Within the realm of addiction and recovery, there is a very well-known term: abstinence. Abstinence is the continued choice to no longer use drugs or alcohol or to take part in the kinds of activities that commonly lead to or are associated with drug or alcohol use.
This concept has been applied to other kinds of addictions that might not be chemically-based addictions, such as sex addiction. It might work well for some men and women in recovery from addiction, but not so well for others. This is because of the nature of addiction itself. Not only does the intensity of addiction and persistence of addiction differ from person to person, so does the drug of choice or lifestyle addiction concerned.
Pros of Abstinence Addiction Treatment
Most therapists, psychologists and counselors of those suffering from addiction have been trained to preach abstinence to their clients. However, as the medical community learns more about addiction, this inflexible theory of practice must become more yielding.
Here’s an example: It’s true that long-term and severe alcoholics suffer from a chemical imbalance as well as a mental obsession with alcohol. If they have just one drink, it might literally mean the end of their lives. This is because it often turns into a drinking binge that can only end one of a few ways: death, hospitalization or incarceration. Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts know this very well, and so do their counselors and psychiatrists.
It’s also true that some alcoholics and drug addicts are strong enough to be weaned off their drug of choice slowly and over time. This is where the rigid standard of abstinence has to become more mobile to suit individual needs.
Cons of Abstinence Addiction Treatment
When it comes to other types of addiction, the abstinence standard has to be reconsidered or at least be made more flexible. Addictions to sex, shopping and even exercise have to be treated differently.
It’s irrational to ask a person who is suffering from sex addiction to abstain from sex altogether. In this case, that would be going against human nature itself. The key to recovery would be moderation and controlled behavior through constant self-observation on the patient’s part, which would be guided by the counselor or psychiatrist.
The same can be said about addictions to smartphone technology and the internet. Numerous examples will prove that addiction treatment is just that, a treatment. Although it will take intense effort on the patient’s part, it will also take constant and creative efforts on those who provide recovery treatment.
Lorne Cross, MD is a healthcare professional from Portland, Oregon, who specializes in Addiction Medicine. It’s no secret that the United States is facing an opioid crisis. There are more lives lost to overdose deaths each year than were lost in the entire Vietnam War, and new data shows that opioids now kill more people each year than breast cancer. Understanding and treating the opioid crisis is of utmost importance to this country, and Dr. Cross has chosen to specialize in Addiction Medicine and focus all of his professional attention on this critical problem.
As the Medical Director of the Willamette Valley Treatment Center, Dr. Cross is the leader of a team that provides Medication Assisted Treatment to patients with Opioid Use Disorder. Lorne Cross, MD also serves as the Medical Director of a new Opioid Treatment Program in the Yamhill County Jail. Focusing on the treatment of opiate addiction, rather than punishment, can help to prevent relapse, decrease the rate of overdose deaths, and help to lower recidivism in the jail population, putting inmates on the right path upon release. Giving patients a path to recovery ultimately sets them up for more success in their futures.
Dr. Cross is hopeful as he looks into the future of treatment opportunities for opiate addiction. He sees the expansion of treatment into jails and prisons as a necessary step towards treating the opioid crisis and preventing unnecessary overdose deaths. Treating addiction with a rehabilitative approach is one of the best ways to reach out to those who truly need it most.
Senior Medical School Class Officer
Scholastic Honors Program Graduate
John Philip Sousa Award 1988
Years' Experience in Healthcare
Years Serving as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve
Published Research Articles
From the time he was a child, Lorne Cross, MD was always fascinated by medicine and the natural sciences. By the time he reached college he knew he wanted to attend medical school and pursue his medical degree. He graduated in the top third of his class from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and completed his medicine internship and his anesthesiology residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Loma Linda University is a coeducational health sciences university located in California. He is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Scholastic Honors Program at Southwestern Adventist College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology. Southwestern Adventist College is a small college, with an undergraduate enrollment of around 800 students, located in Texas.
Outside of work, Lorne Cross, MD likes to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. He is an avid cyclist and bicycle racer, while actively pursuing many other sports. Outside of spending time exercising, he also loves to travel to new locations and spend time with his two teenage children and family.