Drug and alcohol abuse can significantly disturb your way of life. These substances can affect you in physical, emotional, behavioral, and social patterns. Addicts who have lost their way in addiction can sink into a spiraling feeling of hopelessness and addiction.
Addiction is a complex and chronic disease that changes the way your brain works. An addict often craves and seeks drugs or alcohol regardless of what it will cost them. The cost is often more than money; it can be relationships with friends, family, or even a job. Recovery from addiction is generally a long and hard road, but more than worth it in the end.
According to Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the NIH:
“A common misperception is that addiction is a choice or moral problem, and all you have to do is stop. But nothing could be further from the truth. The brain changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.”
Although recovery takes time, recovering addicts say they’ve never felt better than after quitting alcohol or drugs. Call (918) 779-0011 today to start your journey to recovery. If you have decided to start your recovery – then this is great news! You have taken the first step to change your life. Let us help you start, and get through your journey.
The Brain and Addiction
Scientists have been studying addiction since the 1930s, and despite their dedication, there is still a lot to learn. Thankfully, several research breakthroughs have led to a more comprehensive understanding of the brain’s response to addictive substances. Thus we can respond significantly better than we did 90 years ago. Today, we know that addiction is a medical disorder affecting your brain and your behavior. Researchers are still working to understand why addicts develop a habit and how drugs change the brain’s structure. We also know that addiction is a treatable condition.
Physical Changes of the Brain
Researchers have found that addiction’s power comes from its ability to hijack the brain, and sometimes even obliterate parts of it.
Prolonged drug or alcohol use risks damaging the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that helps you make decisions. Some of these decisions could be as simple as having cookies before dinner. Also, as dangerous as continuing to use and overdosing.
With repeated exposure to drugs, the portion of your brain that experiences happiness becomes damaged. The same brain section sends happy signals when you hear a good song, sees a good friend, or eats something delicious. This section of the brain slowly stops working in response to anything except the drug. This section renders an addict a feeling of powerlessness in addiction.
If you, or someone you love, are experiencing physical changes of addiction then call us today. We will help you get the proper help that you need to fight your addiction. Never feel embarrassed or judged when talking to one of our specialists. Our goal is to help you start your healthier life.
Psychological Changes of the Brain
An addict’s brain will send signals to bring about feelings of anxiety and stress; the sensors for emotional danger get stuck in overdrive, making you feel like you’re in trouble when you’re perfectly safe. This distorted communication from the brain convinces the addict to use drugs or alcohol to keep from feeling worse and a feeling of hopelessness against addiction.
A healthy person’s brain rewards them for positive lifestyle decisions such as eating healthy, exercising, spending time with friends, or enjoying a hobby. These positive rewards come from the brain, thus bringing about a reaction that makes the person feel good.
That reaction cannot happen the same way in the brain of an addict. Drugs and alcohol take over the brain’s communication pathways and instead reward you when choosing to use them. When the addict goes too long without a hit or decides to cut back, the brain has the equivalent of a temper tantrum. While sometimes the addiction is the outcome of a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, often drug use and feeling hopeless will cause depression when it affects the section of the brain that recognizes joy. Suffering from the psychological effects of addiction? Call us today and we can help you find the right treatment for you.
Benefits of Recovery
A life free of addiction has many benefits, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Your energy will increase, your sleep will improve, your overall appearance will improve, and you’ll have more money in your bank account. Besides the obvious benefits, you’ll give your organs a chance to recover and cut down permanent organ damage. You’ll be able to reconnect with your emotions and even improve your relationships with friends and family.
- Admit you have a problem. Addiction is interfering with your way of life, and you need to get control over the addiction instead of it controlling you.
- Know why you want to quit and write it down. It is essential to understand why you want to be clean.
- Talk with your doctor, therapist, or any healthcare provider about cutting down or quitting drug and alcohol use.
- Keep a journal of drug use, making a note of emotions or events that bring about your need for a hit. Also, document how much you consume.
- Look at how you spend your free time.
- Fill your time with hobbies or volunteer work that excites or motivates you.
- Find a class to take or an event in your community.
- Set up specific, measurable goals. They can be as small as “I will call for help by Tuesday.”
- Find support in positive people who are also recovering.
Call us today to start treatment. It is never too late to ask for help and to receive it. We will be happy to assist you with your problem and find a solution that best fits your needs.
The good news? Addiction is a manageable condition, and there are many options for treatment. With that said, keep in mind that no one treatment plan that works for everybody. Each addict has their history, experience, and health issues.
