Drug addiction refers to a mental disorder in which the user compulsively seeks drugs and the inability to stop regardless of how adverse the effects are. Many see drug addiction as a 'moral problem' or a 'choice' and that addicts should simply stop.
However, that is a common misconception. The dependency on drugs can change the brain, so it requires a lot of effort to commit to sobriety. As one continues the use of substances, it disrupts the brain's chemical system. Studies have shown that the degree of addiction can be dependent on its ability to destroy major brain regions, which help us survive.
While overcoming drug addiction might take more than a strong determination, it is certainly not unattainable. The brain is affected in such a way that it makes quitting difficult. It could lead to severe addiction, causing compulsive cravings, which might be more challenging to control than the person imagined.
However, no matter how hard the situation seems, one can overcome drug addiction with the right steps.
Though many people are aware of the consequences of drug abuse, they usually feel immune to addictive behaviors or believe that they have enough self-control. This mindset might lead to acute addiction even before they recognize the problem.
People with addictive problems can make various changes in their lives to overcome the dependency on drugs.
Is Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse the Same Thing?
Drug abuse refers to the use of prescription or illegal drugs for pleasure. People who abuse drugs are usually able to change their habits and stop abusing drugs.
On the other hand, drug addiction is a chronic mental disorder in which the user cannot stop seeking the drug of choice. The urge to consume such drugs can fill up their entire day, making them unable to quit.
Seven Steps to Overcome Drug Addiction
1. Decision Making
Often, people find themselves in a position where they want to overcome compulsive, addictive behavior, which could be challenging — but not impossible.
Those who are addicted to drugs need to opt for a change in their life. For instance, one could quit all drugs entirely, quit only a type of a drug, or lower the intake. Setting a clear target could help maintain focus and eventually succeed.
Moving away from compulsion and towards recovery is a phase that will require some time. This particular stage is known as contemplation, as it includes contemplating your weaknesses and working on them.
While setting goals is a significant part of your recovery, it is also essential to ensure that they are realistic. Realistic goals will help you stay focused and avoid the possibility of relapse. For instance, you can start small by planning to see your doctor once a week and make sure you follow your routine.
2. Quitting the addiction
Quitting is another stepping stone towards sobriety. There isn't a right or wrong experience when it comes to quitting. Some may find the experience liberating and believe that they can overcome the addiction. Others consider it stressful, challenging, and exhausting, often learning from their failed efforts before meeting their goal. Many discover a different side to themselves.
However, when you find yourself giving into addiction again or feeling overwhelmed and depressed, you should seek treatment.
Detox, or detoxification, is the practice of facilitating the removal of drugs from the body. When a person stops the intake of drugs, detoxification helps control withdrawal symptoms safely.
Not everyone has the same detox experience. The experience can vary based on two factors: the nature of the drug and its abuse frequency.
Choosing to detoxify at home could be fatal. This is why detoxification, under the supervision of medical professionals, is highly recommended. The standard process of detox involves:
➔ Assessing the medical health of the user and conducting tests to identify the drugs.
➔ Safely stabilizing a person by bringing them into a drug-free state.
➔ Transitioning into a rehabilitation center to ensure long term recovery.
4. Coping with withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms could be a challenging part of managing dependency. The psychological impact of detoxification may be painful or even life-threatening. Thus, it is essential to consult with medical professionals about the right plan and place to quit using drugs.
Fortunately, medicines can suppress symptoms of withdrawal. It might take weeks or even months for a specific medication to work. The span of withdrawal varies on a range of factors, such as:
➔ Type of drug used
➔ Duration of the addiction
➔ The frequency of addiction
➔ Method of intake, i.e., drinking, swallowing or snorting.
5. Rehabilitation centers
Recovery from substance addiction can be challenging. A person who has started down this path of recovery requires special assistance and continued support that drug rehabilitation centers will offer.
Rehabilitation serves the purpose of providing the right tools to help sobriety and abstinence, including after the patient has left the rehab. These facilities will also provide therapy, which can help attain control over the addiction.
You may want to look for a recovery program that will cater to your needs. Different treatment facilities will offer various services, so recognizing what you're looking for is important.
6. Continuing down the journey of sobriety
In the recovery process, the key steps are maintaining sobriety and completing a rehabilitation program. Once an individual has completed the treatment program, they need to continue being sober and prevent relapse.
Managing compulsions and triggers can be some of the most crucial aspects. You may fall back into your old habit of using drugs if you continue the same schedule and hang out with drug friends. A few immediate changes need to be made for your safety.
7. Never lose hope
For those who have achieved all the above, the final stage is to accept that it is okay to fail. In case of relapse, you must forgive yourself and learn from the failed attempts — but never give up. A relapse could be a learning experience that will help you understand your weaknesses and lower the possibility of relapsing again.