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Why Is Drug Addiction In Hawaii Regarded As A Mental Issue?

Aug 4, 2008
There was a time when drug addiction in Hawaii was considered nothing more than a habit that was difficult to shake off; it was no more than a habit that the revelers of Hawaii, both local and tourist, amused themselves with and then suddenly found that it is not quite so simple to shake themselves off that habit. That was that, though. No more than that was read into how a drug addiction worked and it wasn't given much of a thought.

However, national and indeed global perspective on drug addiction has changed drastically in modern times. No longer is this an unshakable habit, but it is a condition of the mind that is as difficult to treat as any other psychiatric ailment that the person might have. Today, substance abuse and drug addiction in Hawaii are considered to be mental illnesses, of the same order as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or on a lesser note, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, stress and depression. It is understood that merely making the person abstain from the substance is not enough to pull them out of the addiction. It takes much more grit and determination for an addiction to be weaned away, and that is what has made the drug addiction treatment program in Hawaii so elaborate in today's times.

Why is Drug Addiction in Hawaii considered as a Mental Illness?

This mostly depends on the way that a drug addiction works. Let us consider the example of heroin addiction for our understanding. When a person consumes heroin, the substance will first attack a particular region of the brain that is responsible for the secretion of some pleasure producing chemicals. Dopamine is one of the substances released. When the brain releases dopamine, the person feels a surge of happiness. This is what is typically known as the high produced by consuming a substance.

However, the high does not last. But by this time, the person's body and mind have begun liking the euphoric effect it just experienced and they want the body to duplicate that effect. This is when the person will have another shot of the substance. Note here that when the person consumes the substance for the first time, it could be a bodily thing; but the next time is because of the craving for the substance generated by the mind.

Turning back to the way heroin works on the body, as the person continues taking more and more of the substance, the brain becomes immunized to it. Now the brain no longer produces dopamine in the same level as it did earlier, albeit the quantum of heroin taken into the body is the same. This can cause frustration in the person and will most definitely lead to the person wanting to consume more of the substance. This is why the person will keep increasing the amount of substance that he or she takes into the body. This is where the occasional abuse begins moving towards a lifelong dependency.

The point to be noted is that drug addiction is a mental illness. Though to an outsider it might seem as a mere habit because they can physically "see" the patient consuming the substance, the inner mechanism of the user is triggered by his or her brain that is demanding more and more of the substance.

How has Drug Addiction in Hawaii being a Mental Illness affected the Treatment Patterns?

The treatment for drug addiction in Hawaii has undergone a drastic change in the last ten years because of the emergence of the idea that drug addiction is a mental illness. One of the major changes here is the inclusion of a very elaborate counseling program where the patient is trained in various meditation and relaxation techniques to come out of the addiction. The patient is taught how to cope with the condition. In most treatment centers, there is also a family counseling program where the patients and their families are coached on how to overcome their emotional issues that might have been caused due to the patient's addiction. Families are also trained on how they can become substantial forces in the addiction treatment for the person.

But the best example is the popularity of the dual diagnosis treatment program. This program, meant to treat people from coexisting conditions, mostly relies on removing people from the mental issues that might have been caused due to their addiction, or could be underlying conditions also. These programs are being very seriously looked into in today's times when people consider drug addiction treatment in Hawaii.
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