When in early recovery, every addict is going to suffer an array of “symptoms” which could very easily be strung together to present a seemingly valid diagnosis of a multitude of disorders which in “normal” circumstances would require medication. The particular group of symptoms and severity may be influenced by a number of factors such as drug of choice, period of abuse, support personality, predisposition, circumstances, expectations.
Balance – Body and Mind
Into the void
To the uninformed it may seem that life would surely get better once the addict is clean, but if it was so simple relapse would not be such a regular occurrence. If we took a normal (a non-addicted) person and deprived them of their lifestyle, cultural habits, friends, hobbies and only source of mental release, we would expect them to become depressed. This is what happens to the addict.
If you accept what is said here, you may come to the conclusion that there is an obvious solution: The addict is suffering medical symptoms due to the imbalance created by their addiction, and these could lead to relapse, so take away the symptoms. Reduce the imbalance by using a counter balance, bridge the gap, help make the void seem less daunting – MEDICATE. Treat symptomatically until all the problems disappear, or at least become “bearable”. Let’s help the addict over the initial hurdles – after all it’s better than having and addict on our hands. But is it? Are we really helping the addict? Or are we feeding their addiction? I believe that no-one is in a position to answer that question during the early stages of recovery.
I believe that all too often medical professionals medicate the symptoms the recovering addict is suffering at great cost to the addict. Here’s why:
We need to give the body and mind time to do what it does better than any other doctor or medicine can: heal. The human body has been created in such a magnificent way that it more-often-than-not heals itself, physically and mentally.
I believe that my experience has shown that after detoxification the addict should receive no, or as little as possible, medication to alleviate the symptoms as described earlier. My advice to all those dealing with recovering addicts is to avoid all medication for at least 12 months in recovery. Give the body time to find its balance again. Understand that the addict is going to require this time, at least, to begin to operate as a “normal” contributing member of society.