Breaking Free from Addiction: Three paths toward recovery

illustration by Annie Internicola

illustration by Annie Internicola

For addiction medicine specialist Mark Willenbring, MD, no two cases are exactly alike. There are the middle-aged women who tip back five or six drinks a day; most of the time they’re functional and nobody knows they have a problem. There are the young people hooked on opiates, seeking a swift way to nix their habit in this age of instant gratification. For a growing number of addicted adults, the substance of choice is a prescription drug like Vicodin, often available from ill patients who sell their surplus on the side for easy cash. And then there are those with severe alcohol dependency who will consume a liter of vodka a day, or the equivalent of 24 drinks; if they keep going, they’re headed down a deadly road toward cirrhosis of the liver or pancreatitis. Read article