Tip #: Educate Yourself
Get information about addictions. Understand the addicts disease process. Find information about how it impacts the family and friends. Knowledge is power and it may help you understand more about yourself and your loved one. There are many resources for finding this information: SAMHSA.gov has all types of educational and informational resources. The public library and the internet have an enormous amount of information for education, groups, support, treatment, etc.
How To Overcome An Addiction
John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .
People who have a substance use disorder often find that overcoming it is more challenging than they expected. They may feel that addiction is a myth and they can quit any time they want or that they are an exception to the rule. This can also occur with behavioral addictions involving activities such as eating, sex, gambling, shopping, and exercise.
Learning how to overcome an addiction is important for anyone experiencing a substance use disorder , alcohol use disorder , or behavioral addiction. While challenging, recognizing that there is a problem and learning more about the process of quitting are important first steps in recovery.
This article discusses what you will need to do to overcome an addiction and offers tips that can help. It also covers the symptoms of withdrawal that you might experience and some of the effective treatment options that are available.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Breaking Free From Addiction
Researchers have developed effective behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies to treat addiction but addiction treatment practice hasn’t caught up with the science. What can psychologists do to help?
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For more than five years, David Sheff watched his son Nic battle methamphetamine addiction. By age 25, Nic had been in and out of rehab and tried half a dozen treatment programs. Some helped, temporarily. But always, he had relapsed, ending up back on the streets, terrifying himself and his parents.
“I was frantic,” he says. “I called the guy who knows more about meth than anyone in the world, and I asked him Where can I send my son?’ And he had no idea. He was stunned. He asked colleagues, other researchers, and they didn’t know either.”
Sheff did find a treatment program for his son, but not through his scientist contacts he found it through a friend, another father with an addicted child.
Today, Nic is 30 years old and five years clean, married and the author of two memoirs about his addiction. But the episode, according to Sheff, illustrates the chasm between the science of addiction treatment and the programs that are available to most of the people who need them.
It’s a brew of “pseudoscience, tradition and the best guesses of people who are sincere, but that doesn’t mean they know how to help,” as Sheff puts it.
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Don’t Tell Them What To Do
You want to help your loved one with their addiction in any way you can, but you can’t control exactly how they do it. They may have unconventional ways of looking at their addiction, or maybe they’re experimenting with alternative therapies or treatments.
As long as they aren’t causing more harm to themselves or others in the process, you can show them that you respect their way of making positive changes. Rather than dictating what they must do, ask them how you can help.
For instance, saying “Why haven’t you gotten help already?,” or telling them what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do comes across as condescending. You want to avoid putting added pressure on them and instead, be a trusted friend that they feel safe with.
You should just quit cold turkey. It worked for someone else I know.
I want you to feel your best. I can help you research treatment centers or therapists if you’d like.
Eat Right Eat Together
Encourage the whole family to eat together. Being in a family setting does a lot for a recovering addict. It helps not only them but the rest of the family reconnect and share their stories. Dont forget to prepare healthy foods. This includes avoiding alcohol, which is a leading source of addiction that often gets ignored.
In the United States, alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death. Remember, it classifies as a depressant and has serious effects on the mind and body when abused.
Read Also: How Many Cigarettes Get You Addicted
Understand That It Is Not The Fault Of Your Loved One
Most people think that alcoholics cannot control their drinking because they lack willpower. But in reality, alcoholism is not a moral failing but a complex disorder caused by numerous factors.1
Alcohol use disorders are caused by genetics, environment, society, and long-term exposure to alcohol. These factors lead to changes in the brain, making it difficult to stop drinking.
Knowing that AUD is a treatable medical condition is key to helping them.
How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction: 10 Ways To Support Them
June 02, 2020Addiction
When someone that you love is struggling with addiction, it can also feel like a struggle to find ways to help. The truth of the matter is that recovery from drug addiction is usually a long and complicated journey. With the support of a loved one, it can become that much easier to begin the journey and see it through to the end.
