In medical practice, the task of specialists is not always reduced to the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. Quite often, the clinic staff helps patients to deal with various addictions, and one of the forms of this problem is chemical dependency caused by too frequent use of alcohol, potent drugs, and the preparations of artificial origin. The issue is complicated by the fact that patients experience not only a strong physical but also a psychological need, which makes treatment more difficult and time-consuming and requires various specialists’ participation. This work focuses on the study of chemical dependency, the dynamics of this ailment manifestation, treatment approaches, and appropriate management principles.
Models of Addiction to Chemical Dependency
Based on the existing research, several models of chemical dependency can be distinguished. Perkinson (2016) mentions biological, psychological, social, and spiritual approaches to the assessment of this problem. According to the author, the biological model involves taking chemicals caused by the physical need of the organism that is accustomed to receiving certain doses of drugs or alcohol (Perkinson, 2016).
Based on the psychological model, addiction manifests itself as a belief in the indispensability of the medications taken and the sense of relief and relaxation that they give. The social factor explains the desire to isolate oneself from various problems and forget about the difficulties that a person faces in everyday life. Finally, the spiritual model is a rare but possible addiction manifestation when patients find the highest meaning in taking potent drugs or alcohol is and interprets it, for example, from a religious point of view. Despite differences in approaches, all these forms are united by one common problem that needs to be addressed to return to normal life.
Dynamics of Addiction to Chemical Dependency
The problem of chemical dependency is complicated by its dynamics since patients become addicted in a short time. As Miller and Wilcox (2017) argue, 230 million people have taken drugs at least once, and approximately 27 million of them are highly addictive, accounting for 0.6% of the total world population (p. 6). Such statistics confirm the danger of the ailment under consideration, and one of the major issues is the rapid time of addiction to chemicals.
Moreover, Perkinson (2016) notes that not only the dependency itself is dangerous but also relapses that are frequent. For a short time, for instance, a few months, a person becomes accustomed to using certain drugs or alcoholic beverages with a certain frequency. Over time, these periods shorten, indicating the manifestation of the dependency. Ultimately, a person cannot control his or her addiction, and even in the case of deliverance from a particular ailment, the danger of relapse still exists. Therefore, timely measures should be taken to prevent the development of the disease in its serious form.
The methods of treating chemical addiction may vary depending on different criteria – the stage of the disease, patients’ wishes, or the availability of resources for assistance. According to Vandermause, Fougere, Liu, and Odom-Maryon (2018), such intervention methods may be effective as “the treatment milieu, individual and family therapy, recovery education, and skills training groups” (p. 5).
Each of the approaches has its unique features and characteristics. For instance, group therapy is not always successful if patients are not willing to admit their problem. Involving family members is also not can be an ineffective measure because not all addicted people are ready to listen to their relatives. Individual interventions and the creation of a therapeutic environment are the most efficient forms of work with those patients who experience chemical dependency.
Management of Chemical Dependency
In the process of working with patients with chemical addiction, medical staff may experience some challenges. In particular, there are frequent cases of aggressive behavior among those who do not have access to the substances that cause addiction. As a result, patients can injure themselves and personnel, and relapses become inevitable. To avoid such consequences, Perkinson (2016) recommends the employees of medical centers exercise patience and a friendly approach.
Additional work should also be carried out with patients’ families. As Miller and Wilcox (2017) note, some forms of unhealthy activities, such as quarrels and constant accusations, can stimulate addiction. To avoid this outcome, family members may take part in the treatment process and help their loved ones to recover. Even in case patients do not listen to the opinions of their relatives, they will live in a favorable environment that contributes to overcoming chemical dependency.
The models of chemical addiction can be different, including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects. The dynamics of the manifestation of dependency, as a rule, are rapid, and statistics confirm the danger of this ailment. Appropriate treatment measures should be promoted to help patients to overcome their problems. Despite some difficulties that may arise in the process of interventions, medical employees should adhere to the ethical principles of work to prevent relapses and encourage patients’ recovery.
Miller, J. D., & Wilcox, R. E. (2017). Mechanisms of stimulant drug dependence. Journal of Addiction & Prevention, 5(1), 6.
Perkinson, R. R. (2016). Chemical dependency counseling: A practical guide (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Vandermause, R., Fougere, M., Liu, Y. H., & Odom-Maryon, T. (2018). Relational health and recovery: Adolescent girls in chemical dependency treatment. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 29(1), 4-12. Web.