Guide to Overcoming Drug Addiction
The first step to overcoming addiction is recognizing the problem and accepting that you need help.
A Guide to Help You Overcome Drug Addiction, What Are the Major Causes of Drug Abuse and Addiction?, How Do You Stay Away From Drugs?, How Do You Stop Doing Things You Are Addicted to?, Is it Possible to Stop an Addiction?, How Can I Get Rid of Drugs at Home?, What Medications Can Be Flushed Down the Toilet?, Rehab is Your Best Chance
Drug addiction is a disease that affects the body and the brain. It’s a chronic condition that triggers uncontrollable behaviors that render a person unable to control their intake of medication, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Addiction is characterized by the compulsive use of harmful substances even when the person is already suffering from its effects.
As a chronic condition, there is no specific cure for addiction. But it is treatable through proper medical treatment. An addicted individual can overcome their addiction and live a happy, fulfilling, and sober life. It’s a difficult journey towards long-lasting sobriety, but it’s worth it.
The first step to overcoming addiction is recognizing the problem and accepting that you need help. Although developing an addiction is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw, there is a lot of stigma surrounding it. This often makes people hesitant to admit that they have a problem even when they are struggling from its effects.
Instead of seeking help, the pattern of substance abuse continues and their life spirals out of control. Addiction affects more than the mind and body after all. It also affects a person’s career, their relationships, their finances, etc. Addiction can be overwhelming, which is why addicted individuals need proper medical assistance from healthcare professionals and addiction experts.
It takes more than willpower to overcome this problem. Addiction changes the brain and makes it difficult to resist cravings. Soon they develop tolerance and it slowly becomes a compulsion. Eventually, they develop dependence and addiction.
No matter how difficult it may seem, remember that recovery is never out of reach. Today we will be discussing everything from prevention to drug treatment.
A Guide to Help You Overcome Drug Addiction
Some addicted individuals who think addiction treatment isn’t right for them need to look inward and reflect on how addiction is affecting their life. If you are struggling with substance use disorder, keep track of your drug use, including when and how much you use. It will give you a sense of the role addiction is playing in your life.
If you have to, start listing the pros and cons of quitting drugs. Staying addicted and continuing to abuse drugs is far more expensive and dangerous in the long term. It will affect your health, your relationships, your kids, your career, and most other aspects of your life.
It’s not easy, but acceptance is an important part of the process. Once the addicted individual accepts that they need help, they can start looking for a rehab facility that offers the treatment program they need. From there, they can start exploring their addiction treatment options.
There are a lot of treatment programs out there, and the choices are numerous. Some facilities specialize in certain types of addiction, while others treat a wide range of conditions involving substance abuse.
Although the treatment programs may vary, patients will most likely go through some combination of detoxification, behavioral counseling, and aftercare.
Medical detox is very important because it addresses the physical effects of addiction. During detox, the patient’s drug or alcohol intake is gradually lowered. They will go through withdrawal, which is uncomfortable, but it can be managed safely with the assistance of medical professionals.
Medications may be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and keep cravings under control. They may also be used to treat any co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Rehab offers a safe and structured environment where recovering individuals can focus on getting better.
Behavioral counseling and therapy address the mental and emotional effects of addiction, including the reasons behind the person’s addictive behavior. There are individual, group, and/or family therapy sessions that can help patients get to the root of their problem. Along the way, they will pick up healthy coping skills that will allow them to stay sober even after leaving rehab.
Aftercare is designed to help patients stay sober and avoid relapse once they are out of rehab. Addiction is a chronic condition, so people may still need support even after leaving the facility. This is especially important during the first few years of sobriety where the main challenge is staying away from drugs and making use of the coping skills learned in rehab.
There are many different treatment programs that can help people overcome drug or alcohol addiction. Residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization are a few common examples. It’s best to ask around and have the patient go through an intake process. This will determine what kind of program is right for them.
The best rehab facilities understand the importance of creating a personalized treatment plan. Everyone experiences addiction differently. Everyone has different needs—that’s why a personalized approach always works best. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to addiction treatment.
No matter what rehab facility or program it is, the most important thing is commitment. Addicted individuals should expect the process to be difficult because it will involve changing the way the body and the brain reacts to these harmful substances. It also involves addressing some deep personal issues that are leading to addictive behavior. What matters is that you stick with the program and try your best to fight your addiction.
