5/16/2018 Assignment 1 History of AOD Gabriel Gherasim
1) What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder? The short description of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is incurring damaging effects on the infant, generated by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The most severe form of the condition is known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Other types include partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), alcohol-related neuro-developmental disorder (ARND) and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). The effects include but are not limited to, physical malformation, mental retardation, skeletal and major organ inhibited growth and dysfunctions, nervous system and poor motor skills problems, difficulties with learning, poor social interaction and premature death. Because of the disclaimer by alcoholic companies on their products’ labels in this regard, the consumers (including pregnant women) are considered as having an informed consent on these risks and therefore, the alcohol producers claim immunity from prosecution. The same applies with tobacco and big pharmaceutical producers. Therefore, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the adult (in this case the pregnant mothers) in choosing to abstain from consuming the product. The argument has been made that because the consumer is addicted a priori to her pregnancy, she may react (get the fix) rather than respond (use logical decisions) to the alcoholic product, thus not being responsible for intoxicating the fetus with alcohol. Unfortunately, ever since the Nuremberg Trials, once the company provided disclaimer on the risks awaiting the consumer following the consumption of its product, the company usually becomes legally immune from prosecution.
2) How does Nicotine affect one’s health? Nicotine is the chief active constituent of tobacco. It acts as a stimulant in small doses, but in larger amounts blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells. Nicotine is also used in insecticides. Nicotine was considered by the natives of the Americas to be a sacred plant and was considered by the Catholic Church as early as 1588 to be incompatible with the priestly duties and was therefore forbidden to the priests before the celebration of the Mass. The differences between its religious use by the natives and the inveterate smokers are quantity and frequency. For the natives’ shamans, nicotine (as well as other “sacred” plants), this was supposed to be used in a guided and controlled (limited) manner (the religious and official ceremonies); for the compulsive smoker it is obsessive and therefore, unlimited. A New York Times 1883 article linked the decaying of Spain (and soon to be of the United States) to the very compulsive custom of smoking. In today’s American lore, smoking is allowed from prisons to rehabilitation centers, including by individuals affected with incurable diseases. The issue of responsibility for the devastating damages of nicotine effects on the consumers’ lives was revisited in 1988, when a family of a smoker and lung cancer victim received by jury decision $ 400,000.00 in compensation from tobacco industry magnates. The argument remains as with the alcohol and pharmaceutical producers, that if the companies put labels with appropriate disclaimers of possible side-effects along the products which they are selling, the consumers are ultimately responsible for the devastating effects of consuming their products. This argument may not be sustained however, if individuals get hurt by second-hand smoking, since the latter had no choice in the consumption (by proxy) of these noxious products. Forcing versus seducing (advertisements, based on informed consent) consumption of intoxicating substances, may ultimately be the dividing line between routine successful versus routine unsuccessful law suits against addictive and toxic substance producers. Lastly, there may be the need of a more clear distinction to be made of the government encouraging drug use in some cases and for some populations, usually in combat zones (Civil War soldiers and their opium kits; WWI and WWII soldiers and sailors using rum and cigarettes; Vietnam War soldiers using opium; Afghan and Iraq Wars soldiers using psychotropic medications) and discouraging the very same use of addictive substances, such as with the civilian population. This dichotomy of policies is confusing and discrediting to the citizens, especially when these substances are addictive and therefore very hard to interrupt usage of on command.
