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Addiction: Signs, Treatment, Recovery & More

September 18, 2014 10:29 AM with Dr. Laura Parise

The signs of addiction may be very apparent in some and non-existent in others. And unfortunately, drug addiction often persists even in the face of dire life consequences. Fortunately, drug addiction is treatable, often through a combination of medication, rehabilitation and therapy. How can you tell if someone you know is struggling with drug addiction? What can/should you do to help? Laura Parise, Addiction Psychiatrist at NorthShore, will answer questions on addiction, from recognizing the signs of addiction in yourself or others to what you can do to recover or help a recovering addict. Questions can be submitted anonymously. Submit your questions early.

Brenna (Moderator) - 10:16 AM:
Our chat with Dr. Parise on Addiction: Signs, Treatement and Recovery will begin at 10:30. You can submit questions now or at any point during the chat. We apologize in advance if we are unable to answer every question. For more information before our chat, visit our alcohol abuse and addiction recovery page here.
  Coleen (Arkdale, Wi.) - 10:33 AM:
I have a daughter who is deeply addicted to cocaine. She has been in 4 inpatient facilities and 2 outpatient facilities. She keeps telling us she has no problems. The last treatment facility basically said that she most likely wouldn't survive if she kept using. Her insurance wouldn't pay for more than six weeks, so she is out using again. We don't want her to die. She has already blocked us out of her life. Is there any hope for her? Is there anything we can do for her or say to her? HELP
Dr. Laura Parise (NorthShore)
Thank you for reaching out. Family Anonymous is a wonderful resource for support for parents coping with a loved one's disease of addiction. Addiction is an illness that can be treated. Please don't give up hope.

  Becca - 10:37 AM:
My husband has struggled with alcohol in the past, so has his father and at least one of his sibilings that I know of. Will our children face the same problems? Is there something you can do to break the cycle of addiction?
Dr. Laura Parise (NorthShore)
Addiction tends to run in families. Early identification of the disease is very important. Adolescents and young adults are especially vulnerable to the harmful and lasting effects of alcohol and other drugs because their brains are constantly developing. If an adolescent starts behaving differently for no apparent reason such as acting withdrawn, frequently tired or depressed, or hostile, this could be a sign that he or she is developing a drug related problem. Parents may overlook such signs believing they are a normal part of puberty. Prevention and education are vital. Trust your gut, if you are concerned about your child seek assistance.

  Derek - 10:46 AM:
Do all addicts need to go to rehab? How long should it be?
Dr. Laura Parise (NorthShore)
Individuals can and do recover from addiction in many different ways. A thorough assessment can provide you with information regarding your treatment options, which may or may not include rehab. People recover at different rates but most important is the willingness to admit that you have a problem and take action.

  N/A - 10:54 AM:
I'm a college student and I think I drink too much fairly often but this is also just sort of the culture of college. When does it become a problem? What can you do to find out if you do have a problem?
Dr. Laura Parise (NorthShore)
The question I always ask is: "Is drinking improving the quality of your life in any way?". We cannot predict the trajectory of binge drinking in college students but excessive drinking often brings on risky behaviors and negative consequences. It's a problem when drinking is interfering with your day to day funtioning, when it's out of control, and when it's compulsive. Please seek an assessment by a licensed professional if you are concerned in any way.

Brenna (Moderator) - 10:58 AM:
Tracy, Dr. Parise has seen your questions. You will be contacted.

  Brandon (Schaumburg, IL) - 11:02 AM:
Why is alcohol or drug use labeled as a disease? It seems like more a set of choices and behaviors.
Dr. Laura Parise (NorthShore)
Addiction is labeled as a relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs and alcohol actually change the brain, its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting. Will power alone is insufficient to overcome addiction. Mood altering substances can actually compromise the parts of the brain that make it possible to say "no".

  Concerned (Evanston, IL) - 11:15 AM:
I'm concerned about someone who's using cocaine, & not quite sure how to bring it up. Do you have any suggestions. I'm a no nonsense, straight to the point kind of person who would like to incorporate my genuine concern & compassion into the conversation.
Dr. Laura Parise (NorthShore)
People that suffer from addiction often experience severe guilt and shame. Expressing yourself nonjudgmentally and with compassion is critical, but in general, seeking help from a licensed professional can really help guide the conversation. Addiction impacts every facet of an individuals life negatively. This is a daunting endeavor to attempt alone. You may need support as well.


This chat has ended.

Thank you very much for your participation.