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Addiction and Substance Abuse

My husband admits he needs help.

03/23/2009

Question:

My husband is currently in jail for violation of probation. He was on probation for possesion of drugs. He has been giving drugs like marijuana, ice, coke, which are just a few since he was 9 years old until about one year ago. When he was 16, he had a drug overdose and died. The paramedics revived him, but the hospital let him go that night without running tests or doing anything else. When he got out, he wasn`t the same person and it didn`t help that his mother helped provide his drugs and it just got worse over the years. He still smokes pot, but that`s the extent of it now. He`s been in and out of jail for the last several years. Now he`s started stealing from everyone around him. He has a big heart and he`s a good person, but he has a lot of problems that go back from his early years with being raised around drugs, alcohol, and violence, manipulation, ect. Should he have a mental evaluation done to see what the big problem is? He`s told me he has a problem and he wants help, but we don`t have any clue on where to start.

Answer:

Thank you very much for your excellent and heart-felt question.  There are several things that might help at this point:

1) An evaluation from a psychiatrist would certainly be a good idea. So called "mental" problems do not cause addiction, but the mental problems can make it hard for a person with addiction to stay sober. So finding out if there is a mental problem and trying to get it treated at the same time as his addiction is treated can be very helpful. The one danger is to be sure that the professional doing the mental evaluation is fully aware of his addiction problems and that they do NOT prescribe him addictive of "controlled" drugs.

2) The fact that your husband continues to smoke pot is a real problem. Any person with addiction who continues to use addictive drugs (like pot), will continue to have addiction problems. He really needs to quite smoking pot!

3) He sounds like he might be able to take part in one or more of the "pre-release" or "drug-court" programs that help to treat and monitor addiction in people who are incarcerated or being released.

Hope this helps.

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Response by:

Ted   Parran, MD Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University