A debut manual focuses on the survivors of addiction as well as family members and friends who cope with the effects.
This well-organized book sets itself apart from others in its genre by not only examining the science behind addiction, but also the emotional aspects and strategies to overcome the condition. Harrison begins by breaking down misconceptions about substance abuse—specifically those that demonize or blame the afflicted—and exploring the adverse effects on the user’s brain and body. For example, the author explains in Part I that an addiction cannot be identified based solely on the amount of a substance a person uses or the frequency of the behavior. This section distinguishes between heavy recreational drug and alcohol users and addicts, who suffer a loss of control and a hijacking of the brain’s reward center. The author dissects the biological process of addiction, pointing out the way dopamine “flooding” can affect a person’s free will. Though the science is complex, Harrison describes it clearly and simply, making this title a worthy one for families hoping to better understand their addicted loved ones. In addition, the author meticulously depicts the way that substance abuse can intersect with other types of addictive behaviors, like gambling, eating, and sex, because an afflicted person is attempting to feed the brain’s reward system and compensate for a lack of dopamine. Part II of the book effectively delves into the emotional experiences of the addict’s family, exploring in depth denial, codependency, and enabling. These behaviors occur when family members are not cognizant of the problem or don’t know how to help. Harrison presents numerous strategies to allow relatives to break through the tensions of addiction and begin to work together to beat it. For example, the author emphasizes the importance of positive communication and reinforcement rather than criticism or punishment, tactics that can turn addicts away from their families and back to drugs or alcohol. Harrison also explains rehab: what it entails, the costs, and how it supports recovery. For family members seeking psychotherapeutic approaches, the author details different forms of behavioral therapy and how they have aided substance abusers. Overall, this book is comprehensive, lucid, and useful for readers hoping to help addicts or learn more about their condition.
A valuable guide to recovery for substance abusers and their loved ones.