The Concept of Dual Addiction
This research paper will focus on the concept of dual addiction specifically, that of alcohol addiction and simultaneous nicotine addiction. I should make note at this point of my personal interest in the addictive process is a result of the existence of addiction in my family. I have experienced and observed the chaos, hardships and tragedies in my family as a result of the progressive nature of the addiction process. First, I would like to provide a general definition of addiction. Addiction is the repetition of a behavior or behaviors in a habitual or obsessive manner in the face of continued or progressively worsening consequences. Twelve step programs have labeled it as a disease of the mind, body and spirit. There is a general consensus among those who are addicted that to stop or cease the addiction process is not a difficult task. It is the "staying stopped" or continued abstinence that constitutes the difficulty. Relapsing, unfortunately, is not uncommon among alcoholics and addicts. Addiction does not only include the use of mind altering substances such as alcohol, street drugs, and prescription drugs, but can include an addiction to gambling, sex, work and compulsive spending. All of these in the light of continued practice may result in the impairment of physical, emotional, occupational as well as personal relationships. It is also possible if not probable, that many individuals experience an addiction to two or more behaviors or substances. The abstinence from one addiction may result in the usage of another addictive substance or behavior. This has also been called the cross addiction, or dual addiction.
There are many definitions of alcoholism, none of which is entirely satisfactory. For the purpose of this research paper, the alcoholic is best defined as someone whose drinking causes a continuing and growing problem in any aspect of his or her life, more specifically someone whose drinking is causing an increasing problems in the lives closest to them.
Alcohol addicts its victims both psychologically and physically. As the psychological addiction progresses, so does the physical dependency as well. Alcohol is consisted of both ethyl and methyl alcohol. The ethyl alcohol is what gives a person "feel good". Ethyl alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Methyl alcohol is similar to embalming fluid, takes longer to breakdown and is responsible for the morning after "hangover". The traditional "cure" for a hangover is to have another drink. Drinking more slows down the methyl alcohol while the body absorbs the ethyl alcohol, resulting in the person feeling good temporarily.
The research that has been reviewed for this paper has utilized the Vietnam Era Twin, (VET), Registry consisting 3356 pairs of male twins. These twins were born between January 1, 1939 and December 31, 1955 and served in the military on active duty during the Vietnam War era (1965-1975). This follows a...