What Are the Major Causes of Drug Abuse and Addiction?
Addiction isn’t something that develops overnight. There are a lot of factors that go into it and it’s not just because someone got pressured by their friends to try drugs.
Oftentimes, substance abuse starts small. It can begin with simple recreational use or a “one-time” experiment. In some instances, it starts when a doctor prescribes a certain medication. It can begin even with a prescription for a painkiller after surgery or an accident. Over time, the person’s intake increases and their use of the addictive substance becomes frequent.
The speed at which addiction develops varies from person to person. It also depends on the drug and a lot of other factors including genetics and the person’s environment.
Genetics plays a big role in it because the way the body reacts to a certain drug is determined by inherited treats that are encoded by your genes. These genetic factors may either slow down or speed up the development of addiction. The National Institutes of Health says that genetics determine about 50 percent of a person’s drug addiction risk.
Environmental factors also come into play. If a person is exposed to a group that encourages or tolerates substance abuse, then they are at risk of becoming addicted. Other environmental factors include access to healthcare, educational opportunities, community, and personal beliefs.
When it comes to addiction, there are so-called risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing an addiction at some point during their lifetime. The more risk factors a person is exposed to, the more likely they are to get addicted. However, this does not guarantee that the person will actually become addicted even if they are exposed to illicit substances. This only means some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others.
Risk factors include mental health problems, family history of drug abuse, traumatic life experiences, early exposure to drugs, social pressure, and a lack of family support. Highly addictive drugs like stimulants, opioids, and cocaine can also cause addiction more easily.
Similar to how there are risk factors for addiction, there are also protective factors that decrease a person’s likelihood of developing one. An example of a protective factor is a strong social support system. A person’s environment can nurture them towards positive behavior so that they would avoid drugs entirely.
How Do You Stay Away From Drugs?
Prevention is still better than cure, and that also applies to addiction. If you are exposed to a lot of risk factors, you need to be even more careful with how you interact with addictive substances.
If you have recently finished your addiction treatment program and are now out of rehab, you still need to make the conscious decision to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Make sure to keep drug triggers and cravings in check. Avoid situations that will push you towards substance abuse.
Your brain needs time to recover and rebuild the connections that were changed while you were addicted. You may experience intense cravings. Don’t go to places that trigger your urge to use. You can also avoid people and situations that are stressing you out and putting your sobriety at risk.
It may be time to build new connections. Maintain your distance from friends who use these harmful substances, or even those who tolerate such behavior. Small temptations and encouragement from friends can pull you back into these self-destructive habits. Find new friendships and relationships that will motivate you to live a healthy life. Surrounding yourself with people who support your sobriety can help you stay on the right track.
When seeking medical treatment, be upfront about your history of drug use so that they can provide care that involves the absolute minimum medication necessary. Be careful when taking prescription medications because some of them can be addictive. You may have to talk to your doctor about alternative ways to manage pain.
When it comes to cravings, you should know that it is absolutely normal to feel it occasionally, and sometimes they cannot be avoided. Distract yourself with another activity to take your mind off of the cravings. Find a new hobby, sport, or exercise. Maintaining sobriety involves finding healthy ways to channel your energy without giving in to the cravings and temptations.
Talk to someone if you are feeling those cravings. Talking about the problem can often give you a feeling of relief that will help reduce or eliminate it. It’s not bad to crave a substance you used to be addicted to. But try your best to stay away from it anyway.
How Do You Stop Doing Things You Are Addicted to?
It’s not easy rebuilding your life after rehab. You need to challenge your old ways of thinking and make way for new thoughts. You need to retrain your brain to embrace a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. That means learning how to deal with stress without giving in to your cravings.
Now that you have a second chance at living a healthy life, try to give yourself a new purpose that will keep you inspired. Build a meaningful life outside of rehab. Form new connections, explore new hobbies, travel the world, or find a new career.
Distracting yourself so you forget about your cravings is one thing, but committing to a greater purpose that will make you feel fulfilled is even better. When you fill your life with rewarding activities that you enjoy, substance abuse will eventually lose its appeal—especially now that you know how much suffering comes with addiction.
Adopt a pet. This may be a big responsibility, but caring for an animal will make you feel loved and needed.
Get in touch with nature by taking a scenic hike. Try something new like fishing or camping. Go to the park and just find some time to relax.
