How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Alicia_MSW Your Own Question

Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 548
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
65143460
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Alicia_MSW is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I just can not understand drug addiction. My son in laws brother

Resolved Question:

I just can not understand drug addiction. My son in laws brother had to go to jail for 2 years which was actually a good thing because he was addicted to heroin before he went in and during that time got Councilling and clean. He became healthy and had such a positive outlook for when he was going to get out. Within 1 week after returning home he was using all over again. I just can not understand why after so much time do people start using again. Can you help me understand?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help you today. I have extensive experience in working with people with drug and alcohol addictions, so I believe I can help you develop a better understanding of relapse and the recovery process.
To start, it sounds like you already understand the significance of "hitting rock bottom" - without serious consequences (such as jail, losing one's job, etc) people with drug addictions don't develop a sense of what's at stake - the reward of using is greater, to them, than what might seem like trivial consequences of family issues, fighting with one's spouse, etc. So it sounds like your son in law's brother hit rock bottom and learned from it, but his learning was only temporary and he relapsed - the draw of the "high" is so strong for most addicts that relapse is a very common part of the recovery process.
To answer your question, then, the brain changes in response to continued substance abuse. Depending on the substance of choice, the brain responds to many drugs with an increase in the production of dopamine, which is a brain chemical - or neurotransmitter -responsible for pleasure and the control of the reward center of the brain. The need becomes physical, then, because the brain requires more and more of the substance to continue to feel the same high. So the addiction becomes stronger - even after treatment, this craving usually remains present. And what's more is that often, the brain changes after extensive substance abuse - so there are changes in the areas of the brain related to judgment and behavioral control that can also persist despite treatment. The need to use again, then, can be caused by the physical need or by external stimuli in your son in law's brother's environment (stress, difficulties re-engaging in "normal" life - even if he made positive changes, it can be very difficult to uphold them at times.) or a combination of both, which is usually the case. So even the slightest thing (that might seem slight to outsiders) can trigger the desire to use again. It often takes a number of attempts before someone can truly become and stay clean.
Don't give up hope on your son-in-law's brother. It can be heartbreaking to witness this process, but it's something he must go through if he wants to help himself get better. Your support and the support of others around him (family, friends) as well as the proper treatment (even if he's had treatment already, it can take a number of attempts before someone can stay clean) can help him in recovery. Also, you might find these links helpful:
http://www.addictiontreatmentmagazine.com/addiction-treatment/why-do-some-p eople-relapse-after-treatment/
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment.htm#understanding
I hope that helps. Best wishes.
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 548
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
Alicia_MSW and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education