Whether you are struggling with addiction or it’s someone you know, knowing how to help is crucial. That is the reason why we have created this ultimate guide to drug addiction help. In this guide, we will cover what addiction is, how to begin the journey to recovery, the steps on that journey, and what comes hand in hand with drug abuse and recovery.
What Is Addiction?
Its medical definition is – a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. Many different psychosocial factors may contribute to the development of an addiction. Still, the biological process where the person repeatedly consumes and induces addictive substances is what will drive the further worsening and development of an addiction.
In short, addiction is a biological disorder caused by the repeated use of drugs, despite how harmful it can be for both the addict and others around them.
How Does An Addiction Develop?
Although we have some basic knowledge about substance abuse, and some theories that try to explain it, we still do not fully understand how or why addiction develops exactly. The most prevalent theory so far is “the disease model” theory – which explains how addiction has a biological origin that causes changes in the person’s brain. Along with that, this theory also suggests genetic predispositions and accounts for the heredity of addiction. As an example of these theories and their studies, two twins separated at birth are more likely to develop addictions regardless of the environment they grew up in.
On the other hand, there is the self-medication theory, which suggests that people use drugs to cope with physical and emotional pain. The pain in question can be depression, traumas, chronic physical pain, grief, or any of the many other forms.
We know for sure that it can cause temporary and permanent changes and damage in both the brain and body. Aside from the biological component, there is also a psychological component to addiction – as mentioned previously, the difficulty of handling stressful emotions and past (or current) traumas.
The answer to the cause might just be related to both nature and nurture. If not for sure, there is a possibility that your parents, friends, or lovers may have modeled addictive behaviors, with their inability to deal with their emotions healthily.
Let us go over some possible causes of substance abuse issues:
Mental Illnesses: People with mental illnesses have higher rates of prescription drug abuse. This is especially prevalent in patients with a dual diagnosis – for example, depression and insomnia or ADD and social anxiety. Mental health issues may cause the person to look for any way out of their situation. The medication they have access to affects their brain chemistry in such a way that they feel like they get rewards for every time they take a medication, as it stabilizes their cognitive function and makes their issues seem smaller. Whether it be emotional numbness or a dopamine rush, there is a natural reward; and the situation they are in without the medication can and will make them repeat these actions if they do not start substance abuse counseling – or prevent that by having access to proper mental health care facilities and therapies.
Social Isolation: Sometimes, people who feel socially isolated might start taking part in light drug abuse to appear more approachable and friendly. Most often, it begins with alcohol, turning into alcohol addiction and then giving room to the evolution of the addictive behavior.
Relationships: Relationships in this context represent not only romantic but also familial and friendly ones. In case of, for example, long-term family abuse or a sudden fallout with a close friend, one might turn to drugs to escape the reality they feel is too harsh for them.
Stopping the Addiction
For many people dealing with an addiction, the most challenging part of healing is accepting that you have a problem. The most significant step to take is making the decision to make the change you need.
And the vital thing to keep in mind is that it’s completely okay to feel torn, feel uncertain, feel confused, and overthink if you have what it takes to quit. These are all normal feelings and thought to have when wanting to start recovery.
Recovering also means changing many things in your life, such as how you deal with stress, what you do in your free time, hobbies, prescriptions you may be taking, and especially who you will allow in your life.
Additionally, depending on the reasons that set you on a path of drug addiction, you may need to look into activities such as individualized therapy, family therapy, or joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
How to Begin?
To start changing your behavior, it’s a good idea and an excellent first step to writing down all the negative ways your addiction impacts your life. This might seem like a dumb baby step, but once seeing something like this on paper, the human brain receives the information better.
However, don’t write down things like “It’s destroying my life” or “I’m not reaching my potential”; those will only make you feel worse and won’t be beneficial in the long run. You should try and be a bit more specific; therefore, try writing down, for example, how your life changed since your addiction started.
How Can We Prevent Drug Abuse From Young Age?
Sometimes, the best way to help someone is to ensure the drug addiction never starts. Therefore, it is good to keep in mind that the risk of drug abuse, or any other substance abuse, significantly increases whenever there is a significant change in the individual’s life. For adults, it can be caused by events such as a divorce or losing their job, and many other things. While for teenagers, it can be caused by sudden moving, changing schools, family fights, parents divorcing, and many other things as well.
Kids are often, and maybe even for the first time, already being exposed to various substances such as cigarettes and alcohol during elementary school. Once they grow and enter their high school phase, teens might even be more exposed to drugs. Either by seeing older teens engaging in it, various social activities, perhaps even friends they grow closer with during their high school years.