If you dont have much experience with drug or alcohol addiction, the whole situation can quickly feel overwhelming. Instead of ignoring the situation or backing away because of the overwhelm, take the time to encourage them to identify their problem and seek a solution.
Are you trying to navigate the complexities of addiction by being a support system for a loved one? There are certain things you can do to provide the most help. Some things should be avoided for the best chance of recovery.
Below, were sharing how to help a loved one with a substance use addiction and a few things to avoid while supporting someone through it.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options
Some people are able to stop drinking on their own or with the help of a 12-step program or other support group . Others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much youve been drinking, how long youve had a problem, the stability of your living situation, and other health issues you may have.
The first step is often to consult your primary care doctor or GP. Your doctor can evaluate your drinking patterns, diagnose any co-occurring disorders, assess your overall health, and offer treatment referrals. They may even be able to prescribe medication to help you quit.
|Examples of alcohol treatment programs|
Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility while undergoing intensive treatment during the day. Residential treatment normally lasts from 30-90 days.
Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but have a stable living situation. These treatment programs usually meet at the hospital for 3-5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day.
Intensive outpatient programs focus on relapse prevention and can often be scheduled around work or school.
Therapy can help you identify the root causes of your alcohol use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills and how to deal with triggers that could cause you to relapse.
The Benefits Of Taking Action Early
Movies, books, and magazines often portray people who hit bottom before they can be helped. However, this representation is a myth. People do not need to bottom out to be helped. Research shows that early identification of the problem is a much more effective solution for substance use problems.
Early identification occurs at the first signs of a problem before anyone has suffered a traumatic event, dropped out of school, or lost important relationships, jobs, health, or self-respect.
Identification can be done through a health care professional screening, employee assistance professional, or family member. What happens after the screening depends on the results of the test. Some people can learn to cut back, while some need further assessment and possible treatment.
In general, all people are better equipped to work on recovery if their substance use problem is discovered and confronted early on. Treatment in the early stages of a substance use disorder is likely to be less intense, less disruptive, and cause less anxiety.
Waiting for people to ask for help is a risky strategy. Without help, family members can expect crises like arrests, medical emergencies, loss of job, public embarrassment, and even death.
Some people find that when they seek help for themselves, the person struggling with addiction gets angry. This may be perhaps because the efforts represent a loss of control. Also, getting help signals that you are serious about changing the situation.
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Physical Triggers And How To Cope
Physical triggers, also known as external triggers, are usually physically encountered. However, that doesnt always mean that they involve using substances specifically. For example, seeing a syringe is a very obvious physical trigger. But a physical trigger could also be part of a routine. Something that immediately preceded drug or alcohol use, or something that usually happened after. A physical addiction trigger could even be a car, or a type of car if it sets off a craving.
Regardless, it is going to take some work to move past associations, like going places or doing things. Although it might sound vague, substance abuse has likely infested many corners of an addicts lifestyle.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy during rehab is helpful to reform associations made with substance abuse triggers. With the help of a CBT therapist, its possible to break the bond between addiction and triggers. Then, to top it off, replace it with a healthy sober one.
Examples Of God Helping Drug Addiction
Dealing with addiction can drain you of your strength and cause you to wonder what youve done to deserve such punishment. Fact is, God does not promise that you will never stumble and fall. On the contrary, He stresses that everyone will face trials and tribulations through those darkest hours. He will guide your steps with these promises:
2 Corinthians 12:9 God tells you that his strength is all you need because His power is greatest when you are weak. When you are facing an addiction that makes you feel feeble and defeated, remember God is your strength and there to carry you through those moments.
Psalm 91:1-2 God promises that when you run to Him for safety, He will protect you. He is your defender that can help you defeat all things, including the addiction, that have plagued you for so long.
John 15:4-5 God is there to remind his children that their strength and power is derived from His strength and power. He states, Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. He does not care that we are all imperfect creatures. He embraces our faults and encourages everyone to use those faults to draw closer to him.
No person is alone in this life if they call to the Lord and ask for His love and guidance. He promises to support his children and deliver them from all the obstacles that aim to defeat them.
