problem with drug or alcohol use and an even more obvious disadvantage of how their life has essentially deteriorated into a sad existence. Maybe the person is homeless, squatting in an abandoned warehouse or living in a tent under an overpass and still saddled with the burden of uncontrollable addiction with little to no hope of finding sober living in NJ.

It’s still quite often that people want to put the onus of the addiction itself wholly and only on the addict. Afterall, addiction is typically treated as a choice. Even in faith-based twelve step programs that have been around nearly 100 years like Alcoholics Anonymous and newer iterations like Narcotics Anonymous, put a heavy emphasis on the individual’s choices that lead them to smell like a trashcan and living on the street and still unable to give up their preferred substance.

However, the problem with this is that underneath all of this obviousness of what people can see with someone like this are often times things which have been hidden out of sight that make the idea of choice itself irrelevant in the entire downfall of that person’s ability to function in a way society deems acceptable and respectable. More and more, science and medicine is finding out that not only is addiction a neurobiology-related illness, but that it’s also highly influenced by a lot of environmental factors as well.

Absence of social support, socioeconomic status, family situations, the use of substances amongst peers, the ability to cope with stress, history rife with neglect or compulsive behaviors can all contribute to escalation and commitment to the use of a substance that can ultimately lead to life of constant hell. There’s a fairly good chance that one person trying to pin the entirety of another person who’s suffering from substance use disorder has used one or more addictive substances but without these factors involved to the level the person they’re scolding has. This is all before the neurological differences which lead people to be more susceptible to the chemical side of addiction are even taken into account. Evidence continues to pile up in the medical research community that point to at least half of the susceptibility to forming a substance use disorder comes from genetic make up which influences how a person’s neurobiology operates.

Discovery Institute

The thing here is that someone doesn’t necessarily deserve your pity nor is a person completely guilt free in terms of their choices. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that two people can make the same choice, but these factors we can’t see will determine why one person can have a drink on the weekend now and then and another person loses their job and their family because they simply cannot refuse a drink. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563, which offers a variety of treatment options including detox, inpatient rehab, and aftercare.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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