Addiction Services for York Region believes in a holistic perspective of addiction in both its etiology and the resulting treatment approaches. Addiction is a multifactoral interaction between biological, psychological, social and spiritual factors. These various aspects of addiction must be viewed simultaneously.
We acknowledge it is important not only to focus on the addiction behavior itself, but to focus on the person in whom the addiction arises. A holistic approach places the person as the central focus. The person is bigger than and is not defined by the addiction behavior.
Addiction is not viewed within the individual alone, but rather within the context of total system of relationships, including one’s physiology, family, and the society culture. Addiction is defined in relational terms as an unhealthy relationship between the person and the substance / activity / experiences. Addiction can function as a coping mechanism while contributing to negative consequences and their recurrence.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS, CLICK THE LINKS BELOW:
According to the DSM-IV ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), 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 acknowledges that the term addiction can be interpreted as being stigmatizing. It is not our intent to perpetuate stigmas associated with this term but rather we hope to use addiction as a term to encompass different behaviors associated with substance misuse and gambling behaviors.
The Government of Canada has endorsed a multifactoral biopsychosocial model called the determinants of Health. It has used this model to develop the Health Promotion Strategy and Canada’s Drug Strategy
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