Once the teens grow up and leave high school, becoming young adults and slowly becoming more independent, they will gain a type of freedom they haven’t felt before. There will no longer be parental restrictions or at least a lot less of it, and they might get exposed to substances while separated from that protective structure.
Studies will also look into the individual’s childhood experiences, family history, how they interacted in social situations, studying their behavior, mental and physical health, and other possible emotional or genetic outcomes.
What Are the Five Stages of Recovery?
To make this truly an ultimate guide, it is essential to note all the phases an addict will go through during the road to recovery. Breaking this journey down into steps can help make it seem less arduous and easier to start with.
During the pre-contemplation phase, addicts will avoid talking about the addiction, no matter who brings it up. It’s not an easy conversation to have, especially since the addict in this stage will refuse drug addiction treatment due to denial and blame their substance abuse on outside factors. These could be anything from their job, home life, or perhaps even the genetic predispositions. This is rock bottom for many recovering patients; most remember it as a very hopeless period in their lives.
During this phase, the addict will finally accept that they need help, and they need to make these changes. However, they are struggling with quite a few things. For instance – they are trying to understand the cause of their addiction, as well as being unsure how to take the first step and where to even begin.
Even though addicts have increased feelings of hopelessness during this phase, they also have uplifting feelings when thinking about the change that will come. Addicts tend to remain in this phase for months and may continue to abuse drugs or alcohol in the meantime while also thinking about possible courses of action. Even if they consume more addictive substances than before during this stage, patients also report that they enjoy it a lot less than before.
During this phase, patients are preparing for a life without their previous crippling addictions, as well as having a clearer vision of what they want to accomplish with the recovery.
After addicts at least decide on a day, month, or year when they will focus on recovery, it’ll help them move onto the next big step. However, it’s normal for patients to feel uncertain and anxious before progress further, as well as being able to control those feelings better and conquer specific fears later on.
Once there is a plan, there is a goal, and there is motivation. After this step, things get smoother and more manageable.
This phase involves beginning the physical healing process of recovery, meaning that either one’s surroundings or behavior, or both, will be changing. Therefore, this is where the individual would choose to go to treatment centers such as a rehabilitation facility and begin the recovery process. This is a big step, and it builds confidence in the recovering addict since it fills the individual with accomplishment. And it truly is an accomplishment; as previously stated, it’s a big step forward and towards positive change.
Of course, this step and change will require a lot of effort since it is the basis for the patient’s long-term sobriety.
Once the recovering addict is at the end of the action phase, the next step is maintaining the progress they’ve made so far.
This is one of the more often overlooked phases, the maintenance stage, since the road to recovery takes a lot of time. It is a process that requires a lot of dedication and inner strength, and it is not a one-time event that you will never be thinking about again.
Once the recovering addict is done with their treatment and goes back home, they might face the same situations and maybe people who can trigger their addictive habits again.
Therefore, it’s essential to try and cut people off who aren’t any good for you; cutting off contact and saying no is normal and something that is learned. It’s necessary that after the treatment, the ex-addict is surrounded by a better environment.
Patience is the key to success. Like everything else in life, the recovery process will take time. Freeing yourself from constant substance consumption is no easy task, and it won’t happen overnight.
Recovery is a long process, and patience is necessary. Mainly since relapses may occur, you must remember that it is not the end of the world. In the case that does happen, it is essential to recognize the progress you have made before and that you can do it again. Relapse could mean that there is more to the problem than what meets the eye, something that maybe not even the patient is aware of, and something that needs to be brought to light. This happens with any kind of bad habit as well, and it’s something that can be unlearned with enough time. Everyone has their own pace and their own recovery time. So take the time for yourself, and be forgiving if the relapses do happen.
Can A Person Be Fired For Drug Use?
This is quite an important question to ask in situations like these. However, the answer to it can vary, as it depends on the employer and what kind of a person they are. Besides that, specific situations the substance consumer might be in can also affect the outcome.
However, as a general answer and for specific reasons, drug abuse is a valid reason for firing an employee. If the employee in question misses several or more days of work due to their addiction, their job will not be protected by any means.
Employers don’t look too sympathetically upon employees who have a drug dependency or issues with alcohol abuse. Therefore, the looming question of whether the substance addict will keep their job after recovery or not is a valid question to be concerned about.
Among many other things, this might also cause the addict in question to repeatedly keep putting off the recovery they need, in fear of losing their job and possibly their home. Putting off something as serious as recovering from drug abuse will only keep damaging the individual until they fall apart completely.
However, it is a good thing that The Right Way Recovery Services can help you find a treatment plan regardless of your budget. All you need to do is contact them, and they will do all in their power to find the best treatment options and treatment provider to aid you in your recovery from addiction.