Needless to say, any problem that an individual can encounter in their life can be fully and conclusively resolved–if the individual understands the problem and what it takes to resolve it. Trying to handle one problem by applying the solution of another problem is, of course, is a psychiatric misdiagnosis and as ineffective as it is frustrating. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes–especially with psychiatric misdiagnoses of substance abuse and addiction problems.
The Relationship Between Psychiatric Misdiagnosis and Addiction Treatment
The goal of effective addiction treatment is to help an individual recover from their drug use to the point where they can once again live a healthy, productive life without drug substances. In order to achieve this goal, addiction treatment must be incredibly thorough–helping the individual not only address the many physical, mental and emotional effects of their drug use, but also address the root causes for their initial drug use and give them the tools and foundation they will need to overcome life difficulties without drugs in the future. The healthcare professionals and addiction specialists who work in the field of addiction treatment must also be very knowledgeable and experienced, as there are many points along the way to full recovery that can be quite daunting, challenging and even outright confusing. Not the least of these points is the withdrawal stages of recovery.
One thing that an individual must understand about drug substances is that these substances cannot actually resolve any of the problems for which they are taken. Instead, then chemicals in these substances bypass the normal routines of the human body, effectively suppressing sensations. If drug use continues for some time, the body will attempt to work it into its functioning patterns and the individual experiences tolerance. This is the point at which the individual no longer achieves the same desired effects through the same amount of drug use, essentially because their body is seeking to protect its normal condition from the effects of drugs.
Understanding Mental and Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
While it may be true that tolerance drives many individuals to abandon their drug use, it also drives many other individuals to increase their drug use. The inundation of drug substances can essentially make it impossible for the body to simply suppress their effects, and again in an effort to do what is best for the body, it will integrate these substances into its normal patterns and functions, becoming dependent upon them. What this basically means is that to the body the drugs are now normal and necessary for survival, and their reduction or absence is treated in much the same way as any other nutrient deficiency–through uncomfortable physical sensations. When it comes to drug use, however, these uncomfortable physical sensations are better known as withdrawals.
The withdrawals experienced during recovery can vary widely from individual to individual, but largely depend for their intensity upon the type of drug substance or substances the individual was addicted to, how much of the drug substance they were addicted to, and how long they were addicted. Most of the time, individuals will describe withdrawals as the exact opposite of the desirable effects produced by drug use, and they can be anywhere from headaches and nausea to intense mood changes and debilitating physical, mental and emotional discomfort. Unfortunately, this is where a psychiatric misdiagnosis can occur.
An individual who is working through drug withdrawals as part of their recovery can be misdiagnosed as having a psychiatric problem, for which they may be given medication. The danger in this psychiatric misdiagnosis is quite obvious: the individual is not only being guided onto the correct recovery path for their situation, but they are also being given yet another drug substance upon which they may eventually grow to depend, and which they most certainly do not need. This reaffirms the basic point that while drug abuse and addiction are undoubtedly complex problems, they can be successfully resolved if the individuals helping to resolve it fully understand the facts about this condition and what must be worked through in order to achieve full recovery.
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