The First Step To Overcoming Drug Abuse And Addiction
Developing an addiction to drugs isnt a character flaw or a sign of weakness, and it takes more than willpower to overcome the problem. Abusing illegal or certain prescription drugs can create changes in the brain, causing powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that makes sobriety seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how many times youve tried and failed before. With the right treatment and support, change is always possible.
For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. Its normal to feel uncertain about whether youre ready to start recovery, or if you have what it takes to quit. If youre addicted to a prescription drug, you may be concerned about how youre going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition. Its okay to feel torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:
- the way you deal with stress
- who you allow in your life
- what you do in your free time
- how you think about yourself
- the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take
Its also normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you know its causing problems in your life. Recovery requires time, motivation, and support, but by making a commitment to change, you can overcome your addiction and regain control of your life.
When Your Addiction Is To A Narcissist
If you have an energy vampire, or narcissist, in your life and you are hanging on to the relationship to the point where your life is disrupted, this is called narcissistic addiction. And it is real! In fact, there are even biochemical changes in your body that take place, as with any addiction. Because of this, your brain chemicals can actually lock you into addiction to an energy vampire. Of course, if you already have addictive tendencies such as to drugs or alcohol you may understand the brain chemical aspect. It works like this:
You experience the release of dopamine when the narcissist is love-bombing you with gifts and compliments. You also experience the release of oxytocin when you are physically around your energy vampire, especially if you are in a sexual relationship. Then, when the energy vampire starts to exhibit unpredictable behavior, you experience adrenaline rushes. Finally, when you experience abuse at the hands of a narcissist you ultimately experience the effects of a constant stream of cortisol.
Keep Drug Triggers And Cravings In Check
Your recovery doesnt end at getting sober. Your brain still needs time to recover and rebuild connections that changed while you were addicted. During this rebuild, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued recovery by avoiding people, places, and situations that trigger your urge to use:
Step away from your friends who use. Dont hang out with friends who are still doing drugs. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.
Avoid bars and clubs. Even if you dont have a problem with alcohol, drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can easily lead to a relapse. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use.
Be upfront about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment. If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be upfront and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain if that happens, find another provider.
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Do You Have A Problem With Gambling
Many terms are used to describe gambling problems, including “problem,””at risk,””compulsive,””disordered,” and “pathological.”1
The American Psychiatric Association uses the term “gambling disorder” in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to describe the most severe form of gambling problems. Keep in mind, however, that individual experiences with gambling can differ wildly from person to person.
According to the Manual, a gambling disorder is characterized by:
- A preoccupation with gambling
- The perceived inability to cut back or control one’s gambling
- Irritability or restlessness when one tries to cut back or stop gambling
- Risking more money to reach the same levels of excitement as before
- Gambling to escape problems or depression
- “Chasing” gambling losses with more gambling to try to make up for them
- Risking or losing jobs or relationships because of gambling
- Relying on others for the financial needs caused by gambling
If you’re experiencing any or all of the above to any degree, it’s likely that you don’t have a normal relationship with gambling. You don’t need to be completely out of control to have a gambling problem.2 In fact, problem gambling is any kind of behavior that disrupts your life, regardless of how much you gamble or how much money is at stake.
Tip 4: Managing Depressive Symptoms In Substance Abuse Clients During Early Recovery
This guide helps substance use counselors treat clients with symptoms of depression and substance use conditions. Program administrators will learn how to integrate depression treatment into early drug treatment. The guidelines cover screening, assessment, treatment, counseling, cultural competence, and continuing care.
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What Is Sexual Addiction
Id say the biggest thing that most people dont understand about sexual addiction is that sex addiction isnt about sex. The way that I see it, sexual addiction is more about shame, isolation, adrenaline, and unworthiness than it is about chasing after sexual experiences.
Or, as one SAA member once so eloquently put it in a meeting that I attended, When I act out with sex workers, Im not thinking to myself Oh boy, this is going to be super fun!. But rather, Im thinking I have such a tornado of pain inside of myself that I either have to kill myself or compulsively act out to numb the pain.’
Compulsive sexual behaviour is what sex addicts use to numb out their emotions, just like alcoholics often use staying drunk to avoid feeling their underlying difficult emotions.
