Many people wonder why they are cursed with the disease of addiction. This question encourages the development of self-criticism due to an overload of feeling shame and guilt for actions derived from substance use. In the article The Hidden Link Between Autism and Addiction by Maia Szalavitz, a man’s story is explored through his struggles of heroin addiction and its connection to his undiagnosed Autism. Shane Stoner explores his addiction beginning in 2008, but it was not until 2013 when he was diagnosed with Autism, which developed understanding and acceptance of himself. Now over three years sober from mood-altering chemicals, Stoner is able to cope with the challenges he faces as an adult with autism, along with recognize personal strengths and weaknesses, to which enables his functioning as a motivated and productive man.
Adolescents and adults on the spectrum experience social difficulties, specifically high functioning autism. They struggle with identification and responses to various non-verbal forms of communication to include facial expressions, body expression and eye contact. Oftentimes, it is difficult for people on the spectrum to understand and express their own needs or interpret needs of others. For this reason, many adolescents and young adults turn to substance abuse, just the way Mr. Stoner did, as a way to alleviate symptomology of social anxiety. Not only do substances alleviate anxiety but also the interaction and spending time with chemically dependent persons, to whom we know that misery loves company.
Understanding mental health and disabilities takes a person steps closer to being able to cope and manage difficulties within their lives. The Kraft Group Inc. provides holistic support and education to clients and their families surrounding issues of mental illness, developmental disabilities and their connections to the disease of addiction. The Kraft Group Inc. specializes in co-occurring services to ensure an accurate understanding of our clients’ struggles and needed support. We recognize that addiction derives from three major attributes: Genetic Predisposition, Impulsivity and Trauma.
Ms. Szalavitz explores each of these three components exemplified in research she proves in her article. The genetic predisposition of addiction is formulated within family from generation to generation. In addition, recent exploration of addiction and autism found that these impairments share a genetic connection. Impulsivity, another attribute of addiction, is also a similarity in behavioral functioning in which autistic persons use to cope with their emotional interferences. The impulsive transaction of emotional outbursts or reliance on mood-altering chemicals, are ways in which persons with autism and addict condition themselves, to cope in stressful situations. Lastly, traumatic experiences are what heighten those reactions of impulsivity. The Kraft Group Inc. believes that a traumatic experience is simply an alteration of a life path that is unplanned. The Kraft Group Inc. is prepared to support a client diagnosed with a developmental disability, along with their family system, down the road to recovery, focusing on each of these life interferences.