Ever since Fairwinds Treatment Center opened in 1989, we've treated drug addiction with the understanding that people who suffer from the disease can't simply "stop" whenever they want to. Fairwinds' founder and medical director Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, a nationally renowned board-certified psychiatrist, practices a unique and highly effective dual diagnosis methodology with his patients.
This socially and scientifically progressive method of treatment is not even fully embraced by institutions around the country today, and it was certainly progressive when Dr. El-Yousef founded Fairwinds 25 years ago. In fact, scientists began to study addiction in the 1930s and came to the conclusion that those suffering from drug addiction lacked willpower and had weak moral character. These patients were therefore punished and exiled instead of treated and nurtured.
Unfortunately, that archaic belief has been difficult for society to overcome and it's very challenging for family members to understand why someone suffering from addiction can't make the choice to get better. However, research continues to support the fact that drug use physically and fundamentally changes the chemistry of our brains, making such a choice impossible without external support.
Dr. Brad Lander, clinical director of addiction psychiatry at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, gave a presentation of his research findings earlier this year at a statewide opiate conference in Columbus. Addiction is, he said, a chronic disease. Not only does drug use affect the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, but it also prevents individuals from sleeping, which creates lapses in their memory and alters their sense of reality.
"The brain is now convinced it needs drugs the same way it needs food, water and sex," he said.
These chemical changes can recede with time, so it's important that you or your loved one seeks out help and rehabilitation. Drug addiction isn't a simple issue to solve, but with the correct treatment and holistic support patients can make a lasting recovery. Contact Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, to learn more.