Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another entry in "The Opinion Zone"...tell me what you think of this!

In light of the weirdness in my personal life (regarding news of an addiction), I ran across this article in Yahoo! News. Click here to read the article without Sudie-ish interruptions.

A comment from a new reader of mine had me thinking. Yes, I know I'm working without tools again, but hear me out on this one. Here is the comment that was left:

Not a dork. Codependent, maybe, but definitely not a dork. He's not capable of seeing what an amazing friend you are.

Being a recovering person myself, today I can say that I am grateful to the people who cared enough to give me reality checks, even though it took a LONG time for some of those to filter through my denial, anger, sadness, ego, etc, etc, etc.

But friendship only goes so far. No reason for anyone to put up with abuse.
I wrote back to this guy, thanking him personally for such an insightful comment. He answered, and I really felt like he taught me something.

However, this trend has me pricking up my ears's the first couple paragraphs of the article:

In a search for what could be the ultimate cure for drug addiction, scientists have developed a vaccine which prevents the body from getting high.

The hope is that it can stop people from falling back into a spiral of addiction if they have a relapse. could have knocked me over with a feather and a slight wind on that one.

Wouldn't THAT be a get a shot that renders things like this ineffective. It's not the same as Antabuse, because someone can just stop taking the pills. It's not the same as methadone either - people have figured out to combine methadone and benzodiazepenes (i.e. Xanax, Valium, etc) to get a high.

This prevents the effects. The process is explained, and hell, even I can understand it!

"The vaccine slowly decreases the amount of cocaine that reaches the brain," said Thomas Kosten, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who has been working on the vaccine since 1995.

"It's a slow process, and patients do not go through any significant withdrawal symptoms."

The vaccine works by getting the body's immune system to recognize the drug as foreign and attack it in the blood stream.

It does so by injecting an altered version of the drug into the body which has been attached to a protein that the body will recognize as a threat.

"The body then says, 'This is a foreign article. I should start making antibodies to it,'" Kosten said in a telephone interview.

The cocaine molecules eventually pass through the kidneys and are excreted through the urine.

That stops the drug from reaching the brain and producing a sought-after high.

OK - this is a WONDERFUL thing. It really is. If this vaccine reaches its potential, the possibilities are endless. Addicts can get their lives back over time.

But here's my question, and since I'm not a drug or alcohol addict I might be off base. Please TELL me if I'm full of s**t or whatever, because I simply don't know.

The question is this: Will the concept of "mental addiction" be forgotten?

Here's what I mean...someone who's been an addict, no matter what kind of addict (shopping, gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc...), pursues their addiction mentally/emotionally as well as physically. Right?

They partake to fill an emotional void of some kind. They feel that their life itself is missing something, and the item/activity they engage in fills that void - at least, temporarily. After a while, the addiction becomes the only thing for the body and the mind. NOTHING is as important as chasing whatever dragon has its hooks in a person. Jobs, houses, family, friends...all of them fall by the wayside.

So if this vaccine addresses the physical part of drug/alcohol addiction that's half the battle won. But what about the rest of it? What about the emotional need/mental need...i.e., "what am I without the drug/alcohol of choice? Can I do ANYTHING without it? Will I be a worthwhile person? "

That's what I constantly have to remember, and I'm not a drug/alcohol addict. My problem is shopping. But no matter what the "beast" is, the root (at least how I understand it) is "filling the void".

I hope that this discovery doesn't leave the mental/emotional needs behind, otherwise the process will be right back where it started.

I want to know your opinions, folks...what do you think of this discovery? Share with me...I really want to know your thoughts.

PS: So much for me not having any ideas for posts, huh?