Addiction is a disease, and addiction treatment programs can help people recover. Leading doctors and scientists believe this is the most accurate way to understand addiction, and so do we.
The damage that addiction causes in people’s lives is physical, mental, and spiritual. We address this damage and help people find comprehensive recovery by providing a holistic, individualized approach to addiction treatment.
Evidence-Based Treatment Using ASAM Criteria
At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we provide addiction treatment services that are based on criteria established by the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
We put ASAM criteria into practice whenever we perform assessments to evaluate someone’s substance use. We also use the criteria to recommend a certain level of care in our programming. The levels of care we offer are:
Understanding Addiction is a Disease
Addiction is a disease by the definition of clinicians, doctors, and scientists who work in the field of addiction medicine. This includes the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Research shows that repeated substance use causes changes in the brain. It even compromises the brain’s ability to function normally. These injuries to brain function can make it difficult for a person to stop using substances on their own.
Repeated substance use makes a person’s brain less sensitive to rewards and to feeling good. The feelings of pleasure associated with substance use (and with other things in life that make us feel good) are caused by dopamine, a brain chemical. Using addictive substances over time makes these brain circuits imbalanced, and a person needs more and more dopamine to feel good, or even to feel normal. Natural rewards, like hanging out with friends or other enjoyable activities, don’t feel good anymore.
Repeated substance use makes a person’s brain more sensitive to stress. Certain brain pathways control our response to stressful situations. In the brain of a person with addiction, these pathways become overactive, and the person feels very stressed when they aren’t using substances.
Repeated substance use weakens the parts of a person’s brain that help with good decision making. Addiction causes changes to the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that makes decisions and controls impulses. This is why a person continues patterns of substance use, even when there are so many good reasons to stop. Addiction has made the process of impulse control much, much more difficult. One of the most defining symptoms of addiction is the loss of control over substance use, signaling that damage has been done to a person’s brain.
The brains of young people are especially sensitive to these damaging effects, because a person’s brain is not done developing until they are in their early 20s.
Compassionate Care at Spokane Falls Recovery
You wouldn’t blame someone with asthma or diabetes for having health problems or argue with them about why they are unwell. You would treat them with compassion for the suffering they experience because of their illness, and you would encourage them to find the help they need to live in healthier ways. We believe the same thing should happen for people who have addictions: they should be treated with care, empathy, and compassion. We don’t believe that shaming people results in healthy outcomes. We too believe that addiction is a disease, and those struggling should experience compassion and trustworthy care.
At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we have created a place where individuals feel safe, seen, heard, and respected. Because many of our clinicians and leadership have personal experience with addiction and treatment, we can share the strength and hope of our own journeys with sobriety and recovery with people who are fighting to take their lives back from addiction. We can offer support and understanding as people learn the life skills they need to manage their own illness and remain healthy over the long term.
We have seen how treating people with compassion, love, and understanding encourages them to accept help. It also helps them make the choices they need for long-term recovery. This is one part of what we mean when we say recovery is life-changing.