5/17/2018 Assignment 2 Fath Based Approaches Gabriel Gherasim
Criticisms to Faith based Approaches: how such framework will compete with, be linked to, or be integrated with the mainstream system of addiction treatment? Before discussing faith based addiction treatment, I shall like to discuss faith based use of psychedelic, stimulant and/or sedative substances. From the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms, to the Indian Soma, to tobacco, cannabis, opium, coffee, chocolate, alcohol and ayahuasca, religions have been actively involved in the employment of mood altering substances to produce ecstatic experiences and therefore communicate with and become closer to the divine. The difference between religious faith-based use of mood-altering substances and the abuse of the addict of the very same substances consists in the setting, frequency, and purpose of them. For the religious use, mood-altering drugs are used in a guided and limited fashion (i.e. controlled). For the addict, with his chaotic, compulsive and “recreational” use, control of use is unthinkable or unreachable. It is therefore quite telling that faith based rehabilitation centers, from AA/NA to church based programs dictate “0” tolerance of use for the recovering addict, since he would not and could not understand using the mood altering substance in a “guided and limited” fashion. This is because the addict could not keep his word of using the mood-altering substance while being in control of the substance; rather, it is the other way around. The word addict means just that in Latin: A-Dictus (not keeping his word). The dis-ease (not being at ease) theory treats drug addiction as a morality free condition, in strict biological, chemical and chemical terms. While this paradigm protects the recovering addict from any judgments from lay and professionals alike, it also protects him from taking ownership of his drug use. This may create a “learned helplessness” mentality in the individual, with disempowering effects on his reasons as to why he’s using, since… it’s his illness. While there is no question that the medical and genetic theories may explain the physical and physiological aspects which may indeed affect upwards of 50% of the reasons for his addiction, the 50% remaining social and personal accountability (perception) aspects respectively, remain unanswered and unused in a person’s recovery and sobriety. Behavioral and socio-cultural theories may explain the sociological aspects of one’s addiction, which may engage upwards of 10% of his rationale for addiction and answer the “people, places, tings and time” aspects of his compulsive use. Yet the remaining 40%, i.e. one’s perception, which incidentally is in most cases 100% in the individual’s control, is where most benefic effects to recovery may be seen through personal efforts: In fact, the 50-10-40% Formula Happiness states that: it’s not just your geneshttp://www.forastateofhappiness.com/tag/50-10-40-formula/
It is at this point where faith based recovery can do marvels. A belief in purpose, positive purpose and healing out of love (which includes [self] forgiveness of wrongs perceived by fact or imagination), allows a catharsis of negativity (from regret, to fear, to anger) and for the scarred individual to replenish the void left by those emotions with the emotions of love, joy, humor and peace. As long as the faith based movements and the clinical based programs emphasize therefore recovery out of love, as opposed to out of duty, fear and/or guilt, then the healing is done for the right reasons. It then becomes more durable, pleasant and transfigurative in nature, where addiction is replaced by diction (speaking out and being able to keep one’s word), obsession is replaced by compassion and avoidance of life and purpose by embracing both life and purpose. Forgiveness, which is tantamount to healing for addicts, without faith/spirituality, may be possible for rational reasons as well. Some clinical benefits of forgiveness include, but are not limited to: 1. Forgiving, looked upon as strength, rather than a weak act. 2. Use forgiveness as a practical or psychological tool rather than just as an abstract or spiritual dogma. 3. Understanding the value of forgiveness in reshaping the perception of past, present and future experiences. 4. Understanding the benefits of forgiveness both internally and externally. 5. Concentrating on the good side rather than on the evil side of human beings. 6. Understanding that survivors are outsiders no more, being active participants in restorative justice measures. 7. Have a desire to heal broken relationships. 8. Use past suffering memories as cathartic rather than an immutable reliving of painful experiences. 9. Understanding the scapegoating mechanism and that the victim was not at fault for going through such suffering. 10. Offering self-acceptance and praise for enduring unwarranted suffering. 11. Separate actions from the perpetrators (forgive the perpetrator but not the crime). 12. Use personal ordeals to work for justice. 13. Create justice first and then expect reconciliation. 14. Be an active participant in restorative justice measures. 15. Receive reparations commensurate with the crimes and seek conviviality but not necessarily communion between victims/perpetrators (Gherasim, G. Theodor and Us, Ginta Latina, Romania Pp. 33-34). The person centered approach will dictate ultimately the best suited approach for the recovering addict.
5/21/2018 Essay: Why are we addicted?
