Why People Can’t Beat Drug Abuse by Themselves
Drug abuse can develop when life events converge to cause extreme physical or emotional pain that requires intervention. Few addicts planned to become addicted to drugs, prescription or illicit, when the first dose was taken. Once the addiction takes hold of a person, independent attempts at overcoming addiction are impossible because of the radical changes that happened in the body, lifestyle, and relationships of the addict. Treatment programs offer hope to those who have fallen prey to the stronghold created by drug abuse.
More Than “Mind Over Matter”
Unfortunately, those who have never experienced an addiction believe that drug abuse can be resolved with “mind over matter.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Drug addiction contains multiple facets that become stronger as substance abuse continues.
- Physical need – The human body “remembers” the effects of a drug in the tissues and brain. Physical need to repeat the physical sensation the drug creates becomes stronger with each subsequent use of the substance. As time passes, the addict will require higher doses, or more powerful drugs, to achieve the same physical sensation. The cycle continues until the addict enters a treatment program or dies from an overdose.
- Coping mechanism – An addict relies on the drug of choice to deal with life’s problems. Drug addiction creates more problems when the job is lost because of drug use. Solutions to problems are buried in the cycle of drug highs and lows that create an alternate reality for the addict. Overcoming addiction requires learning new coping skills that do not include drugs.
- Lifestyle pattern – Drug abuse requires association with a provider, fellow users and secrecy. Addicts become withdrawn in the quest to fulfill the drug cravings that continue to strengthen. Exposure to the settings where drug use is expected ensures that the drug addict continues to use the substance. Acceptance is sought from the wrong sources when the addict has lost contact with family and friends who disapprove of the drug habit.
Addicts Miscalculate the Effects
Caring friends and family members strive to convince the drug addict that the substance has taken over his life. No amount of convincing will cause the addict to embrace a successful effort at overcoming addiction. Drug addicts lead a double life that causes internal conflict between logic and emotion. Periods of time when the addict is “high” allow the addict to avoid reality where friends and family members live. Dealing with the addict during this time is avoided because of the lack of reasoning that exists. Some of the effects they experience include the following:
- Inability to live responsibly – Addicts are unable to retain employment that would provide money for rent, food and basic needs. Friends and family members are asked for money or support to compensate for the addiction. Early on, the addict is able to hide the cause for these problems. Once the truth is revealed, people will sever ties with the addict. Close relationships will be damaged because of the trust that is broken as the addict attempts to live a double life.
- Drug need trumps relationships – Addicts lose perspective concerning right and wrong when the drug need increases and monetary sources dry up quickly. At times, the addict will go to great lengths to extract money, or valuables, from people who once mattered to the drug user. Physical need for the drug will cause extreme emotional reactions that will be spewed on other people, including children. Avoidance of the addict becomes essential for those who have been betrayed for a drug habit.
- Others’ lives are affected – Drug use blinds the addict to the needs of children, spouses, aging parents and friends. Overcoming addiction is prevented when the drug addict refuses to acknowledge that many other people are paying the price for his actions.
Addiction Programs Teach Life Skills
Drug addicts know that serious choices are required to address the drug problem that has developed over time. Fear must be addressed in the effort to convince the addict to enter a professional treatment program. Few people enjoy the thought of undergoing significant life changes because of a deep-seated fear of the unknown. Successful completion of the program can lead to overcoming addiction because of important facets that are addressed.
- Address physical need – Removing access to the drug will cause physical discomfort for a number of days, or weeks. Once the human body has forgotten its need for the substance, the treatment program can proceed. Addicts fight this program phase because of the battle that must be fought to regain control over both mind and body. Treatment programs are designed to reduce the body’s withdrawal reaction through proven techniques.
- Create life structure – Each day inside a drug-abuse treatment facility is structured to remove temptation for the participants. Every minute is scheduled to train each person to implement a daily routine that will carry over into life after the program. Basic skills are taught with hands on experience that must be continued after leaving the facility. Lifestyle changes provide the foundation necessary to repair relationships and embrace productive life activities.
- Provide on-going support – Drug addicts know that the group of supportive friends in the substance abuse circle must be left in the past. New friendships are built when the former drug addict faithfully attends support meetings. Daily success is rewarded through recognition in the new group of friends.
- Teach coping skills – Problems that arise in the former addict’s life will be addressed through acceptable methods that do not include substance abuse. Professionals will be available to support the individual in daily challenges that require problem-solving skills.
Successful Recovery is Possible
Anyone dealing with a drug habit should seek help from the best treatment program available. Overcoming addiction is possible when the addict admits that professional help will change his reality. Humans need support from like-minded individuals if the problems in life are going to be managed appropriately and overcome. The addict must find emotional acceptance from the people who want him to stop the drug habit. Criticism of mistakes made after the battle appears to be won will derail the addict’s journey.