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5 reasons behind all addiction

By Pieta Woolley

Among Canadians who drink at all, nearly 40 percent of us drink in a way that Health Canada considers risky. While overall drinking is down, alcoholism and other addictions remain prevalent in Canada. In fact, every one of us is likely touched by someone else’s drinking problem, according to the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Addictions.

In January’s Observer, Alanna Mitchell’s memoir “A Complicated Love Story,” reveals her own relationship to an addict, her ex-husband. So what’s behind all this addiction? Well, there’s at least five different answers to that question. Here, the experts weigh in:

1. Gabor Mate, Doctor, author and poverty activist

Reason for addiction: “Addicts are made, not born, and the most common precursors are early childhood privation, neglect and abuse.”

Source: http://drgabormate.com/article/our-strange-indifference-to-aboriginal-addiction/

2. Bruce Alexander, retired SFU psychology professor and author

Reason for addiction: It’s not the drugs themselves, contrary to convenient belief. Instead, it’s “the consequence of [entire cities of] people, rich and poor alike, being torn from close ties to family, culture and traditional spirituality.”

Source: http://www.brucekalexander.com/my-books/globalization-of-addiction

3. Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University psychiatry professor, and former drug user and seller

Reason for addiction: Addiction is rare, but chronic overuse is a multi-faceted problem. “People become addicted for a variety of reasons ranging from psychiatric disorders to economic desperation. That is why it is, first, critically important to determine the reasons underlying each person’s addiction before intervening with half-baked solutions. For example, if a person is using heroin to deal with anxiety or trauma, effective treatment of the psychiatric illness should alleviate the need to use heroin. Similarly, providing destitute addicts with specific skills and viable economic opportunities will go a long way in helping them to overcome their drug addiction. A lesson here is that one shoe doesn’t fit all and that careful assessment is an important component in helping addicts.”

Source: http://www.drcarlhart.com/deal-with-the-pain-that-leads-to-the-problem/

4. Dr. Harry Vedelago, director of addictions at Guelph, Ont.’s Homewood Health Centre

Reason for addition: About 15 percent of the population has a genetic risk for addiction. “We know that it's a genetic disease. We know that it's inherited."

Source: http://www.therecord.com/news-story/3897982-addiction-often-misunderstood-and-difficult-to-overcome/

5. Dr. Stephen Melemis, author and past vice-chair of Addiction Medicine for the Ontario Medical Association

Reason for addiction: Often, depression and anxiety, which are also often caused by addiction. “People who have both depression and addiction often have a repeating pattern of staying sober for a while and then relapsing because they feel awful.”

Source: http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org./anxiety-depression.htm

Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
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