Read Also: How To Know If You Have An Alcohol Addiction
What Is Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery is a process of change through which people with substance use disorders improve their health and own well-being, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. The recovery process focuses on evidence-based treatments for substance abuse through detoxification, rehabilitation, therapy with support groups or family members, and follow-up care.
How Addiction Changes A Persons Personality
Addictive drugs all share one powerful ability: they interfere with the brains chemical processes, particularly those that involve dopamine. Dopamine is one of the bodys feel good chemicals as well as an essential neurotransmitter chemical. It plays a pivotal role in regulating the brains reward center, limbic system , and cognitive functions. All of these areas work together to form your belief systems, priorities, motivations, and behaviors.
When dopamine levels rise, the reward center remembers the conditions, such as what you were doing or where you were, that prompted the increase in dopamine. When repeated often enough, this area of the brain learns to seek out these same conditions. The other areas affected by dopamine work in tandem with the reward center. By the time addiction takes hold, drug use has become a vital need in the mind of the addict.
Personality changes develop as drugs take on more importance in the addicts life. Where once career and family held top priority, experiencing the drug high becomes more important than everything else. In order to protect this aspect of their lives, someone whos addicted will engage in behaviors they otherwise wouldnt do.
When youre dealing with a drug addict, expect to encounter one or more of the following behaviors:
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Five Steps To A Sober Lifestyle
How To Handle Employee Addiction Before Its Too Late
As an employer, its important for you to address drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace before it spirals out of control and there are a few crucial steps you can take to help solve the problem right from the start. First and foremost, it goes without saying that you should have a written company policy in place prohibiting drug and alcohol consumption in the workplace. As soon as theyre hired, all employees should be asked to read and sign it, confirming their understanding and acceptance of the policy. Next, a team, supervisor, or even the employer themselves should be tasked with keeping an eye out for signs of drug and alcohol abuse in and around the workplace and among employees. Last but not least, employers should promptly and sternly deal with employees suspected of substance abuse.
Read Also: What Is The First Stage Of Addiction
Handling Setbacks In Your Recovery
Alcohol recovery is a processone that often involves setbacks. Dont give up if you relapse or slip. A drinking relapse doesnt mean youre a failure or that youll never be able to reach your goal. Each drinking relapse is an opportunity to learn and recommit to sobriety, so youll be less likely to relapse in the future.
If You Are Struggling With Addiction Know That Addiction Is A Treatable Disease Not A Moral Failing
Substance use disorders create changes in the brain, leading to a compulsion to use drugs or alcohol. It is a chronic mental health condition however, sobriety is possible with the proper treatment and support.
Olympia House Rehab provides patients with individualized addiction treatment tailored to their long-term goals and mental health concerns.
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Write Your Quitting Commitment
God Wants Us To Experience Trials Because Its How We Grow
Learning to overcome difficult moments in life is the primary method we grow both emotionally and spiritually.
James 1:2-4 emphasizes this fact and reminds us to find joy in tumultuous life experiences.
It states: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Recommended Reading: How To Talk To An Addict About Getting Help
Is It Possible To Stop An Addiction
Yes, addiction and substance use disorders are treatable. Like other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as asthma or heart disease, addiction isnt curable but it can be successfully managed through proper treatment. Addiction has a relapse rate similar to other chronic diseases for example, the relapse rate for asthma or high blood pressure is 50-70%, while addiction has a relapse rate of around 40-60%. Addiction relapse is considered to be a normal part of the recovery process relapse does not mean that treatment has failed, but can mean that your treatment plan or treatment methods need to be re- evaluated.10
Effective treatment plans benefit from being individualized and constantly adjusted to your changing needstaking into account all of your biological, psychological, and social considerations. Your plan may involve a continuum of care, starting from the moment you enter detox, which focuses on treating withdrawal and helping you become medically stable. Once youve completed detox, youll be ready to transition to additional rehabilitation. Though treatment lengths vary, research supports relatively longer periods of treatment for optimal treatment outcomes. As a formal treatment program comes to an end, youll then move on to aftercare, which is designed to promote lifelong sobriety.5,8,13,14