Replacing the Addicted Mentality: Medication Paradox

Treating addiction with meds is what we call the Medication Paradox. On one hand, you are telling someone with a drug or alcohol addiction to stop taking drugs to change the way they think and feel. And on the other hand, you are having them take prescription drugs to change the way they think and feel. Doing this essentially reinforces a mentality and behavior that is a large part of addiction. We have found that this contradiction can be counterproductive to a person’s recovery from addiction.

Masking Symptoms & Emotional Availability

We can’t make an accurate diagnosis to create an effective treatment plan without the symptoms presenting themselves. If you blunt emotions with medications, you may not have the opportunity to fully feel during treatment. You may not be as emotionally available to get to the bottom of what's going on. If you go off meds later in life, the floodgates may open revealing all their unresolved issues, and this is a component that often results in relapse.

Diagnosis During Active Addiction and PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

In active addiction and early recovery, addiction can induce symptoms that resemble mental illness. This is the condition referred to as PAWS or Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome in early recovery. Fortunately, PAWS is typically temporary as it can last 3 to 18 months. That said, our concern with placing clients on meds to combat their symptoms is that their symptoms often diminish during PAWS. At Tree House, we use fitness based interventions (ESM, EP Yoga, ABIT) to combat the presenting symptoms that often diminish with time. This holistic approach leads to sustainable recovery from addiction.

  • The brain is impaired because of drug abuse.
  • PAWS lasts from 3 to 18 months. Symptoms typically go away as PAWS diminishes.
  • The symptoms of PAWS are the same as many psych disorders.
  • Psychosocial dysfunction
  • Anhedonia
  • Depression
  • Impaired interpersonal skills
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Autonomic disturbances
  • Pessimistic thoughts
  • Impaired concentration
  • Lack of initiative
  • Cravings
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Memory problems
  • Emotional overreactions or numbness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical coordination problems
  • Stress sensitivity
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Our Solution

We focus on rebuilding the brain's hardware. If you blunt feelings with meds, you will not have the emotional availability to engage in treatment. We employ other strategies to normalize brain chemistry and teach the skills needed to regulate emotions.

The Choice

Once you have had to the opportunity to learn other strategies to treat the symptoms (manage emotions) without medication, you now have choice in life.

  • Medications:
  • May work, but can be problematic for treating addiction because you are treating the problem with more drugs
  • Lifestyles:
  • Exercise, self awareness and relationships to regulate emotion
  • Often results in a more healthy and optimized person

Getting Off Meds

Every client is assessed by an outside Physician for medication step down. Every client is safely monitored by a Physician during the entire process to ensure he is safe to function free of medication.