Sexual addiction, just like any drug addiction, can have a sliding scale of symptoms ranging in severity. For some people, sex addiction looks like chronic masturbation to porn, where they dont feel like they can function in society without climaxing at least seven times a day. For others, sex addiction could look like occasional flare ups of wanting to use or act out with sex workers only when theyre going through emotionally trying times .
Ive met hundreds of sex addicts and there is no singular unifying theme that connects all addicts at least not in terms of how they like to act out sexually.
If the behaviour has control over you, then it has likely become a problem in your life.
What Does Withdrawal From Porn Look Like
Like any other addiction, theres an emotional, physiological, and even physical dependence, and people can experience withdrawal symptoms from quitting pornography.
Symptoms include signs such as:
Sudden irritability, mood swings, or depression: Since a lot of extreme porn abusers may use sexual content to cope with other negative emotions in life, the early days of sobriety can bring up these suppressed feelings. Its not unusual for an addict to feel irritable, depressed or even anxious after theyve gone without porn.
Insomnia: The longer youre away from pornography, the more you may think about it. Initially, addicts may have trouble sleeping at night or feeling to need to masturbate.
Intense feelings of loneliness: Sometimes, porn usage can mask underlying issues that addicts may have, especially related to emotional or physical intimacy.
Without the release that explicit sexual imagery provides, feelings of loneliness and longing for a physical connection can begin to bubble up.
A desire to use another addiction to replace pornography: With a porn addicts coping mechanism gone, they may begin searching for a new one, especially when theyre new to recovery.
As a result, this can create a cross-addiction, where they turn to another substance like alcohol, drugs, or food to cope with the uncomfortable emotions theyre experiencing.
After witnessing bizarre and intense sexual intercourse scenes, having a soft, romantic experience may not seem enough or attractive.
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Be Accountable To Someone
In the professional world, people who want to stop procrastinating and boost their productivity and performance use accountability partners. These partners keep them sober and accelerate their rate of recovery.
You also need an accountability partner to help you beat your addiction. You should communicate with your accountability partner at least once or twice a week. Youll share your thoughts, emotions and your progress.
Before you go to the bar, smoke a cigarette or gamble your money remember that youll be accountable for your actions. Your accountability partner should be someone whom you respect and is willing to tell you the truth no matter what.
Addiction To Dopamine & depression
There is a well-established connection between dopamine and depression. However, dopamine isn’t likely the only neurotransmitter involved if you have depression. Dopamine can create a greater problem with depression in some individuals compared to others. The impact of dopamine in your depression is largely dependent on your unique biochemical makeup. Depression and dopamine changes that go with it are often implicated in addictions. That’s why dopamine antidepressants such as bupropion can help with addiction as well as depression. The depression-dopamine connection, then, plays a part in the treatment of many different conditions, particularly addictions.
Dopamine and Bipolar
The dopamine theory of bipolar, although still relatively new, suggests that dopamine plays a major role in both depressed and manic phases of bipolar disorder. During the manic phase, dopamine transmissions are high. In depression, your dopamine is low. It’s also interesting to note that as you go through mania, your dopamine receptors become less sensitive, leading you into eventual depression. As the transmissions decrease during the depressive phase, the receptors become more sensitive again, leading you back to mania.
ADHD And Dopamine
Dopamine And Parkinson’s
Dopamine And Schizophrenia
Behaviors That Trigger Dopamine Production
Porn And Dopamine
Dopamine And Sex
Cocaine And Dopamine
Alcohol And Dopamine
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Find Support For Your Addiction Recovery
Dont try to go it alonereach out for support. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is essential. The more people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, the better your chances for recovery.
Lean on close friends and family. Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If youre reluctant to turn to your loved ones because youve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy.
Build a sober social network. If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. Its important to have sober friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.
Consider moving into a sober living home. Sober living homes provide a safe, supportive place to live while youre recovering from drug addiction. They are a good option if you dont have a stable home or a drug-free living environment.
Make meetings a priority. Join a 12-step recovery support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous , and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand exactly what youre going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.
Reflect On Your Addiction
Take time to reflect on what is important to you, how addiction has negatively affected you, and how your life will improve with sobriety.
The easiest way to reflect effectively is to keep a daily journal. With a journal, you can help yourself start a plan to stop addiction to help identify patterns, triggers, goals, and motivators.
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Fuel Your Fantasy Self With Action Instead Of Material Stuff
Do you know who your fantasy self is? This can influence you to buy things you love but arent practical for your current lifestlye. I believe we all have a fantasy self.
