Simple Truths About Addiction & Recovery
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Addiction and recovery are complex issues, but they are not too complex for someone to understand them. Going through addiction and recovery is difficult, constant, and ever-changing. Here are some simple truths that may make these issues less complex and less confusing.
Addiction is a Brain Disease.
According to the NIDA, “Drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences.” People often become angry and confused by the actions of their loved ones who become addicted to drugs. The truth is that addiction eventually changes the way the brain functions so that a person often cannot stop even if they wanted to.
Remembering this can help get you through a hard time if you are feeling weak or frustrated with yourself because of your addiction. And when you find it difficult to help someone you love who is trapped in this issue, reminding yourself that their issues are often uncontrollable can be beneficial to you.
Addiction can cause people to:
- Seek drugs even when doing so is a danger to themselves
- Neglect responsibilities
- Leave old friends for new friends who are also drug abusers
- Not care for their own wellbeing
- Try more, higher-potency drugs just to achieve another high
Relapse is Part of Recovery.
For many people, recovery does not mean that they get to suddenly go back to their lives without another thought about their former addictions. Relapse is a part of recovery, and many people often have to attend more treatment after relapse. It is perfectly normal.
The important thing is to try and fight relapse and to attempt to prevent cravings before they start. For example, some individuals who were once addicted to cocaine do not drink coffee because the mild jittery feeling they get from the caffeine reminds them of being on cocaine. Recovery is not the end of your addiction or your journey.
Treatment is Almost Always Necessary.
Some people do achieve recovery on their own, but it isn’t often. Many times, formal treatment is highly necessary for a good recovery. “An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure” that it meets the changing needs of the person, and this is often what makes it so essential (NIDA). Every treatment plan, when done correctly, should be worked out so that the individual receives the best treatment possible. And, as mentioned before, it can be very hard to fight an addiction alone.
There are Many Factors Involved in Addiction.
The NIDA states, “No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs.” There are many factors involved in whether or not someone becomes addicted after abusing drugs. Some of these factors are:
- The type of drug abused
- The biology of the individual
- The environment that the person is in
- The development and age of the person
“The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.” Many people think those who become addicted to drugs lack willpower, but this is not true. A number of factors influence addiction, and they can sometimes work against the individual.