The Role of Willpower in the Treatment of Drug Addiction

TheRole of Willpower in the Treatment of Drug Addiction

Outline

The role of willpower in the treatment of drug addiction

Objective:To determine how willpower determines the efficacy of addictiontreatment strategies.

Thesis:A successful recovery from drug dependence requires the addicts tomake deliberate decisions to stop abusing substances, which can onlybe achieved if they have the willpower.

  1. About 4 million people in the U.S. suffer from addiction-related medical problems, while another 3 million people are dependent on different drugs (Rowe, 2012).

  2. The use of drugs for ecstasy increased by 67 % and the consumption of marijuana by 19 % in 2012 (Rowe, 2012).

  1. A preview of the main points

  1. Relationship between willpower and the treatment of addiction

  1. Willpower improves self-control in persons suffering from addiction, which enhances their ability to make healthy choices (Bettinard-Angres &amp Angres, 2013).

  2. Willpower enhances addiction treatment by helping the affected people overcome the sense of denial (Bettinard-Angres &amp Angres, 2013).

  1. Role of talk therapy techniques in treatment of addiction

  1. The CBT increase the chances of recovering from addiction by helping the addicts overcome their negative thoughts and take control over their behaviors (McHugh, Hearon &amp Otto, 2010).

  2. The effectiveness of the willpower that is imparted by the talk therapists to help addicts recover has been confirmed by a study showing that over 60 % of the patients who undergo CBT provide a clean toxicology report within a period of 52 weeks (McHugh, Hearon &amp Otto, 2010).

  1. Efficacy of support group approach and the significance of willpower in addiction therapy

  1. Therapists who use support groups appreciate the fact the process of gaining control over addiction takes time, which creates the need for external support in order to help the addicts gain power over the craving that increase the risk of relapse (Hendershot, George, Witkiewitz &amp Marlatt, 2011).

  2. Willpower that people need in order to overcome addiction can be attained with the help of people who have gone through the same problem (Hendershot, George, Witkiewitz &amp Marlatt, 2011).

  1. Rebuttal

  1. Drug use leads to a permanent brain damage that limits human control over substance abuse (Sullivan, Harris &amp Adolf, 2010).

  2. The affected people cannot develop the willpower and control their addiction since the damaged parts of the brain reduce their ability to make rational choices (Sullivan, Harris &amp Adolf, 2010).

  3. About 58 % of the addicts who acknowledge the fact that they are sick are able to recover and live without drug dependence for the rest of their lives (Hendershot, George, Witkiewitz &amp Marlatt, 2011).

  1. Conclusion

  1. A successful recovery from drug addiction requires the affected people to make deliberate decisions to stop abusing substances.

  2. The significance of willpower in the process of recovery is confirmed by the fact that therapists emphasize on the significance of helping the addicts regain control over their actions and the decision making process.

TheRole of Willpower in the Treatment of Drug Addiction

Drugaddiction has been a major concern for the stakeholders in the fieldof public health for several decades. Although several measures havebeen taken to curb the issue of substance abuse and rehabilitateaddicts, the use of drugs has increased exponentially in the recentpast. It is estimated that about 4 million people in the U.S. sufferfrom addiction-related medical problems, while another 3 millionpeople are dependent on different drugs (Rowe, 2012). The study alsoindicated that the use of drugs for ecstasy increased by 67 % and theconsumption of marijuana by 19 % in 2012 (Rowe, 2012). The mostimportant question that is in the minds of the people is “why thestakeholders have failed to help millions of addicted people recoverand lead a normal life?” This paper will discuss the role ofwillpower in facilitating a successful recovery from addiction. Asuccessful recovery from drug dependence requires the addicts to makedeliberate decisions to stop abusing substances, which can only beachieved if they have the willpower.

Relationshipbetween Willpower and the Treatment of Addiction

Adebate on the relationship between willpower and successful recoveryfrom addiction revolves around the issue of the possibility ofrestoring the addicts’ capacity to control their behaviors. It isscientifically proven that willpower improves self-control in personssuffering from addiction, which enhances their ability to makehealthy choices (Bettinard-Angres &amp Angres, 2013). An increase inthe sense of self-control is associated with one’s ability to delaygratification and regulate impulses. This helps the addicted peopleovercome the power of craving for drugs, thus increasing the chancesfor a successful recovery. In addition, willpower enhances addictiontreatment by helping the affected people overcome the sense of denial(Bettinard-Angres &amp Angres, 2013). An act accepting the fact thatone is being controlled by drugs is the first step towards thehealing process because it helps the addicted people gain thewillingness to seek for help.