The bio-psycho-social model addresses both the comprehensive healing effects of addiction treatment, as well as, the possible causes for addiction. Biological, genetic and/or chemical causes of addiction may indeed trigger and/or exacerbate the intensity of one’s addiction, even while sociological and/or psychological causes stay the same. Similarly, a family and environmental exposure to drugs and violence, may be a precipitating factor in one’s addiction, which are summarized as people, places and things (with my adding the time factor) triggers by the AA/NA participants. The psychological factor’s of one’s internal perception and interpretation of her world is paramount to resiliency. It is at this dimension where the individual may change and in so doing may change her world. Dr. Constantin Dulcan, a famous neurologist from Romania described this connection between the kind of thoughts we entertain and how it affects us, by stating: Let us be aware of our THOUGHTS, for they will become our EMOTIONS. Let us be aware of our EMOTIONS, for they will become our WORDS. Let us be aware of our WORDS, for they will become our ACTIONS. Let us be aware of our ACTIONS, for they will become our HABITS. Let us be aware of our HABITS, for they will become our PERSONALITY. Let us be aware of our PERSONALITY, for it will become our DESTINY. (Dr. Constantin Dulcan, Reteta Fericirii, Gandul, Bucharest, Romania, 2016). One example of perceiving our worlds, as Dan Puric, an internationally acclaimed Romanian actor, dancer and commentator discussed, is our paradigm on our connection to the society in which we live (Puric, Dan, Omul Frumos, Editura Libris, Bucharest, Romania, 2009). He postulates that if a person sees herself as part of a population, her interest is very minimal in regards to society. Her approach to the rest of the people is very individualistic, a ‘winner takes it all,’ ‘me, myself and I’ attitude. However, if the same person sees herself as being part of a people, then her sense of identity is fused with the society in which she lives (in terms of preset, past and future values of that culture). A sense of quasi automatic empathy is generated and the person thinks, feels and acts in terms of ‘we.’ A sense of community brings an implicit and explicit responsibility and expectation that one’s actions benefited both her interests AND the interests of her ‘people.’ We can surmise that man versus population will think, feel and act only for his benefit, regardless of the cost to others, whereas man and his people, will permeate his existence, in some cases leading to his supreme sacrifice for his community. People, ideologies, politics and religions, have thus acquired supporters who will transcend individuals, places, things and time, in order to experience that addictive feeling of ‘belonging’ so dear to human beings, since the beginning of time. They would thus become true believers (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1951). In order for people to feel that they have fully meaningful lives, they seek and try to find validation on four dimensions: intra-personal; inter-personal; intra-group; inter-group. The intra-personal dimension is introversive in nature and covers areas of our identity which we find within; essentially, our thoughts (beliefs, perceptions), feelings and physiology. The inter-personal dimension is extroversive and it involves our one-on-one communication with other individuals. The intra-group communication is extroversive and it involves our functioning within our communities. The inter-group communication, also extroversive, deals with our functioning in new or otherwise unfamiliar groups. An American expression often equaled to defeatism states: “it is what it is.” While the journalists will be quick to list this as a circular argument logical fallacy, the truth of the matter is that even if this statement is taken at face value, it is not true. In fact, what’s more realistic is to state: it is how we PERCEIVE it to be. Therefore, particularly in a circumstance where we cannot change a fact, we can change the perception of it from negative into a positive one and therefore, we can think, feel, talk and act differently in regard to that situation. Let’s take a pen and poke our finger with it. Let’s call that a sensation. How we think, feel and act about it depends entirely on whether we perceive that sensation as ticklish, painful, annoying, amusing, or pleasant. Even in an extreme case such as having one’s body being whipped with vengeance, the sensations from it usually perceived as being painful are sometimes perceived by some people as a pleasurable experience. A flourishing industry of dominatrix people, getting paid a good penny by such individuals to hurt them, stands testimony to this fact. We can visualize a fact/sensation as the content in a bottle and the perception, as the bottle itself (context, container). The saying cautioning us: “not to judge a book by its cover,” is telling on how manipulation of the context by the advertisement industries can induce us to buy inferior products (content), often at an inflated price, based on their glorious, external presentation (context/container). Similarly, we can try to ‘manipulate’ the context/perception of our paradigms, related to this or that situation, which we may be facing mandatorily, by reframing how we look at them, that is to say, from a negative into a positive perspective. Our context/perception is in our control, provided that we are reasonably sane in mind and calm. In today’s Western societies we are often encouraged, if not tempted to seek and find instant gratification for our desires. In counseling terms, this is called the P.I.G. (the Problem of Instant/Immediate Gratification). This is a problem because instant gratification can and does address the symptoms of our desires but hardly ever the core or the cause of them. Let’s take the example of a head-ache. If I want instant relief, I go