What is addiction?

Addiction is a disorder involving a malfunction in the reward circuitry of the brain. This malfunction leaves addiction sufferers less able to experience pleasure from regular activities. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, an estimated 60% of addiction sufferers inherit this malfunction genetically, whereas the others are believed to have damaged their reward system through overuse.

Addiction sufferers attempt to compensate for their blunted ability to experience reward by seeking out substances or processes that increase pleasurable feelings. This repeated overstimulation of the brain’s reward circuitry produces chemical cascades to other parts of the brain affecting things like judgment and impulse control. This is why addiction sufferers feel that they cannot control their using – their addiction has actually damaged their ability to control the behaviours surrounding their addiction.

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms will not go away on their own and, without proper treatment, they will usually get worse.

Understanding Addiction

A modern understanding of addiction recognizes that this disease is more than just chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol. Indeed, process addictions, including compulsive engagement in eating, sex, technology use or gambling have been found to act on the same brain mechanisms as substance addictions.

The Cabin Group views all addictions as part of the same disorder. This ‘all addictions’ model of addiction treatment is supported by extensive research into the neurobiology of the disease. As such, our treatment method follows the same guidelines for the treatment of process and substance addictions, offering the best chance of lasting recovery.

Treatment Options – Outpatient vs Inpatient

Addiction can be treated in either inpatient or outpatient settings.

Individuals suffering from severe substance use disorder (drug and alcohol addiction) may require medically supervised detox as they endure unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. For these individuals, inpatient treatment at a residential rehab facility is the most appropriate option. Considered the ‘gold standard’ in addiction treatment, inpatient treatment is also most suitable for those who prefer to recover in an environment far removed from the triggers and stressors inherent in their daily lives. Inpatient treatment gives clients a break from the ‘real world’ allowing them to focus 100% of their attention and energy on healing from their addiction. Our general inpatient facility, The Cabin Chiang Mai, and our young men’s facility, The Edge, offer world-class residential treatment for all forms of addiction.

Outpatient addiction treatment, on the other hand, is an option for those who are suffering from an addiction but are still highly functional. These individuals live at home and receive addiction treatment from an outpatient facility or ‘dayhab’ while still maintaining much of their regular routine. Outpatient treatment provides the added bonus of allowing clients to put the skills learned in treatment into immediate practice in their daily lives.