Drug addiction is a disorder that affects both behavior and brain chemistry. A person addicted to drugs is unable to resist using them even though drugs are causing severe harm. It’s not just substances and drugs like cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs that constitute addiction. People can even get hooked on things like nicotine, painkiller, alcohol, sleep, and anxiety medications.
Initially, most people use drugs because of the way they feel after using it. They may also think they’re in control of the frequency and the dosage. But, with time, regular usage can alter the brain chemistry leading to loss of total self-control over the drug and its usage. Prolonged usage can even lead to damaging behaviors and all kinds of mental and physical health issues.
Difference Between Abuse vs. Addiction
Abuse happens when a person uses illegal or harmful substances/drugs in ways they shouldn’t. You might start using them more frequently than necessary. In the absence of access to the drug, you may even steal someone else’s prescription. If you’re using drugs to ease stress, avoid reality, or feel good, that’s abuse. But, mostly with abuse the person is generally able to change their habits and stop using them at their will.
If you can’t stop using drugs, that means addiction has kicked in. Addiction is not related to financial or emotional ramifications or health troubles. The urge to get drugs no matter the cost is a sign of addiction. Even when you wish to quit but can’t, that’s addiction. But, with the right help, support, and treatment plan—anyone can lead a sober life.
Who’s Most Likely to Get Addicted?
Although anyone can fall into the vicious cycle of drug addiction and abuse, there are some major contributing factors that might increase the odds. Some of those major ones are:
- If the family of the person carries a history of drug usage then the individuals of that family are much more likely to abuse drugs and require drug addiction treatment.
- Certain traumatic experiences including psychological abuse and emotional neglect can make a person more prone to abusing drugs.
- Those suffering from mental disorders like depression and anxiety should exercise special caution regarding drug usage and often require dual diagnosis treatment.
- People exposed to drugs from an early age may become addicted. Wrong methods of administration can also impact how likely a person is to abuse or develop addiction. For example, injecting or smoking drugs that are not meant to be taken orally.
Good-to-know Facts About Drug Addiction Treatment
1. Overcoming Addiction requires More than willpower
Most people who have a hard time overcoming addiction think that they lack the willpower to do so. But, willpower is only one ingredient needed to lead a sober life. Getting over addiction means putting an end to the cravings and the bodily requirements both of which can be difficult to battle.. This complex issue requires a multifaceted approach. Since it’s influenced by a bunch of factors like childhood experiences, trauma, genetics, and brain chemistry—you need a proper plan. Only relying on willpower won’t be sufficient.
2. Treating mental health issues is not a guarantee to kick away addition for good
Only 20% of the people battling with mental health problems like anxiety or depression go on to have a substance abuse problem. It shows that both of these issues need separate tending and that fixing one won’t automatically fix the other. And so, even if you can manage your mental health problem – it doesn’t mean you won’t need separate treatment for addressing the drug problem.
3. You can get help no matter which phase of addiction you are in
Most people do not get or seek help until they have hit rock bottom, but you don’t have to wait that long. If you’re experiencing even mild discomfort from the addiction, you CAN still muster-up the motivation to seek the proper treatment at one of your local rehab centers. The recovery process can be facilitated in a variety of ways.
Friends and family are usually the biggest supporters in such cases. Those who are able to identify the signs of addiction and understand how it could lead to legal, professional, and personal consequences can help you handle things before they become difficult to manage. For professional treatment, it is better to look for drug rehab centers, as they have proven to be most successful in getting people to become sober.
4. There are no quick fixes to overcoming addiction
Addiction is a complex issue and for such issues, there are no easy or quick solutions. You need a well-thought-out strategy and a proper treatment plan. You have to consider factors like social, emotional, and physical.
A treatment plan covers all these aspects. Medication is just a small part of the equation that cannot tackle other issues like triggers, physical issues, and unresolved traumas and other contributing factors that are probably making the addiction worse.
5. Recovery from addiction is ALWAYS possible
Some people think that they are too deep and that they will never be able to get out of it. That’s not true. No matter which stage of addiction you are in, it’s always possible to lead a sober life. Also, while many people can get better on their own, treatment programs at long term residential rehab are designed to address all aspects of the problem such as physical, emotional, and social.
In the long-run treatment programs are better. Patients also get to learn what triggers their cravings, coping skills, ways to stay off of drugs forever, and manage cravings. The supportive environment helps them further. With commitment, proper support, and patience, recovery from all kinds of addiction is possible.
6. You are not alone
Addiction is a worldwide issue. Most people often struggle with a sense of isolation when they try to overcome any addiction. That’s why community support and help from friends and family is of the utmost importance. A helpful and supportive environment is one of the biggest factors in how quickly and successfully you can manage and get over addiction for good. For seeking the right support, talk to your healthcare professional or speak to a representative from a nearby addiction rehabilitation center.
If you see any signs or symptoms of addiction in yourself or a person you know, the first step is to talk to a professional for proper help. Talk with your parents, siblings, and loved ones to address the issue.
About the Author
John is a freelance writer who loves to help people who are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. John knows firsthand what it’s like to deal with substance addiction, and has now been sober for 5 years. John is a frequent contributor to many addiction-related blogs and organizations such as the Addiction Treatment Division and Recovery Inn.