Roleof Talk Therapy Techniques in Treatment of Addiction

Theuse of talk therapy techniques (such as cognitive behavioral therapy)in the treatment of drug addiction has increased exponentially.However, a few scholars have identified the key factors that resultin the efficacy of these techniques. Studies have shown that CBTincrease the chances of recovering from addiction by helping theaddicts overcome their negative thoughts and take control over theirbehaviors (McHugh, Hearon &amp Otto, 2010). Talk therapists achievetheir mission of helping addicts to stop using drugs by boostingtheir willpower, confidence, and self-control. This implies that therole of talk therapists is not to cure addiction, but to help theaffected people regain their senses, develop the willpower, and makerational decisions regarding the substances that they take. Theeffectiveness of the willpower that is imparted by the talktherapists to help addicts recover has been confirmed by a studyshowing that over 60 % of the patients who undergo CBT provide aclean toxicology report within a period of 52 weeks (McHugh, Hearon &ampOtto, 2010). Therefore, regaining the willpower with the help of aprofessional therapist provide the basis for a successful recovery.

Inaddition, studies on the efficacy of family therapy in the treatmentof substance addiction have confirmed that patients regain thewillpower when ecological factors that pressure them to abusesubstances are removed (Rowe, 2012). Family therapy is morecomprehensive and it seeks to address the risk factors that couldsubject the people to the risk of abusing drugs. Family therapycreates an environment for the development of willpower by addressingissues of a dysfunctional family, enhancing communication, andresolving conflicts, thus increasing the chances of a successfulrecovery by 76 % (Rowe, 2012). Family therapy works by helping theentire family change its mindset and take charge of all issuesaffecting its members, including drug addiction. This helps thefamily members stop seeing addiction as a disease and start toconsider it as a behavior that can be controlled using deliberatemeasures.

Efficacyof Support Group Approach and the Significance of Willpower inAddiction Therapy

Theuse of support group as a strategy to address addiction is based onthe notion that the process of sharing the experiences among peoplewith similar problems empowers each one of them. Therapists who usesupport groups appreciate the fact the process of gaining controlover addiction takes time, which creates the need for externalsupport in order to help the addicts gain power over the craving thatincrease the risk of relapse (Hendershot, George, Witkiewitz &ampMarlatt, 2011). Members of the support groups overcome addiction andthe risk of relapse by being encouraged by the people who surroundthem. This gives them the confidence that they can live withoutdrugs, as long as other addicts have succeeded (Hendershot etal.,2011). Therefore, willpower that people need in order to overcomeaddiction can be with the help of people who have gone through thesame problem.

Rebuttal

Theopponents of the argument that willpower plays a critical role in thesuccessful recovery from addiction hold that drug use leads to apermanent brain damage that limit human control over substance abuse(Sullivan, Harris &amp Adolf, 2010). Addiction to certain drugs is asign of a serious brain damage that limits the capacity of theaffected person to avoid the risky behavior. Drugs affect theneuropsychological functioning and sequences of the brain, whichmakes it hard to restore it to the normalcy through treatment(Sullivan, Harris &amp Adolf, 2010). The fact that the brain hasbeen damaged implies that the addict has lost control over the riskybehavior. Consequently, the affected people cannot develop thewillpower and control their addiction since the damaged parts of thebrain reduce their ability to make rational choices (Sullivan, Harris&amp Adolf, 2010). Therefore, therapeutic strategies that focus onhelping addicts develop the willpower my not work for those who havesuffered from brain damage.

Althoughit is correct to state that addiction is attributed to brain damage,empirical studies have shown that the functionality of theneuropsychological systems can be restored. A study on the use of CBThave shown that about 58 % of the addicts who acknowledge the factthat they are sick are able to recover and live without drugdependence for the rest of their lives (Hendershot, George,Witkiewitz &amp Marlatt, 2011). The successful recovery, coupledwith the decline in the risk of relapse confirms the fact that thebrain damage that is sustained during the period of substance abusecan be recovered if effective therapeutic procedures are adopted(Hendershot etal.,2011). This implies that, even people who have suffered from thebrain damage as a result of substance abuse can make deliberatedecisions to stop abusing drugs and take control over theirbehaviors.

