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Sober Living. A place, a new lifestyle

Abaris Health Sober Living is provided in three homes located in southeastern Michigan. Each home is spacious, well maintained, and landscaped. Two homes were designed for men – Abaris House and Josh House; one home for women – Smith House

Addiction (substance dependence) is defined by signs of tolerance, withdrawal, and compulsive “out of control” use.  Tolerance – person exhibits a need for increased amount of substance to achieve intoxication or desired effects. Withdrawal – person develops painful symptoms following cessation or reduction of substance use. Compulsive use – person often uses substance in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended; exhibits unsuccessful efforts to cut down, stop, or control substance use;  spends a great deal of time in activities necessary to obtain substance and recover from its effects; substance use continues despite significant social, occupational, or educational consequence or knowledge of having persistent psychological problems that are likely to have been caused or exacerbated by use.

Substance use often begins as a voluntary choice.  With continued use, however, a person experiences biological and psychological changes, often progressively, that impair judgment, free will and choice, and life-social-occupational functioning. Prolonged (chronic) use or heavy (binge) use significantly changes a person’s biology and brain chemistry, where now more substance use is need to experience the same effects.  (This is Tolerance.) After a period of prolong or heavy use, a person enters a state of deprivation, where the body and brain are not functioning normally.  The person cannot feel much pleasure or excitement, may experience nausea/sickness and insomnia, lacks interest in things, and or feels anxious and depressed. (This is Withdrawal.) Now the person experiences very strong urges to seek and use alcohol and or drugs – to feel better, to feel pleasure, to feel normal.  The person is triggered by internal-biological and external-environmental cues.  Surges in dopamine, feeling of pleasure, or a “high” often occur even when the person thinks about or anticipates using alcohol and or drugs.  In some cases, the person (often in heroin, prescription drug, crack cocaine users) become desperate and myopic – steal, lie, con, committing shameful acts, or whatever it takes to obtain the substance. (This is the origin of Compulsive Use.)  The person then uses, sometimes desperately so, despite severe and sometimes catastrophic consequences including loss of job or marriage or custody of children, declining health, recurrent incarceration-legal problems, and or overdose or near death.  (This is Compulsive Use.) Keep in mind, when suffering from the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction, the person’s insight, foresight, judgment, and will are often lacking or impaired. But this does not and must not excuse personal responsibility.  Those persons who are abusing or addicted to alcohol or drugs, who know through experiential trials but do not know the disease, please seek help now.

Many theories have been advanced to explain why some people seek, abuse or become addicted to alcohol and drugs. Different theories have stressed different biological and genetic, psychological, and social and cultural factors as causes. The most likely etiological pathways for the development of alcoholism and drug addiction involve a combination of factors.

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Poly Substance Addiction

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a diagnosis of polysubstance dependence must include a person who has used at least three different substances (not including caffeine or nicotine) indiscriminately, but does not have a preference to any specific one. There is a distinct difference between a person having three separate dependence issues and having Polysubstance dependence the main difference is polysubstance dependence means that they are not specifically addicted to one particular substance. This is often confused with multiple specific dependences present at the same time. To elaborate, if a person is addicted to three separate substance such as cocaine, methamphetamines and alcohol and is dependent on all three then they would be diagnosed with three separate dependence disorders existing together (cocaine dependence, methamphetamine dependence and alcohol dependence,) not polysubstance dependence.  In addition to using three different substances without a preference to one, there has to be a certain level of dysfunction in a person’s life to qualify for a diagnosis of polysubstance dependence.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis (also known as Comorbidity) refers to a psychiatric condition when two (or more) disorders occur in the same person, simultaneously or sequentially. Dual diagnosis also implies interactions between the disorders that affect the course and prognosis of both. Research data show that many persons with alcoholism and or drug addiction also have depressive or mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, and or conduct disorder (among children/adolescents) or personality pathology (such as Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder).  The rates of psychiatric disorder in persons with severe alcoholism and or drug addiction are very high.  Causes of dual diagnosis:

  1. Drugs of abuse can cause persons to experience one or more symptoms of another mental illness.
  2. Mental illnesses can lead to alcohol or drug abuse. Individuals with overt, mild, or even subclinical mental disorders may abuse drugs as a form of self-medication.
  3. Both drug use disorders and other mental illnesses are caused by overlapping factors such as underlying brain deficits, genetic vulnerabilities, and/or early exposure to stress (chaotic environment), alcohol and drugs, and or trauma.

The high rate of comorbidity between drug abuse and addiction and other mental disorders argues for a comprehensive approach to intervention that identifies and evaluates each disorder concurrently, providing treatment as needed.