to a doctor who gives me medication. I take the pill which numbs my head-ache. Problem solved. But is it solved? Not really. For as soon as the effects of the medications go away, the head-ache reappears. This means that I have to take another pill to numb the symptom (the head-ache). The headache is there and I simply manage it by taking pills in perpetuity. However, if I want to come to a resolution rather than management of the head-ache, I seek the cause of the head-ache and I try to eliminate it. Without a cause for the head-ache, there is no head-ache. For example, if I eat salty foods which give me high blood-pressure, which in turn constrict the blood vessels in the head and which give me head-aches, I go on a low-salt diet. Following the diet, the blood pressure normalizes, the blood vessels don’t get constricted anymore, which means that there is no more head-ache. By eliminating the cause of the head-ache there is no more head-ache. Whether this approach is taken to address physiological problems or in regards to psychological problems, it is just as successful and permanent in its results. It should be said that a resolution approach takes usually longer than the management approach in showing results. Sometimes, both techniques are being used in addressing a problem but very often, today’s society and individuals opt for the immediate gratification/relief approach only, with its hopelessly temporary and insufficient effects and results. With this distinction in mind, we can reframe our approach to our problems from management to resolution, in a wide array of areas, from stress and pain management, to their respective resolutions, which lead to long-term if not permanent beneficial effects. 6/6/2018 Assignment # 11 Gabriel Gherasim Pick a personality disorder and write about it. Dissociative Personality Disorders and Wrongful Convictions. Dissociative Personality Disorders can negatively affect factual testimony, when the “facts” are being loosely interpreted by a jury, where ‘she says/he says’ is enough to warrant a conviction of an innocent person, by his/her peers and allow the actual guilty party (if existent) to go free in the process. DSM IV squarely defines a personality disorder as: personality traits which are inflexible, maladaptive, and cause either significant impairment in social or occupational functioning or subjective (slanted, biased etc) distress.” (our emphasis). In the subjective/objective tandem evaluation of our reality, a certain degree of bias is expected at the subjective level. When judgments and convictions are being dispensed based on subjective perceptions…under the guise of objective findings, it’s just a matter of time when a person affected by a dissociative personality disorder may display dissociative amnesia, and quite confidently emit accusations from the witness stand which are factually false, let alone “proven beyond reasonable doubt.” The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) has a number of changes to dissociative disorders, including dissociative identity disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the publisher of the DSM-5, the diagnostic criteria for dissociative identity disorder have been updated: Symptoms of disruption of identity may now be reported, as well as observed Gaps in the recall of events may occur for everyday events — not just traumatic events (our emphasis). So, if dissociative amnesia, a possible byproduct of the dissociative identity disorder is creating “gaps in the recall of events which may occur for everyday events-not just traumatic events,” how much more plausible is it then that this form of disorder may render an inaccurate narrative from the plaintiff, when the setting was in traumatic environments (people, places, things and -added by me- time)? A good filter to distinguish accurate versus misperceived testimonies would be to condition the narratives to corroboration from scientific resources (such as a positive or negative rape-kit results, DNA match or lack thereof and of other incriminating or exonerating forensic data. The problem is that jurors are not being properly schooled (they are only informed) on the applied responsibilities they have as “considering a person innocent, until proven…” Therefore, with immunity insured, they may turn in a large number of wrongful convictions based only on the plaintiff’s testimony and (often) self-contradicting at that (especially when affected by dissociative disorder related recollections of facts). Even when defense attorneys request permission from judges to bring as expert witness, a psychiatrist who may explain the above, the judge may at his/her discretion refuse such testimony, and explaining all the possible incongruities in the plaintiff’s testimony as “naturally occurring following a traumatic event.” With the added presence of substance abuse in the individual prior, during and/or following a traumatic event, the accuracy of the evocation of the facts is even more clouded by the bio-chemical, genetic, social, and perceptional variables of the plaintiff. The checks and balances of the justice system become only symbolic, when they are being shoved aside when inconvenient, by the jurors, the judge and the Police/courts in general. It takes years, sometimes decades, for a wrongfully convicted individual, solely based on the often self-contradicting statements of a plaintiff affected by dissociative amnesia, to redress this injustice; many don’t. And unlike exoneration given by the irrefutable proof of DNA clearance, convictions based on accusations alone, have no factual remedy to seek, since they are perception based accusations. Unless the defendant is able to prove a negative, which is close to impossible at times, convictions based on false charges from plaintiffs affected by a personality dissociative disorder (including dissociative amnesia), are going to continue leaving a steady trail of wrongful convictions in the American Courts.