Addictions are more than being dependent on a substance like cocaine or heroin. If an individual is unable to stop using a specific chemical or drug, it is called chemical dependency. If the individual is unable to stop participating in certain activities like eating or gambling, the issue is behavioral. Addictions are a chronic disease often resulting from using medications. Every day, there are 115 deaths caused by overusing prescription opioids in the United States. Once an individual becomes addicted to a substance, they can lose control. They need the substance to cope with their lives every day.
Addictions to prescription opioids, illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in the United States cost more than $740 billion per year for treatment, the impact of crime, and lost work. The majority of individuals start using drugs involuntarily. The problem is once the substance has taken over, the individual loses their self-control. Addiction means the individual is unable to stop using alcohol or drugs. They will continue even if it harms themselves or the people who love them. The effect on the body and mind is different with each drug. Certain drugs are more potent and addictive than others. As time passes, addictions develop due to drug misuse.
When addictions to drugs or alcohol are not treated, the result can be severe injury or death. There are multiple factors as to whether the person you love may develop an addiction to alcohol or drugs. This includes genetics, physical or emotional trauma, drug abuse at a young age and a family history of abusing alcohol or drugs. Addictions are complicated and often chronic. This can cause substantial damage to relationships, families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. The individual will often attempt to quit and fail, will experience withdrawal, lose control, and begin using the substance again.
- Difficulty sustaining relationships and becoming angry with anyone aware a drug dependency is involved.
- Becoming secretive, hiding the drug and refusing to acknowledge any injuries sustained while using the drug
- An uncontrollable need to have drugs or alcohol
- Noticeable changes in appearance and hygiene
- Losing interest in or neglecting activities the individual once enjoyed because the harmful substance is not involved
- The inability to discontinue using the drug despite health or personal issues such as relationships or employment
- Using a harmful amount of a drug until this behavior becomes established
- Taking more risks while using the substance
The Reason Overcoming Addictions is Difficult
You need to understand your loved one quitting the drug is not an issue of morality or willpower. Overcoming a dependency on drugs is a struggle even if the individual genuinely wants to stop. This is because of the functions of the brain change due to drug abuse. Heroin provides a euphoric high by tricking the brain into releasing specific neurochemicals. Methamphetamine and cocaine result in the brain, releasing an excessive amount of a chemical called dopamine. This chemical induces happiness. The makeup of the brain is altered by drugs causing the individual to become addicted once addictions are formed, the resistance or tolerance to the drug increases.
Once your loved one has become addicted, more of the drug becomes necessary to achieve the high they have become accustomed to. As time passes, the only way the individual will feel healthy is to keep using the drug. If they completely stop using the drug, the result is painful withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are one of the key reasons it is so difficult to stop using alcohol or drugs. To make sure, your loved one remains safe; they must receive medical help for managing their withdrawal. If they stop without help, it can be perilous. The symptoms of withdrawal are dependent on the substance being used.
Cocaine: The withdrawal symptoms include tiredness, agitation, intense cravings, anxiety, depression, and restlessness. Your loved one may not be able to feel pleasure or become suicidal.
Opiates: This type of withdrawal feels like extremely intense flu. Your loved one may experience chills, aches, cramps, diarrhea, insomnia, fever, muscle spasms, deep bone pain, vomiting, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Ecstasy: The withdrawal causes panic attacks, paranoia, tension, poor quality of sleep, anxiety, delusions, and insomnia.
Benzodiazepines: This includes Valium and Xanax. The symptoms include stomach pain and cramps, aching joints, hyperactivity, burning, strange fears, a feeling of detachment from the body, apathy, diarrhea, agitation, irrational rages, electric shocks, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and depression.
Marijuana: The symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, no appetite, physical tension, depression, and mood swings.
Methamphetamine: The symptoms are irritability, anxiety, unusual hunger, nausea, an abnormal heartbeat, depression, weakness, paranoia, headache, and overwhelming fatigue.
Alcohol: An alcoholic may suffer from vomiting, headaches, sound and light sensitivity, agitation, irritability, seizures, profuse sweating, diarrhea, tremors, difficulty concentrating, and high fevers.
Some of the symptoms resulting from withdrawal can be fatal. The only way to ensure your loved one remains safe is to have them detox at a medical facility with 27/7 care. A medical professional can administer medications to ease the process of withdrawal.
Understanding you are Not to Blame.
When your loved one becomes dependant on drugs or alcohol, the lives of their family and friends are impacted as well. This often results in both emotional and physical pain. You need to understand this is not your fault and the blame is not yours to carry. It is never your fault if a loved one becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. One of the critical factors of your loved one’s recovery is accepting the responsibility for their actions and becoming sober. Once you have accepted the fact their addiction was not your fault, your family can begin to heal.
Feeling hurt by the actions of your loved one due to their dependency on drugs or alcohol is natural. If you do not let go of your anger and frustration, you will be unable to rebuild trust within your family. There are support groups available to help the friends and family of addicts deal with their feelings while offering their loved ones support during their recovery.
There are a lot of different ways to help your loved one overcome their dependency on drugs or alcohol. You can begin by staging an intervention. A professional can help you set up a meeting between the individual with the drug or alcohol dependency and their friends and loved ones. An intervention is an excellent tool for encouraging your loved one to seek treatment for their drug or alcohol dependency. Medically supervised detox is critical for the safety of your loved one during their withdrawal. In some cases, the symptoms can be so severe the life of the individual is in jeopardy without medical supervision.
Both outpatient and inpatient facilities are available to help your loved one detox and recover from a severe dependency. Medical professionals can reduce the painful symptoms of withdrawal. There are treatment centers all over the country specializing in outpatient and inpatient recovery. If your loved one is in an outpatient program, they will recover at home while they are going through rehabilitation. If an inpatient drug rehab is necessary, they will receive care on-site 24/7. These types of facilities offer your loved one the mental health and medical expertise required for them to get and remain sober.
Many treatment centers practice CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy for alcohol or drug addictions. These techniques will help your loved one recover. Individuals with addictions are taught how to cope with their emotions without the use of alcohol or drugs. There are also numerous support groups consisting of individuals with similar experiences in the same situation as your loved one. They can be a tremendous help when your loved one is struggling with their dependency.
There are twelve-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous that have been around for decades. Millions of individuals have received support from these programs during their recovery. New self-help programs such as SMART recovery have also been established to provide support for recovering addicts. There are a lot of actions you can take to help your loved one be successful in fighting their dependency. Remaining both supportive and firm regarding their treatment is extremely important.
If you need help finding treatment for your loved one, you are not alone. There are dedicated treatment professionals available to help you. While your loved one is in detox, the medical professional will administer medications to help ease their symptoms. According to studies, almost eighty percent of all detox programs provide this type of medication. The dosage and specific medicines will depend on each individual and the drug they have been using. It is impossible to stress medical supervision is necessary to make sure your loved one’s withdrawal is safe.
Your loved one needs help to recover from their \alcohol or drug dependency. The best option is treatment because it has been proven to be beneficial. There are a lot of different options to choose from, but there should be several that are appropriate for your loved one.