The vast majority of people have very little understanding about the true nature of addiction. That is why so many individuals get trapped in an addiction and do not know how to get out. Some "Psychosocial form of AA" will turn out to be nothing but a "Money-go-Round". You enter, sign a contract to pay, stay for their program length, get a diploma and you are out and on your own. They will encourage AA or NA but it is more likely that you will find your old "party friends" first. Then it is back into another developing addiction and another "Money-go-Round" and this just keeps on going. Sometimes the criminal justice system plays a role in this "Money-go-Round". Sound familiar? Of course the drug dealers and cartels are blended in.
Now for the truth. I have over 50 years experience (personal and professional) in dealing with addictions to alcohol and other chemicals. I have over 35 years in the study of the sciences involved in a true addiction as well as a temporary dependency. I will keep what follows as simple as I can, even though it involves some very complex science.
A true addiction is genetic (inherited from your genetic past somehow) and it is also "epigenetic", the latest and most exciting twist in how genes work. Epigenetic factors can turn genes on and off (suspected to be involved in PTSD also). Genes are critical to the development of the human brain and how it functions. If you get "short-changed" in the ability to make and release the natural "feel-good" and "coping chemistries" in the emotional center of the brain (limbic system) stress chemistries are going to make life more difficult for you. If we could diagnose this problem at an early age, we would likely come up with ADD, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, a psychosis, or some form of mental illness. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.
As you move along through life, you feel "different" somehow. Eventually, you are likely to try some mood altering chemical like nicotine, alcohol, or even methamphetamine. All of a sudden, you feel the way you have always wanted to feel. Comfortable with life and having that natural feel good feeling you have been missing all those past years. If the chemical works once, it may work again and so you try it and sure enough it does still work. You have just begun the process of self-medication for a mental disorder that you did not know you had and for some period of time it keeps on working. What you don't know is that the chemical, let's say alcohol, is going to cause a tolerance to develop. This will require you to use more of the alcohol more frequently and this will continue to progress till all of your central nervous chemistry is completely screwed up. Y0U ARE HOOKED! You need to stop and want to stop but when you try, you are so biologically messed up that you can't stop using. You unwittingly fell into a very complex genetic/epigenetic and neurobiopsychosocial trap.
There is only one way out and that is to find someone who has the scientific knowledge and experience to deal with this extremely complex genetic/epigenetic neurobiopsychosocial problem. Body and brain chemistries have to be brought back into a positive balance and then the brain rapair must be highly individualized. The avoidance of Pharmaceutacals, with the exception of some that are absolutely needed in detoxification safety, must be avoided and healthy body a brain nutrients must be skillfully added. The body and brain chemistry must be restored to a "better than before the use of drugs" state. In other words, make the body healthy and repair a very broken brain to a state of positive well-being. This can only be done in a very highly individualized manner, because each individual addict is just that....an individual. High-tech science is an absolute must, as it must be able to support the good old "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" that builds new and positive neural pathways and unravels those old corrupted pathways of thought. Specialized, yet rather simple to use, brain exercises are selected and along with some ongoing neuronutritional aids (vitamins and aminoacids plus some selected herbals perhaps) and the feel good gets better and the essential "Functional Independence" developes. This process, if continued will make the individual better and better from here on. (I should note that there are some select pharmaceutacals that can be a safe aid in many cases, so we do not count out those that are beneficial to an ongoing recovery. I have helped and worked with a number of Doctors in medication assited treatment and recovery.)
Only highly individualized applied science will work on an addiction. A temporary dependency, although it may resemble and addiction, usually responds well to abstinence and some psychosocial therapy, with perhaps some 12-Step or spirituality thrown in as insurance.
It will require extensive scientific studies background in genetics/epigenetics and the neurosciences along with some extensive clinical experience (minimum of 5 years) to clearly identify the addiction and treat it appropriately. My 50 years experience tells me that this is an absolute FACT, until we discover some genetic/epigenetic cures. That I am predicting for around 2030, but hopefully sooner. Copyright: Dan R. Gray, 09Jul2015 email@example.com