Things You Get Wrong About Addiction
Innumerable studies have elucidated the ultimate effects of addiction on the brain characterized by cell death, perversion of keystone biological functioning, and biological assimilation and eventually necessity for addictive substances. Drug addiction has measurable effects on both the body and mind. After physical dependency is established- perhaps in 21 days (it varies from person to person based on natural susceptibility) substance abuse is no longer a “choice,” but a physical compulsory necessity to function normally.
Compared to any other disease, managing addiction and helping those afflicted by the disorder is 100% attainable. Only one in ten addicts will get treatment for the disorder. Many succumb to fatal overdoses lack medical and psychological treatment. And, someone with unmanaged chronic depression may also commit suicide.
What one must understand is that substance abuse and addiction are different. With the age old debate, ‘addiction is a choice’ is confused with substance abuse. Addiction by nature is a biologically compulsive necessity to use an addictive substance of habit. It is possible to be addicted to multiple substances. Likewise, substance abuse is the use of drugs or alcohol, without being physically addicted.
There are innumerable doors to addiction. Some of the most common include untreated psychological disorders like schizophrenia, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, chronic depression, and the like. Often abusive environments and relationships lead people to addictive drugs- as do partners (or friends) who abuse addictive substances.
One of the biggest causes of addiction is not so much of the chemical hooks themselves, but the environment in which the addict lives and the state of their emotions and life. What this means is that if someone is weaned off a drug, but the underlying causes of what made them likely to become an addict in the first place are not addressed, they often end up just switching their addiction to something else.
This is why some people have gone to rehab clinics and managed to drop their addiction to deadly drugs, only to come out with a brand new addiction to sugary or fatty foods that made them gain a ton of weight. Of course, most people would still say that this is a better alternative, and the specific problem could be solved by offering better meal plans and advice at rehabilitation clinics.
The much bigger problem is that addiction switching often means simply switching from one hard drug to another—fatty foods and sugar are really the least of your worries. Researchers have explained that it’s not uncommon for opiate users to switch to alcohol because they don’t think it’s as bad as what they’ve been using. It’s also not uncommon for it to happen the other way around, where an alcohol addiction is replaced by an opiate addiction.
Most people think that addiction is the result of chemical changes that are made in your brain. The drug sets off the pleasure centers of your brain making you want more and more until your brain starts to change shape and adapt.
As much as you care about your loved one and you want to do everything to shield them from pain, you cannot bail them out every time. It’s not wrong to care so much for an addict in your family; it’s a natural instinct. But, you will do a better job if you can send them to a drug treatment center that will look after their best interest, help them face their issues and teach them positive coping skills and stress-reduction techniques.