For example, I love designer high heel shoes. I used to think that if I bought high heels, it would make me feel more empowered, beautiful, and feminine. But I work from home and rarely do activities where it would be appropriate to wear high heels.
Now when I want to shop for something, I ask myself WHY do I really want this item? Most of the time, I want to buy the item because its related to my fantasy self and how I want to portray myself.
To shop more with intention, focus on finding an action step you can take to build your fantasy self instead of buying more stuff. Below are some examples:
- Want to buy a cute workout outfit to feel more motivated? Start by actually going to the gym or pressing play on your favorite fitness streaming service.
- Want to buy a pair of high heels to feel more sexy? Give yourself an at-home spa mask and try a new makeup routine using products you already have.
- Want to buy a leather jacket to feel more edgy and adventurous? Cook something new or check out live music in your city. Some places offer free concerts or events.
Values: Building On Your Values Foundation
Values play a critical role in addictionand your values are likely to be the key to beat addiction. This is a matter of both considering what your values are and sometimes refocusing on dormant values or even developing new ones.
When you can truly experience how a habit is damaging what is most important to you, the stepping-stones away from your destructive habit often fall readily into place.
2.1. What Are Values? Do they really matter?
Your values are your beliefs that some things are right and good and others wrong and bad, that some things are more important than others, and that one way of doing things is better than another. Values are usually deeply heldthey come from your earliest learning and background. Values reflect what your parents taught you, what you learned in school and religious institutions, and what the social and cultural groups you belong to hold to be true and right.
Many people find that alcohol is tremendously relaxing, sexually exhilarating, or provides some other powerful, welcome feelingbut they do not become alcoholics. They simply refuse to go there. Have you ever heard someone say, I know that when I have more than one drink, I throw all caution to the wind? Most people who react so violently to alcohol say, Thats why I limit myself to a single drink or Thats why I dont drink. But those addicted to alcohol regularly override this realization about their reactions to alcohol and continue to drink.
2.3. Returning to my Uncle Ozzie
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Identify Your Weak Spots
When are you most likely to indulge in addictive behavior or consume a drug? Do you like doing it in the morning? Do you do it in your car? Or in the bar? When you stop engaging in these behaviors, your brain will start going crazy.
Therefore, its important to make plans early enough to avoid sinking in the same act again and again. For instance, if you usually smoke in your car before walking into your office, you can think of doing something that will benefit you in the long run during that period.
It could be something like drinking some juice, calling someone or chewing gum. By replacing the negative behaviors with the positive, youll feel more positive about yourself and youll start recovering.
Unsubscribe From All Retailer Emails
If you find yourself being tempted to spend money every time a sales email pops up in your inbox, then its time to click unsubscribe. I recommend unsubscribing from ALL retailer emails to avoid the urge to impulse spend. This also means delelting shopping apps off your phone.
If youre subscribed to a lot of store emails , consider using a service like Clean Email Inbox.
This powerful app will saves you TONS of time by quickly sorting and deleting thousands of old emails, unsubscribing from newsletters, and automating your routine email tasks.
Initially when I started unsubscribing to retailer emails, I stayed on the mailing list for a few select stores. This was a big mistake though, because I still felt tempted to spend money whenever I received an email. If youre serious about controling shopping addiction, then you need to unsubscribe from all retailers.
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Replace Your Old Habits With New Similar Ones
Finding something similar to your bad habit can help you easily replace it. If you only have the choice to give into your habit or stay at an equilibrium, your habit will likely influence your choosing. If you have two choices, one new choice and one old choice, you have a better chance at picking the new choice that will help you form a positive habit since it puts you at an elevated level compared to where you were before.
For example, when someone who uses drugs feel stressed, they are more inclined to use the drugs than to not use the drugs and deal with stress on their own. Using the drugs puts them at a higher point than before but not using keeps them at the same stressful level. Instead, if you have the option to use drugs or go for a walk to get rid of stress you might pick going for a walk since the walk will likely de-stress your mind and body and put you at a better state than before.
If you drink alcohol when going out with friends and want to get sober, try a new non-alcoholic drink. You will still enjoy having something in your hand and tasting a good drink , but this time it wont be giving into your bad habit. As you start to replace your bad choices with better choices, you will likely reach for the better choice first, without even contemplating it!