Freeing yourself from addiction: an illness and not a moral weakness

Freeing yourself from addiction: an illness, not a moral weakness


Based on the most recent scientific, clinical and epidemiological data, doctors Patrick Bordeaux and George F. Koob provide an overview of the addiction cycle, explaining the deep roots of this chronic brain disease in their new book, Breaking Free From Addiction. For these experts, when you are addicted, you do not consume to feel good, but to stop feeling bad.

The dynamic work for the general public, embellished with simple and playful illustrations by Mélanie Baillargé, explains the cycle of addiction, addictive substances and behaviors (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis , opioids, psychostimulants, gambling, online video games, internet), then presents the possible treatments and means of prevention.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Patrick Bordeaux explains that he has known Dr. George F. Koob, a world authority on addiction, for a long time. 

“I noticed, during my career, that when we explained to patients and their families what an addiction was, how it worked, and that it really was an illness and not a moral weakness, they recovered much better. They responded much better. They blamed themselves for it. So they decided to make a book for the general public.

The Damage of Fentanyl 

In the book Breaking Free From Addiction, addiction experts explain how addiction, unlike addiction, leads to in the victim a loss of control and sows chaos in all spheres of his life, in addition to causing major damage in those around him.

In his practice, Dr. Bordeaux, a child psychiatrist, meets patients under 18 years old. “Most of my patients, in the clinical experience that I can have, thank God, in Quebec, we are mainly in tobacco, electronic cigarettes, cannabis. Fortunately, I haven't had many patients in my practice who have had problems with fentanyl or methamphetamine. I have some, but I have few, thank God, for the moment.

“Fentanyl is a plague. You know, it's a hundred times more powerful than morphine and accidents – overdoses – are very common. It's awful. »

He gives as an example a spine-chilling story that took place in Washington, USA. “A lot of times what users are taking is cut with fentanyl and they don't know it. A young teen smoked pot at a party with friends for the first time. She found herself in the emergency room minutes away from having to be intubated because she couldn't breathe, and not understanding because pot, yes, high concentrations of THC can have unforeseen effects, but no to send someone with respiratory failure. We found out that there was fentanyl. And then, several days later, the dealer was arrested near a school and it was found that he was cutting his pot with fentanyl. »

The dark side of addiction 

Dr. Bordeaux explains that when a person starts taking a substance to feel good, the effect does not last long. “Very quickly, you take it so you don't feel bad. This is what George calls “the dark side of addiction”. Patients who have a use problem are never well. »

The child psychiatrist adds that there are treatments, but that they are, in his opinion, underused. “You have barely 25% of people in the United States – and it's the same in Canada – who have an opiate use problem and are being treated for it. There are three medications for alcohol and only about 8% of the population that could benefit from using them. It's very, very, under-contracted. » 

♦ Drr Patrick Bordeaux is a child psychiatrist.

< strong>♦ He is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Laval University.

♦ He is an active speaker in Quebec and on the international scene .

♦ He graduated from the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM).

♦ Jean-Marie Lapointe and Patrick J. Kennedy sign the preface.


Addiction has its origins in the search for a way to escape the harsh and monotonous reality of our daily lives, to experience an instant feeling of success. This often leads us to find refuge in a virtual or artificial mode. We tirelessly try to find ways to escape pain, suffering, hunger and deprivation. »

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