Addictive disorders

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Addictive disorders

<div><br></div><div>Addictive disorders are related to the use of addictive substances, such as alcohol, tobacco or drugs. These substances, called psychoactive, modify our mental functioning. They overuse the reward circuitry in our brain, the one that produces the feeling of pleasure. By force, it becomes impossible to do without these substances. This has negative consequences on our physical and mental health.</div><div><br></div><div>Addictive disorders include alcoholism, smoking, drug addiction (consumption of cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, synthetic derivatives such as methamphetamine, poppers, etc.), addiction to certain drugs (morphine, painkillers, etc.) but also behavioral addictions, such as playing games of chance (scratch cards, lotto, slot machines), money (trifecta, poker, roulette), screens (smartphone, computer, TV, tablet), sex or compulsive shopping.</div><div><br></div><div>Addictive disorders can have significant consequences on emotional life, family, friends and work. Despite these difficulties, it is possible to recover from these disorders.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>Where does addiction start?</h4><div><br></div><div>A person who consumes a psychoactive substance is not necessarily affected by an addictive disorder. She can suffer negative effects for her physical and mental health from this consumption, without finding herself in a situation of dependence. This is called harmful use, as specified in the International Classification of Diseases (Cim 10), one of the two reference classifications.</div><div><br></div><div>The more frequently we consume a product or in toxic doses, the more we suffer the consequences. Conversely, the less we consume a product, or if we consume it in non-toxic doses, the less we suffer the consequences, as indicated by the Interministerial Mission against Drugs and Addictive Behaviors (MILDECA).</div><div><br></div><div>Addiction is defined as a set of behavioural, cognitive and physiological phenomena, occurring following the repeated consumption of a psychoactive substance, associated with:</div><div><br></div><div>A strong desire to take the substance</div><div><br></div><div>Difficulty controlling consumption</div><div><br></div><div>A continuation of consumption despite the harmful consequences a Gradual withdrawal from other daily activities and obligations, in favor of this substance</div><div><br></div><div>Increased tolerance to the substance requiring increased doses and sometimes a physical withdrawal syndrome causing tremors, anxiety or nausea.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>Psychotropic drugs, an unrecognized addiction</h4><div><br></div><div>Tranquilizers and sleeping pills (anxiolytics and hypnotics from the benzodiazepine family) can cause addiction, even at low doses. The person started with a "little" tranquilizer or a "little" sleeping pill and, after a while, he can't do without it. The major disadvantages of this type of long-term addiction are memory problems, difficulty concentrating, aggravation of the weakening of intellectual functions linked to age, falls and accidents on the public highway. Weaning should be considered gradually.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>How to treat addictions?</h4><div><br></div><div>By becoming aware of our difficulties with a substance, we give ourselves the means to look for solutions and to ask for help. It is possible, in some cases, to stop or reduce one's consumption without help, or to be accompanied for this by a professional in addictology, for example an addictologist or tobacco specialist.</div><div><br></div><div>In other cases, it is necessary to be taken care of by a team made up of different professionals (doctor, psychologist, assistant or social worker), in a specialized place. This follow-up can last several months, sometimes several years.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>Psychotherapy</h4><div><br></div><div>Psychotherapies are an opportunity to provide appropriate information on the mechanisms of addiction, the effects of withdrawal, the risks of relapse. Cognitive and behavioral therapies (CBT) offer alternative ways to cope with stress and life's difficulties. In general, psychotherapies allow us to take a step back from our problems, our history and the place that addiction can take.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>Medicine</h4><div><br></div><div>There are substitution treatments for opiates (heroin, morphine) and tobacco. The principle consists in administering a drug having a similar effect to the psychoactive substance but allowing to start the withdrawal process.</div><div><br></div><div>In alcohol withdrawal, medication may be prescribed to help maintain abstinence or reduced consumption.</div><div><br></div><div>Medicines for depression or anxiety may also be prescribed.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><h4>Rehabilitation</h4><div><br></div><div>Hospitalization may be proposed in certain withdrawals, in particular alcohol, drugs and medication, or during a depressive episode.</div><div><br></div><div>Short-term hospital structures take care of weaning. Then, other structures take over, such as aftercare centres, therapeutic communities, therapeutic apartments or stays with host families. This type of device can make it possible to change context and break with a way of life that is too closely linked to addictive driving.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>Self-help&nbsp;</h4><div><br></div><div>If recourse to care may prove necessary in the event of addiction, the person can also develop personal resources to get better. We can, for example, be attentive to our sleep patterns, our diet, practice a physical activity that we like, possibly practice relaxation or meditation.</div><div><br></div><div>Exchanges with people who have experienced a situation of dependency can provide real support. You can contact an association of patients and relatives for this. You can also join a discussion forum or a patient community on the internet.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><h4>Living with someone affected by an addiction</h4><div><br></div><div>The entourage cannot replace the doctor or the psychotherapist, but they can provide essential support in these difficult times. This support may include:</div><div><br></div><div>Helping your loved one to seek help, to consult a professional and, if necessary, to follow a treatment</div><div><br></div><div>Support your loved one in activities of daily living</div><div><br></div><div>Bring up thoughts of suicide, to help him find support.</div><div><br></div><div>Family therapy sessions can be offered, especially when the addiction concerns a teenager. Support groups for those around you exist for most addictions.</div></div>


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