Try out new recipes and discover the wonder of cuisine. Indulge your tastes by trying something new every week—or attend classes to speed up your learning process.
Take care of your body by exercising on a regular basis. When you exercise, you strengthen your body and your mind. You also get a nice confidence boost especially when you are starting to see the results. You won’t regret working out and getting stronger.
Get enough sleep, watch what you eat, and be mindful of your thoughts. Take care of yourself from the inside out and you will soon get over your need for harmful substances.
Is it Possible to Stop an Addiction?
As we’ve already established, it is possible to stop an addiction. However, it takes a lot of work.
It’s not just a matter of willpower. Addicted individuals can’t just quit whenever they want, unlike what some people may believe. The recovery process does take willpower and commitment, but there are a lot more factors involved.
The addicted person needs to get personalized care from a high quality rehab facility. They need to go through medical detox and behavioral therapy so they can address the effects of addiction. They need to stick with the program until they can regain their sobriety and learn how to maintain it.
Overcoming addiction also involves a lot of support from family members, friends, and members of the community. It’s also a good idea for the addicted individual to join a support group so they can get emotional support from people who understand what they are going through. They can form new connections and provide a listening ear to one another as they go on their sobriety journey.
Remember that relapse is part of the journey, so don’t let it get you down. A lot of people who go through rehab eventually relapse. It’s so common that it can be considered a normal part of the recovery process. Do not get discouraged.
Relapse is when a person returns to their old patterns of substance use even after receiving treatment. It can be caused by stress, anger, trauma, sadness, etc. It can also happen because of peer pressure, physical discomfort, cravings, social pressure, or conflict.
It can be frustrating, but relapse is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and come out even stronger. You will learn about additional triggers and figure out ways to overcome them. Relapse does not mean the drug treatment was a failure. Don’t give up. Talk to your therapist, go to a meeting, or schedule an appointment with your doctor.
It’s just another obstacle in your journey towards long-term sobriety.
How Can I Get Rid of Drugs at Home?
If you want to keep your home safe and free from the effects of addiction, you may want to take some extra precautions. If your medicine cabinet is full of expired medications that you no longer use, you should get rid of them.
The medications that are safe for you may be harmful for someone else, especially someone who has a history of substance abuse or someone who has a high risk of developing addiction. A drug take back program is the best way to dispose of your expired or unused medications.
Many communities have their own drug take back programs. The US Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA also sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in communities all over the country. Find a DEA-authorized collector in your community.
Some pharmacists also have on-site medicine drop-off boxes or mail-back programs. These are safe and responsible ways to get rid of your unused drugs.
If these options are not available, you may dispose of these medications at home. The method of disposal depends on the drug.
Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something else such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds before throwing the container in the garbage. This will make them less appealing to anyone who may go through the trash looking for drugs. Make sure the container is sealed so it does not leak.
There is also the option to flush certain medicines down the toilet, but this should only be done with certain drugs.
What Medications Can Be Flushed Down the Toilet?
Some people wonder if it’s okay to flush certain medicines if the take back option isn’t available. So far there has been no sign of serious environmental effects caused by flushing the recommended drugs. Drug residues normally enter water systems when people take medicine and naturally pass them through their bodies. Sometimes the drugs are not fully absorbed and so they pass through wastewater treatment plants.
The medications listed below can be flushed or poured down the sink according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
Diazepam (Diastat/Diastat AcuDial) rectal gel
Fentanyl (Actiq) lozenges
Fentanyl (Duragesic) transdermal system (patches)
Fentanyl (Fentora) tablets
Fentanyl (Onsolis) soluble film
Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) tablets or oral liquid
Meperidine (Demerol) tablets or oral solution
Methadone HCl (Dolophine, Methadose) oral solution or tablets
Methylphenidate (Daytrana) patches
Morphine sulfate (Avinza, Kadian, Oramorph SR) extended release capsules
Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, Percodan) tablets
Oxymorphone (Opana, Opana ER) tablets
Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) oral solution
This method of disposal is generally considered safe. It is also recommended over keeping the expired medications for other people to discover and potentially use.
Overcoming drug addiction is not an easy task. The journey towards recovery may be difficult, but it is worth it in the long run because you can regain your sobriety and start living a healthy life once again. Look for an addiction treatment center near you today if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, and find out about the programs they offer. Your road to recovery begins today.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.