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What or Who Do You Blame?

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By February 25, 2019

Addiction Treatment in New Jersey faces a question asked by hundreds of people every day, a question that has very little point in the answer. Sober living in New Jersey isn’t doesn’t gain any new insight with the ‘blame’ model when it comes to trying to understand why someone would become addicted. Blaming big pharma, blaming a person’s choices, blaming their parents, this serves no one, especially the person who is suffering from substance use disorder.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the definition of addiction is defined as such:

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

Furthermore, modern research has revealed that there could be up to fifty-percent influence of genetic makeup of a person that can make them more prone to addictive behavior, including substance abuse patterns. So what does this all mean?

Well, we can take a hypothetical scenario to illustrate where blame start to dissolve into non-existent concern for treatment:

Two people are involved in a car wreck. They are unrelated to one another. They both suffer serious injuries. One of the people breaks the left leg, the other person breaks their right leg. Both are required to have minor surgery to repair their leg and both are prescribed an opioid like oxycodone to nullify the pain after surgery. The person who breaks their right leg takes the pills as prescribed and once their prescription runs out, it’s around the time their leg is healed and they live a healthy life after the cast is taken off and they can walk without crutches. The person with their left leg broken takes the pills, but each pill seems to do less. The pain goes away but only for a short time. To balance this, they take more and make their way through twice as many pills as the person who breaks their left leg. After their leg heals and they’re off crutches, they find there’s still pain, but a different kind that occurs only when they have no pills. They return to the doctor to get more pills for this new pain, but it’s too late; they’re addicted.

You may have seen this occur with people who are addicted to alcohol as well. One person seems unable to ‘hold their alcohol’ or they may be have situations where they show up to places where sobriety is required but under the influence, despite everyone they know can limit their drinking to special occassions or at home now and then.

Discovery InstituteIn these situations, there is no possible blame to put anywhere, making it irrelevant in diagnosis and treatment. Maybe we can blame the addiction of the two people on the accident, but how would that fix the issue? Time cannot be reversed to avoid the accident.

The best New Jersey rehab, Discovery Institute, offers a variety of treatment options. Call 844-478-6563 to discover sobriety today.

Article Reviewed 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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