In order to comprehend the nature of the disease of addiction it is necessary to first discuss basic human components. We conceive of a model consisting of seven concentric circles, much the design of an onion cut in half. The center component is the core or essence of humanness. The next component is commonly called the soul. The next component is behavior, private and social, and the final is the physical component. We will in further discussion call, for the human model, these "layers" COMPONENTS.
For the sake of construction from a two dimensional to three dimensional reality an onion is more representative of this human model that concentric circles. And even this "onion" concept lacks the totality of grasping the separateness of the components and their intimate inseparability.
These components are listed and defined below:
Spiritual=core of human, origin of all energy available to human. Essence, from the word "spiritus", means the same as breath, life.
SOUL consists of the following three separate components.
Volitional=will, freedom of choice, that which ultimately decides. Highest use of this component is the "Will to Live."
Emotional=feelings, only six of these Sad, Hurt, Afraid, Ashamed, Angry and Glad. Acronym SHAAAG.
Intellectual=Mental activity, thoughts, ideas, morals, values.
Actual=actions, behaviors, speech, body language, expressions, eye contact.
Social=those actions which others witness and the social systems a human is involved in, beginning with family, school, clubs, employment, churches, recreation, neighborhood, city, state country.
Physical=the eleven physical systems of the body. Muscular, skeletal, circulatory, nervous, lymphatic, endocrine, reproductive, digestive, excretory, respiratory, and hormonal.
Spiritual: The center of a human, the core, the essence from which all energy and life flows.
Volitional: The power of will, free will, the exercise of choice, the system responsible for choosing how energy from the spiritual core is spent and directed.
Emotional: Emotions and feelings. There are only six emotions or feelings. An acronym tool used to remember them is SHAAAG. S=Sad, H=Hurt, A=Angry, A=Afraid, A=Ashamed, G=Glad.
Intellectual: Mental, logic, analysis, morals, values, taboos, abstract reasoning, thoughts.
Actual: Actions, speech, tone of voice, body language, inflection, eye contact, and movement, vocal, behavioral.
Social: Family, relationships, employment, leisure, recreational, church
Physical: The body, organs, nine systems of the body. Respiratory, Circulatory, Endocrine, Limbic, Reproductive, Skeletal, Muscular, Sensory, Digestive. CNS, PNS.
In 1956 the American Medical Association (AMA) declared Addiction to alcohol and other drugs, to be a disease. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) followed the AMA, in 1960. Addiction to AOD qualifies as a disease by meeting the following criteria:
1. Primary: The illness exists in and of itself. (But may manifest in addition to other illnesses.) Cause unknown, etiology undetermined.
2. Chronic: Does not go away, heal spontaneously or remit.
3. Progressive: Over time it gets worse.
4. Systematic: Causes disease in other bodily systems.
5. Symptomatic: Can be diagnosed by the way it manifests in a person's psychology, physiology, behavior and lifestyle.
6. Fatal: If left untreated will result in premature death.
7. Treatable: Proven changes do result in the ability to live without the abused substance.
Development of an addiction begins with the voluntary decision to use drugs. No one starts out hoping to become an addict, but as one uses over a lengthy period of time, control of use decreases proportionately.
One who is initially a voluntary user can become a compulsive and obsessive drug user, or addict. An ever-increasing body of scientific evidence suggests that the transition from voluntary user to addict occurs through a combination of processes, including a series of brain changes affecting neuro-transmitters (brain chemicals) that result from repeated drug use.
Addiction begins with a decision to use drugs (no one thinks they will become addicted), and the addict has to be actively involved in their own treatment for it to work.
That addiction is a disease helps explain why people need treatment; why most cannot just stop through exerted will power.
The will is the captain and moderator between the emotional and intellectual components, in the soul.
The intellectual component contains the conscience, values, mores, virtues, inhibitions and prohibitions and it is morals.
The emotional component contains the desires, passions, pleasures, vices and it is amoral.
The volitional harnesses and reigns in the powerful passionate urgings and cravings in the emotional and filters them through the intellectual component for the intellectual component must weigh and form these passions into appropriate eventual potential actual events.
The conscience, posited in the highest realms of consciousness, if properly formed, is the judge and jury between the seemingly warring factions of the soul.
Most if not all drugs, whether, sedatives, stimulants or psychedelic have a pleasure stimulating and pain diminishing property. In that vein, all drugs kill and deaden pain and heighten pleasure.
For any drug to deaden pain it must act upon the highest realm of consciousness, it numbs the cerebral cortex. In affecting this part of the brain, it inadvertently also begins to put the conscience, morals, values and virtues to sleep, or relegates it to not an active judge and jury, but an observational role.
This disintegrates the cohesion that naturally exists between the three components of the soul, the volitional, emotional, and intellectual. This cohesion is called integrity. Mood altering drugs disintegrate this unity. Once the conscience becomes an observer the vices, passions and pleasure seeking emotional component trumps the intellectual.