Addiction is an unhealthy relationship with a substance or activity (such as alcohol, drugs or gambling). The relationship is unhealthy because individuals continues it more than they wish to despite the negative consequences.
For example, they continue to gamble despite being unable to afford it. They want to quit smoking, but are unable to stop. They can’t get through their day without painkillers, and find they need to take more and more to sustain the feeling.
According to the DSM-IV, three of the following criteria must be met to define an addiction:
Physical dependence is when the body adapts to the presence of a substance in such a way that it reacts when the substance level drops. The body is shocked by the change and can develop uncomfortable or painful reactions, such as shaking, headaches and nausea. Some drugs provide a chemical the body produces naturally, the way steroids provide testosterone. They body may stop producing its own, relying on the artificial supply and struggle to cope when the supply stops.
Psychological components are an important aspect of addiction. When someone decreases or stops using the substance/activity it can lead to anxiety or depression. Often, the substance or activity has been used to cope with stress, anxiety, sadness or some other emotional void – stopping the use returns the user to the original feelings that led them to the drug or activity in the first place.
The third component is Spiritual. Spirituality can be explained as having to do with making meaning of our life. It is the essence of our survival and that which keeps us committed to working through the struggles and pain we encounter in life. Those with addictions have often lost their connection to feeling a sense of moral fulfillment and have often lost fulfilling relationships with others. A person may look to distract themselves from, or numb themselves to, such feelings. As the dependence negatively affects one’s relationships and connection to society the spiritual dread deepens, driving the person further into the addiction.
We use a holistic biopsychosocial spiritual approach to help individuals and families to deal with addiction issues. Treatment is tailored to suit individual situations and needs. ASYR also uses harm-reduction as an approach to addiction treatment. Harm-reduction incorporates a spectrum of strategies, from lessening the harm to abstinence. We equally respect and support those who wish to reduce their gambling/substance use as those who choose to stop completely.
ASYR programs that can help people affected by an addiction:
Youth & Family program: This program provides support to youth (12 to 24 years old) and their families in York Region to help them make changes to the harmful use and impact of drugs/gambling in their lives
Adult program: This program provides support to adults (25 years old and up) in York Region to help them make changes to the harmful use and impact of drugs/gambling in their lives.
Umbrella program: This program provides support to women who are pregnant or with a child under 6-years-old in York Region to help them make changes to the harmful use and impact of drugs/gambling in their lives.
Mental and substance use disorders in Canada http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11855-eng.htm
Narcotic Drugs: Estimated World Requirements for 2013 / Statistics for 2011 http://www.incb.org/documents/Narcotic-Drugs/Technical-Publications/2012/Narcotic_Drugs_Report_2012.pdf
 Levels and Patterns of Alcohol Use in Canada http://www.ccsa.ca/2012%20CCSA%20Documents/CCSA-Patterns-Alcohol-Use-Policy-Canada-2012-en.pdf
Drug Use Among Ontario Students: 1977-2013 http://www.camh.ca/en/research/news_and_publications/ontario-student-drug-use-and-health-survey/Documents/2013%20OSDUHS%20Docs/2013OSDUHS_Detailed_DrugUseReport.pdf