The best treatment will be about more than your addiction. Addiction affects multiple aspects of your life beyond your brain. You might need help rebuilding relationships with friends and family. Also, you might need to re-establish yourself as a hardworking employee. Maybe your addiction started with pain, which you’ll now need help controlling without a particular medication. Treatment should concentrate on every aspect of your recovery.
Also, even the best recovery plans involve trial and error. Maybe your last treatment tapered off before it was time. Perhaps you had an emotional situation and resorted to drugs instead of using self-coping strategies in therapy.
In the beginning, treatment is usually intensive. There are several appointments a week. After achieving success in this intensive phase and finding your support system, meetings will become less frequent. It’s essential to remember recovery isn’t a quick fix. In general, medication alone cannot get rid of an addiction. Combining addiction treatment medicine with therapy provides the best chance for success.
If you’ve become dependent on drugs, it could be dangerous to quit on your own. Your specialist or doctor can arrange detox treatments, medications, and counseling to help you manage. This will help with breaking the cycle of hopelessness and addiction. Need more information about treatment options? Do not wait. Call us today and we can tell you more information about treatment options and what might be best for you.
Types of Treatment
Detoxification is not a complete treatment on its own. It is merely one of the first steps in a treatment plan for those with severe addiction. A controlled detox is useful in gradually helping get drugs out of the body, limiting the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be dangerous, so this is a matter of safety and comfort. Of course, this depends on your situation. Also, keep in mind that without further treatment, a relapse is almost a guarantee.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are the therapies of choice. This type of treatment focuses on recognizing and changing how you react to a trigger and increasing healthy life skills. Behavioral therapy is one of the first treatment options recommended, and with good reason. Therapists will bring attention to possible triggers, or be the objective eye that notices a pattern you might have missed. They will help you develop coping skills. They can even help you find multiple coping techniques for different situations.
Inpatient treatment is useful for those with a severe addiction. These treatment centers provide around-the-clock structured care. Also, this treatment includes safe housing, medical supervision, and treatment. Inpatient treatment can last days, weeks, or even months.
Outpatient Treatment can happen in an individual or group setting on a set schedule. Keep in mind the outpatient setting allows you to live at home, continue working, and go about your life as usual. This treatment means the chance of running into triggers is higher.
Many medicines can help reduce the frequency or intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Like detox, medication is not a successful treatment on its own. Medication helps get you through withdrawals while you learn the skills to stay free of your addiction.
This approach uses positive reinforcement for staying drug-free. You will experience rewards for your accomplishments. Some people find tips for attending a certain number of sessions or participating in a group therapy session. Others prefer to be rewarded strictly for not using drugs or alcohol.
Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) help people who have gone down similar paths. They can often relate to your situation more quickly because they’ve had the same—or similar—events happen in their way to recovery. They can offer you advice or a shoulder to lean on during tough times. Also, support groups are where you find a sponsor, a positive person, to support your recovery and ensure you have the resources you need to continue your full-time sobriety.
Unfortunately, relapse is common. So common that addiction is sometimes known as a chronic condition characterized by occasional relapses. The more you follow your treatment plan, the less likely you are to relapse. However, if you’ve had one, know you’re not alone. Relapse happens to almost every recovering addict. Remind yourself why you want to recover. Find inspiration in the purpose behind your decision to recover and take it one step at a time.
When relapse happens, it might be the time to reach out to your provider and follow up on your treatment plan. It might be time to adjust your recovery plan. After all, recovery is a lot of trial and error. There is no perfect formula.
While you may feel frustrated, helpless, or hopeless, remember that each attempt will teach you something new. The pain of relapse often brings addicts back to their objective, their inspiration behind quitting. Have you relapsed? Are you afraid you might relapse? Do not hesitate. Call us today. We will be able to help you before, during, and after a relapse happens. Call now, and start your new road to recovery.
When to Seek Help
Finally, the sooner you reach out to a healthcare professional, the more likely you will achieve long-term recovery. Call us if you would like more information. For example:
- You can’t stop using drugs or drinking alcohol
- Your drug or alcohol use has led to unsafe behaviors
- You experience withdrawal symptoms
- You’ve experienced an overdose
If you think your drug use is out of control, it’s time to get help. Our team has the tools needed to help you gain control again. Above all, all we want is for you to get the help that you need. Call us today, and let us help you start your happier and healthier life as soon as possible.