Everyone with a medical condition has behavioral choices to make. Someone with diabetes, for example, has behavioral choices to make regarding the amount of sugar they consume. They are aware that if they choose to eat a bag of candy or a bowl of ice cream their health is at risk. Someone with a heart condition knows that they have to make major lifestyle changes to prevent cardiac arrest or another potentially fatal condition. People with heart conditions have to change their lifestyle to include more stress management and stress reduction, while also changing their food choices to include less harmful fats which hurt the arteries. Both people with diabetes and heart conditions make poor behavioral choices when it comes to their medical concerns. They eat the wrong foods, knowing that there will be negative consequences. Despite repeated hospital visits, doctor’s warnings, severe medical issues, and the pleas from their families, there is no convincing some people to stop behaving in ways that hurt them medically.
Now, take addiction into consideration. Addiction is a medical issue. Addicts and alcoholics who want to recover from their addiction also have behavioral choices to make. Namely, they have to choose, on a daily basis, not to participate in the behaviors of addiction which would trigger relapse. Most specifically, addicts and alcoholics in recovery have to make the behavioral choice not to pick up and use drugs and/or alcohol. For addicts and alcoholics there is the same risk medically. Drugs could cause an immediate fatal overdose. Alcohol could lead to the liver shutting down. There are known consequences to relapsing, like not being able to stop again. Lifestyle changes are also critical for addicts and alcoholics in recovery. Reducing stress and practicing stress management often does protect a weakened heart, but it also protects a weakened mind from craving drugs and alcohol.
Yet, somehow, there is a great disparity between the way patients with “medical” conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes get treated and the way patients with addiction issues get treated. Simply stated, that’s because addiction doesn’t get treated like a medical condition with behavioral issues. It’s simply treated as a behavioral choice, one that is shunned, shamed, stigmatized, and judged.
One day at a time, addicts and alcoholics in recovery are changing the way the world views addiction and recovery. By providing quality residential treatment programs and approaching the full scope of addiction as a medical and behavioral issue, Avalon By The Sea offers addicts and alcoholics a serene and safe location to fully heal their minds and bodies while creating the lifestyle changes they need to protect their health ongoing. For a confidential assessment and more information, call us today: 888-958-7511