PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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I
HEALTH AND DISEASE
5
Mankind has long noticed both temporary and permanent effects that habit-forming drugs have on their lives. Alcoholic intoxication, for example, is a well-known temporary behaviour disorder. Some persons weep and are depressed ; others become excited and aggressive. Alcohol releases inhibitions and lowers the individual's ability to judge, to discriminate, and to control his behaviour. Chronic alcoholism sometimes results in more permanent symptoms. These may include hallucinations, delusions, loss of memory and general mental deterioration. Other habit-forming drugs such as morphine, heroin and cocaine cause lethargy and a pleasantly dreamy state while their effects last. After the drug has worn off, severe restlessness, anxiety and inability to concentrate are experienced by the habitual user.
In many instances the habitual use of alcohol and even of more damaging drugs is the result rather than the cause of maladjustment. Because drugs offer an escape from the awareness of unpleasant situations, they are frequently utilized as defence mechanisms. Many habitual drunkards continue their use of alcohol because of a persistent need for relief from adjustive difficulties. This psychological factor is probably as important in the causation of chronic drug addiction as is the more usually emphasized one of physiological habit. Even when medical treatment has cured a drug habit, many addicts relapse after a short time because their emotional need for the drug has not been eliminated. Mental hygiene and adjustive treatment are necessary to remove the handicaps of personality that make the drug necessary as an escape mechanism.
Some internal toxic conditions, either general or localized, may influence traits of personality. Local infections such as those arising from infected teeth,