Conclusion

Asuccessful recovery from drug addiction requires the affected peopleto make deliberate decisions to stop abusing substances. Forcing theaddicts to undergo therapy is counterproductive because substance useis a risky behavior that can only be stopped if the affected personis willing to take the initiative. The significance of willpower inthe process of recovery is confirmed by the fact that therapistsemphasize on the significance of helping the addicts regain controlover their actions and the decision making process. For example,therapists who use CBT aim at helping their clients overcome thegenitive thoughts and take control over their future. The term“taking control” means that the addicts are able to overcome theforce of craving for drugs and replace their risky behaviors with ahealthy lifestyle. In essence, addiction is a condition that can betreated, but a successful recovery depends on whether patients havethe willpower to take the necessary initiatives that will help themovercome craving and the risk of relapse.

AnnotatedBibliography

Bettinard-Angres,K. &amp Angres, H. (2013). Understanding the disease of addiction.Journalof Nursing Regulation,1 (2), 31-37.

Theauthors address factors that contribute towards the occurrence ofaddiction. The authors argue that brain damage plays a critical rolein the occurrence of addiction. The literature review approach helpedthe authors consider the perspectives presented by other scholars,but it denied them the opportunity to conduct a field study andcollect their own data. However, this article enhanced theresearcher’s understanding of the relationship between brain damageand the risk of relapsing soon after the treatment sessions.

Hendershot,S., George, H., Witkiewitz, K. &amp Marlatt, G. (2011). Relapsepresentation addiction behaviors. SubstanceAbuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy,6, 2-17.

Thearticle addresses the risk and prevention of relapse to substanceabuse. The authors of the article argue that effective administrationof CBT can prevent relapse. The application of a systematicmethodology enabled the authors to perform a critical evaluation ofthe underlying problem. The article is a useful source indicatingthat it is only a few of the people who undergo the talk therapysuffer from the relapse.

McHugh,B., Hearon, A. &amp Otto, W. (2010). Cognitive-behavioral therapyand substance use disorders. PsychiatricClinic of North America Journal,33 (3), 511-525.

Thearticle addresses the efficacy of talk therapies (such as CBT) in thetreatment of substance addiction. The authors argue that CBT helpaddicts overcome their negative thoughts and take control overbehavior and lifestyle. The authors used the literature reviewmethodology to pursue the purpose of their study. This methodologyhelped the authors identify trends on the application of talk therapytechniques in the treatment of drug-related medical issues. However,reliance on the studies conducted by other scholars increased therisk of integrating errors committed by previous researchers in thepresent study. However, the article provided useful informationshowing how talk therapy techniques empower people to use theirwillpower and recover from addiction.

Rowe,L. (2012). Family therapy for drug abuse: Review and updates2003-2010. Journalof Marital and Family Therapy,38 (1), 59-81.

Roweladdresses the effectiveness of the family therapy approach intreating drug addiction. The author argues that family therapy is aneffective approach that help the family members take control over theaddiction. Rowel used the literature review as the methodology ofchoice to pursue the purpose of the article. Although literaturereview allowed the author to include the perspectives of otherscholars, it limited Rowel’s ability to assess the quality of dataused to make conclusions on articles that were reviewed. However, thearticle is a useful source that increased the understanding of therole of family therapy in enhancing the willpower of addicts.

Sullivan,V., Harris, R. &amp Adolf, P. (2010). Alcohol’s effects on brainand behavior. AlcoholResearch and Health,33 (1), 127-142.

Theauthors address the effect that the use of drugs has on the brain.The authors argue that the use of drugs (including alcohol) affectthe structure as well as the functionality of the brain in a negativeway. The article was based on the opinion of the experts and a reviewof literature. The expert’s opinion increased the risk of bias,which could limit the reliability of the study findings. The articleprovided useful information indicating that brain damage increasesthe difficulty of treating addiction.

References

Bettinard-Angres,K. &amp Angres, H. (2013). Understanding the disease of addiction.Journalof Nursing Regulation,1 (2), 31-37.

Hendershot,S., George, H., Witkiewitz, K. &amp Marlatt, G. (2011). Relapsepresentation addiction behaviors. SubstanceAbuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy,6, 2-17.

McHugh,B., Hearon, A. &amp Otto, W. (2010). Cognitive-behavioral therapysubstance use disorders. PsychiatricClinic of North America Journal,33 (3), 511-525.

Rowe,L. (2012). Family therapy for drug abuse: Review and updates2003-2010. Journalof Marital and Family Therapy,38 (1), 59-81.

Sullivan,V., Harris, R. &amp Adolf, P. (2010). Alcohol’s effects on brainand behavior. AlcoholResearch and Health,33 (1), 127-142.