Teenagers Pathologized by Traditional Addiction Treatment

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From Filter: “When Alice* was 12 years old, her mother discovered some diary entries she had written about experimenting with drugs, and became concerned. After consulting with their family therapist in Pennsylvania, Alice was sent to a ‘high-end’ residential rehab.

‘I was scared and alone,’ Alice recalled, ‘pressured into admitting to drug use that never happened, unable to talk to my parents for the first week and surrounded by adolescents much older and more experienced than I.’

Alice was required to attend 12-step meetings at the facility, and made ‘to identify with the label of “addict,”’ as she put it. This was despite the fact that she had not developed a substance use disorder.

What she didn’t know then was ‘how much their assessment of me would follow me home and impact the rest of my life.’ 

‘I thought that the only way to get out was to tell them what they seemed to want to hear,’ she said. ‘When I did try to tell the truth, I was told that I was a liar and a manipulator.’

At the time, Alice believed that once she got out of rehab, it would all be over. What she didn’t know then was ‘how much their assessment of me would follow me home and impact the rest of my life.'”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Though not in the ‘hard-drug addict’ category, I have suffered enough unrelenting ACE-related hyper-anxiety to have known, enjoyed and appreciated the great release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC.

    Yet, I once was one of those who, while sympathetic, would look down on those who’d ‘allowed’ themselves to become addicted to alcohol and/or illicit ‘hard’ drugs.

    Fortunately, the preconceived erroneous notion that drug addicts are simply weak-willed and/or have committed a moral crime is gradually diminishing.

    We now know that Western pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiates — I call it by far the real moral crime — for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.

    Still, typically societally overlooked is that intense addiction usually doesn’t originate from a bout of boredom, where a person repeatedly consumed recreationally but became heavily hooked — and homeless, soon after — on an unregulated often-deadly chemical that eventually destroyed their life and even those of loved-ones.

    Neglecting people dealing with debilitating drug addiction should never have been an acceptable or preferable political option.

    But the more callous politics that are typically involved with lacking addiction funding/services tend to reflect conservative electorate opposition, however irrational, against making proper treatment available to low- and no-income addicts. It’s like some people are actually considered disposable.

    Even to an otherwise relatively civilized nation, their worth is measured basically by their sober ‘productivity’ or lack thereof. Those people may then begin perceiving themselves as worthless and accordingly live their daily lives and consume their substances more haphazardly.

    Tragically, so many chronically addicted people won’t miss this world if they never wake up. It’s not that they necessarily want to die; it’s that they want their pointless corporeal hell to cease and desist.

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