By Jose Balasco
Addictive drugs can destroy people from the inside out. If you or someone you love are suffering from a substance use disorder and haven’t sought treatment yet, Flint: Our Community Our Voice presents some information on how to do just that.
Is it Addiction?
It’s not easy admitting that you have a problem and especially when that problem is one as intimate as drug abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that addiction is characterized by a number of factors including thinking about drugs often, making mistakes because of recreational drug use and damaged relationships. Even more difficult than accepting the problem is the process of getting sober. If you’re unsure if you have a problem, this quick quiz offered by Mental Health America is a private and discreet way to self-reflect.
Just Stop… Not an Option
It’s easy for people outside the realm of addiction to tell a user they should just quit. The truth is that it’s more complex than making a simple decision. Drugs and alcohol change the chemical makeup of the brain. The brain scans of long-term drug addicts reveal startling transformations, especially to the portion of the brain that regulates self-control. The body and brain become dependent upon your substance of choice and can experience significant withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, nausea, insomnia and seizures if not fed a constant supply.
That First Scary Step
The idea of pulling away from drugs or alcohol can be terrifying and exciting all at once. The first step toward reaching your goal of sustainable sobriety is asking for help. This may be from your doctor, addiction specialist, or family. You may turn to your church leaders for assistance. The Gateway Foundation discusses ways faith can assist you throughout your addiction recovery journey.
Knowing when you need professional treatment for addiction can be a difficult decision. If you are struggling with addiction, it is important to recognize that it is not a sign of weakness to seek help. Some signs that you may need professional treatment include experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using, continuing to use despite negative consequences, and feeling unable to control or stop your use. Seeking professional help at rehab centers that are free can provide the necessary support and resources to achieve long-term recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.
With the help of medical or other addiction treatment professionals, you can come up with a plan of action that should include medically supervised detox and long-term treatment. The Department of Health and Human Services has set up a helpline (800.662.HELP) to assist you in locating a treatment facility that can handle your needs.
On the Road to Recovery
Once you’ve made a leap of faith and found a drug treatment that’s right for you, you’ll need to commit to sobriety each day. It’s not always easy and, no matter how successful you are during the early stages of recovery, there will always be the fear of relapse living in the back of your mind. You can avoid temptation by adding healthy routines to your day. This might include exercising, cooking, spending time with family and friends, or volunteering.
Consider your Job and Workplace
If you work in a situation that has triggered substance abuse for you in the past, it may be time to consider other options. Or you may have given up your job when you sought treatment. Either way, finding a healthy way to generate income is crucial. Starting your own business sounds like a big deal, but it can be done part time, and might provide the flexibility needed to carry on with a strong recovery. Many different possibilities exist for businesses you can do from home.
Helping a Friend or Family Member
If you feel stuck watching a loved one suffering with addiction, you don’t have to sit back and passively watch them self-destruct. There are plenty of ways you can help. Start by finding a quiet moment when you can bring up your concerns. Your loved one may be ready and willing to receive treatment but not know how to ask for help. Talk with them about their circumstances.
Has your friend, adult child, or spouse recently suffered a significant injury? If so, are they being treated with prescription opioids? Sometimes, a valid medical need can turn into an unintentional addiction without warning. There are numerous causes of drug abuse and if you can help your loved one identify the root of the problem, they will be that much closer to a successful recovery.
Find the Support You Need
Addiction is a lifelong battle, but you don’t have to let addiction continue to dictate who you are and what you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and know that assistance is just a phone call or conversation away. With the right support and dedication, you can have a successful addiction recovery story!
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