The range of treatments for addiction
Addictive disorders are among the most common mental disorders. However, the addictive behaviour that is outwardly perceivable (the symptoms) are only ever the tip of the iceberg – there can be several underlying issues that need to be addressed.
Frequently, the consumption of addictive substances or addictive behaviour is a simple attempt at self-medication in order to numb painful feelings and to be able to endure them more effectively. Immaterial addictions often serve to compensate for a lack of love and security. Inner emptiness, boredom or loneliness are permanent companions.
The solution is to treat the underlying causes, such as emotional neglect or trauma.
Addiction most often presents in these ways:
-Mental and behavioural disorders caused by psychotropic substances (alcohol, opioids, cannabinoids, sedatives and hypnotics, cocaine, stimulants, hallucinogens, tobacco, volatile solvents and other psychotropic substances)
-Kleptomania (the irresistible urge to steal things)
What exactly is an addiction?
Addiction has nothing to do with weakness of character or lack of discipline, but rather a very serious mental illness. An addiction or dependence is an uncontrollably powerful craving for a certain substance, behaviour or experience. The consumption of the respective substance or the performance of the action provides the person affected with temporary satisfaction, relief or dampening of deep-seated negative feelings. Depending on the type and effect of the addictive substance, a distinction is made between physical and/or psychological dependence.
Common to all addictions are:
- That the desired state can only ever be achieved temporarily, so repetition becomes more and more frequent. Over time, this leads to a habit forming. This is also known as tolerance. This means that the dose, frequency or strength of the addictive substance must be increased further and further in order to continue to achieve the usual intensity. Gradually, the use turns into abuse, which makes the addiction more and more significant. In turn, the family, one’s own health, work, social contacts and hobbies are increasingly pushed into the background and neglected.
- That most of those affected are well aware of the harmful effects of their disease but are no longer able to voluntarily take action and change their behaviour accordingly.
Symptoms and characteristics of addiction
Addiction is a progressive disease that develops gradually, often slowly over a period of years. The line between intensive consumption that can still be controlled, the beginnings of abuse and the formation of an addiction that can no longer be controlled is often blurred. For outsiders, it is therefore usually difficult to recognise the respective stage in which the person affected is.
In order to be able to diagnose an addiction more precisely, experts have formulated a total of six criteria that are considered clear warning signs of an addictive disorder. An addiction is diagnosed if at least three or more of the behavioural abnormalities from the ICD-10 criteria catalogue are observed in the patient.
The following symptoms or behavioural traits are considered diagnostic criteria for an existing addiction disorder:
- Excessive craving or compulsion to consume a certain substance or perform a certain action.
- Loss of control, reduction of control over the time, duration and quantity of addictive substance use or behaviour.
- Physical withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, trembling, chills, pain or sweating when the addictive substance is not available or the action cannot be performed.
- Tolerance formation: increasing the dose to counteract the diminishing effect due to familiarity.
- Loss of interest and withdrawal from social life because the addiction has increasingly become the main focus of their life. All other interests are gradually neglected.
- The addiction continues even though there is the threat of serious health, family or social problems, or even the loss of a job.
Different forms of addiction
In principle, people can become addicted or dependent on almost anything. Therefore, there are also many different addictions.
Depending on the type of addictive substance, addictions can be divided into different categories:
These include the use of addictive substances such as alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, amphetamine-type stimulants, cocaine, tobacco, caffeine, etc.
These types of addictions produce, in addition to psychological dependence, a physical dependence. This means that abstinence always results in physical withdrawal symptoms of varying degrees.
This includes behaviours such as gambling, buying-collecting/hoarding, work, sport, sex, gaming and internet use. In the case of the latter, there is still a lack of well-founded clear diagnoses today, as the boundaries between frequent but still controlled behaviour and uncontrolled addictive behaviour are fluid.
These types of addictions are primarily characterised by psychological dependence.
In 62% of our addiction clients we find the use of two or more psychogenic substances. Most often we observe a combination of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine. The former serves to sedate, the latter to stimulate. Thus, the individual eventually forgets what “normal” feels like.
Causes: How does addiction develop?
As with most mental illnesses, no single cause can be identified for addiction. As a rule, an interplay of many different factors always leads to the development of an addiction.
The following factors play a role in the development of addiction:
- Biological factors
The consumption of addictive substances changes the brain metabolism, which leads to a short-term feeling of well-being or a buzz. A similar effect can also be achieved by certain behaviours that cause feelings of happiness in the person concerned. Increased consumption overstimulates the body’s reward sensors and that triggers a desire to experience the same emotional state more often and for longer. This ultimately sets the addiction spiral in motion.
- Genetic factors
It is known from studies conducted on twins and on families that the propensity to develop an addictive disorder is to a certain extent genetically determined and inherited. As a result, the risk of developing an addictive disorder increases if there are already cases of addictive disorders among close relatives.
In addition to the genetic component, the example set by parents or other guardians can also facilitate a subsequent addictive disorder. It is a well-known fact that children learn by example. If parents set a bad example by using drugs as a matter of course in everyday life, there is a high probability that their offspring will follow the example and turn to addictive substances themselves more quickly in later life.
- Social factors
Peer pressure and pressure from within any close network can also strongly promote the development of a dependence disorder. Drugs are frequently used, especially among younger people, in order to feel part of a group or to cover up insecurity and lack of popularity. If the behaviour is met with recognition, this usually reinforces use and thus facilitates a path to addiction.
- Other mental or physical illnesses
People who already experience other mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, but also physical illnesses, e.g. chronic pain, are at an increased risk of developing an addiction. This is because addictive substances are often used here to alleviate excruciating symptoms, which can lead to dependence in the long run.
Addiction: Common associated and secondary conditions
Addictive disorders occur particularly frequently together with other mental illnesses. Here is our experience at the CALDA Clinic:
-In 27% of cases, additional accentuated personality traits are found.
–ADD/ADHD (attention deficit disorder without or with hyperactivity) is found in 15% of cases.
–Anxiety disorders and depression are also very common
Anyone can free themselves from addiction!
As our brain remains malleable throughout life, it’s possible to change anything at any point in time. The most important thing is that the motivation to free oneself from addiction comes from the person themselves.
The basis of an addictive personality will always remain, but the person can learn how to deal with this in a healthy way.
How can addictive disorders be treated?
Because the causes, but also the effects of addiction disorders are extremely varied and complex from person to person, the CALDA Clinic uses a multimodal approach in the treatment of dependence. This is a holistic approach in which particularly effective and proven therapy methods from different disciplines are combined in a finely tuned way.
Scientifically founded methods from classical medicine are combined with tried and tested healing methods from complementary medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and orthomolecular medicine.
The CALDA Concept works very effectively on different levels of the organism and is extremely solution-oriented. As a result, quite astonishing results can be achieved within a short time – and usually without the use of psychotropic drugs!
The CALDA Concept
Our guiding principle and our promise to you:
We treat the causes, not the symptoms!
Whenever possible, we work without psychotropic drugs!
We dedicate our time and our entire know-how exclusively to one client.
The CALDA Concept: The foundation of every treatment is the right diagnosis
The basis of every treatment in accordance with the CALDA Concept is a comprehensive and extremely detailed diagnosis. Only in this way can the underlying causes and disease correlations, which often remain hidden, be meticulously uncovered and systematically treated.
The CALDA Concept: Our expertise for your health!
All the benefits, details and procedures that form part of the CALDA Concept can be read in detail here.
In addition, you can find detailed information about the contents of the various different programs of the CALDA Concept here.
For the treatment of addictive disorders, we recommend participation in the CALDA Full Program.