Drug addiction is a disease that affects a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health. It also has negative repercussions on families and loved ones. It’s not something you should be flippant about. Moreover, treatment should be done by a professional team who can provide support and encouragement to recovering individuals.
If you’re struggling with drug addiction or want to help someone start the recovery process, here are some things you should know:
- Treatment is Personalized
Since different people vary in how their bodies process and cope with addiction, the program and care offered by reliable treatment centers are often individualized. This means that you’ll need to have an honest discussion with them about your history and your preferences for recovery.
These are the treatment tools that you can expect:
- Individual Therapy – It involves one-on-one sessions with your counselor.
- Family Therapy – As mentioned above, addiction also affects the patient’s family. This type of therapy allows you to reconnect with your loved ones and take the necessary steps to restore your relationship with them.
- Group Therapy – With this, you’ll meet peers who struggle with the same problem and share your insights with each other.
- Psychiatric Therapy – You’ll undergo psychiatric assessment and medication monitoring to ensure that your dependence on drugs doesn’t significantly affect your mental well-being.
- Spiritual Guidance – If you want, you can gain access to a spiritual advisor who will motivate you to stay on track.
- Mentorship – Being accountable is crucial for recovery. The treatment center can pair you up with a mentor who can help you every step of the way.
- Life Coaching – You’ll be assigned a life coach who will assist you in getting your life back together after your bout with drug addiction. They can aid you in setting educational, career, and financial goals.
- Health and Fitness – Eating nutritious food and exercising can significantly boost your chances of overcoming withdrawal symptoms. A nutritionist and dietician can advise you on what you should eat while a trainer can work with you as you regain your physical vigor.
- You Must Admit to Needing Help
Alcoholics Anonymous’ famous 12-step program begins with patients admitting that they’re powerless over their addiction which leads to their lives being unmanageable. The same way goes for drug addiction. The chemicals found in narcotics drastically alter your brain. It reels you, mentally and physically, into a downward spiral that you can’t climb out of.
Acknowledging that you have a problem is necessary for your recovery. You must be aware of your susceptibility and how drugs can use it against you. It’s not something you should be ashamed of. Instead, it should empower you because now you get to fight back and reclaim your life.
- You Should Dive In Wholeheartedly
There’ll be challenges. What’s worse is that the battle is happening within you, with the intense cravings and pains you have to endure during the process. You must be willing to follow the steps in your treatment program with the assurance that your counselor and therapist know what’s best and effective for you.
- Understand the Emotional Stages of Drug Addiction
You need to know the emotions that you’ll go through as you lie on the verge of enrolling yourself to a treatment program. It takes on the five stages of grief as you undergo the cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You must endure the emotional roller coaster to start your recovery journey officially.
Here’s an in-depth look at the five emotional stages of addiction:
- Denial – First, you’ll rebuff the advice of family and friends who say that you have a drug addiction problem. You feel as if you’re still in control and they don’t have anything to worry about.
- Anger – The second stage can be self-directed or aimed at others. You may be angry at yourself because you know that you have a problem, but you can’t seem to stop taking the substance. Meanwhile, the addict may become angry at other people because their family and friends are keeping them away from drugs.
- Bargaining – This stage can occur in a variety of ways. It usually involves the addict promising to stop taking drugs so that they can borrow money or continue living with their loved ones.
- Depression – It commonly happens simultaneously with the withdrawal stage and can be a symptom of the withdrawal stage. A reason for this could be that they can no longer continue using narcotics or have feelings of remorse over the damage and hurt they inflicted on the people in their circle of influence.
- Acceptance – Finally, the acceptance stage is when the patient has come to terms with their problem and takes the necessary actions to make things right.
- Beware of Substitute Addictions
Substitute addictions pertain to the things that take the place of drugs. While you may be working towards stopping your dependency on illegal substances, another one may be creeping up on you slowly. This something can be anything that can get you hooked. Plus, it’s easily overlooked because it may not be harmful or dangerous at all compared to the stuff you use.
The four common substitute addictions are:
- Work – Often, this is seen as massive progress. However, working too much is still a problem. Some pour themselves into their job or study to the point that it’s all they ever do because it keeps them distracted so they won’t relapse.
- Food – People get addicted to substances because of the rush they feel after taking drugs, caused by dopamine being released in the brain. Recovering addicts frequently fall into the trap of substituting high-fat and high-sugar food to recreate the feeling of being high.
- Other Substances – The immense cravings during withdrawal can cause patients to turn to other substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription drugs to alleviate the pain they’re feeling. You should examine the underlying issue instead of looking for temporary fixes.
- Sex – A relationship is unhealthy if an individual uses it to achieve fulfillment. You should love yourself first, flaws and all, before you can love another human being.
- Gambling – The high stakes in gambling gives you a thrill that can be addicting. It’s best to stay away from the gaming tables while you’re in the recovery phase.
- Shopping – Similar to food, going on a spree can release dopamine in the brain because it feels as if you’re rewarding yourself. It’s not doing any good to your mental health and bank account.
The key to substitute addictions is to abstain from anything that has the potential for dependency. People have varying levels of susceptibility to each of the things above. It’s crucial that you reflect on the actions that may hinder your recovery progress and stay away from doing them.
- Actions Surpass Intentions
Good intentions are outstanding and all, but your recovery journey should be marked with positive actions that aid in the completion of your healing process. The small steps you take each day should be carefully planned to make sure that they add up to your goals. Remember that the habits you form today will make or break your future.
- Be Prepared for a Total Makeover
You will become a whole new person after you’ve completed the drug addiction recovery process. It’s not just about abstaining from drugs once you return to your home. You should consciously choose to stop living the same lifestyle that got you hooked on narcotics in the first place. It may mean temporarily refusing to meet your old friends at the initial stages of recovery or avoid going to establishments you used to frequent.
Some lifestyle changes you can do to strengthen your recovery include:
- Staying Active – Exercise is a positive way to distract yourself when drug cravings occur. Make sure that you incorporate regular physical activity into your daily life such as running, going to the gym, or joining team sports.
- Practicing Mindfulness – Learning techniques on how to stay in the moment without judgment and dissect the present can help you stay in control of your desires.
- Sleeping Well – Allow yourself a good night’s rest every day so that you can face the next day with a full tank. Depriving yourself of sleep can add to your stress levels which can lead to an outburst or relapse.
- Eating Properly – Commit to a healthy diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. Avoid junk food since these can quickly become substitute addictions.
- Finding a Job – While there’s a risk that you may become a workaholic to make up for the time you lost during your addiction, having a stable job can help you return to a normal routine. Plus, you get to earn money which you can use to invest in yourself.
- Developing Interests – Look for hobbies or activities that interest you and try them out instead of moping around at home. You can try volunteering at a community center or enroll yourself to art classes.
Recovery from drug addiction requires a lot of work, especially in restoring the relationships that got affected by the problem. Take it one day at a time. Don’t rush the process. Just focus on the things that you have to do now and let your future self worry about tomorrow.