Tip #: Learn As Much As You Can About Addiction
When your child had a cough or a cut growing up, did you not do your best to find out how to help them?
Knowledge is power. Its a saying we all have heard, and its why we would rush to learn when our children were hurt growing up.
The biggest tip we can possibly give you is: Try to understand as much as possible about what someone is experiencing with addiction.
You may be living in the same house as someone with an addiction and dealing with the effects of it every day. You see what they go through on a daily basis, but do you truly understand addiction?
Hopefully, you do have a firm grasp on addiction, and this is a tip you can check off of the list. If you dont have a basic understanding of addiction and how it works and what it does to a person, then youre part of the majority, unfortunately.
A long history of fear-based education about addiction has led a lot of people to feel shame, guilt, or fear over a family member battling addiction.;
Dont let that deter you from trying to help.;
A big hurdle can be jumped with a strong sense of what your child is going through. How many times have you gotten into screaming fights that end in days of not seeing your child or tears all around?
With a better understanding gained through research and professional guidance, you can potentially avoid those future arguments.
What youre doing right now is accomplishing the first tip. Youre reading and learning about how to help your child.
Chronic Adversity And Increased Vulnerability To Drug Use
There is considerable evidence from population-based and clinical studies supporting a positive association between psychosocial adversity, negative affect, and chronic distress and addiction vulnerability. The evidence in this area can be categorized into three broad types. The first includes prospective studies demonstrating that adolescents facing high recent negative life events show increased levels of drug use and abuse. Negative life events such as loss of parent, parental divorce and conflict, low parental support, physical violence and abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, isolation and deviant affiliation, and single-parent family structure have all been associated with increased risk of substance abuse.
Remind Yourself Of The Risks Of Using
Based on your experience with substance abuse, you are probably well-versed in the many consequences that can occur when you are under the influence. When you are craving something, remind yourself of the consequences that you suffered at the hands of addiction, and try to put into focus how picking up again will only lead to those consequences once more.
Spotting The Signs Of An Addiction
There are many signs of an addiction. While these may vary depending on the substance or activity, every addiction has the capacity to greatly impact self-esteem and confidence – inducing troublesome feelings such as shame, guilt, a sense of hopelessness and failure. Everyone is different and some people may be better at hiding their addiction, or they may not be aware it has become a problem, but certain behaviour changes can indicate a problem.
Common behaviours and signs of a possible addiction include:
- withdrawing from social activities or neglecting relationships
- borrowing money or selling possessions in order to fund their addiction
- attempting to hide or lie about the habit
- exhibiting frequent mood swings
- missing work, school or social events
- losing interest in activities or hobbies they previously enjoyed
However, with addictions being so varied – from gambling to drug abuse – signs of an addiction can be more or less obvious in people. For more information on the different types of addictions and the warning signs of each, please visit our fact-sheets.
Becoming A Member Of A Support Group
Additionally, a positive way to cope with addiction is to engage in various support groups. These groups could be faith-based or secular, as well as 12-step or non-12-step. These groups can offer you the benefit of shared experiences through peer-to-peer support. These interactions also offer greater accountability, encouragement, and access to various other addiction coping skills.
Early Life And Chronic Stress Dopamine Systems And Drug Self
Early-life stress and prolonged and repeated stress also adversely affect development of the prefrontal cortex, a region that is highly dependent on environmental experiences for maturation. The PFC, and particularly the right PFC, plays an important role both in activating the HPA axis and autonomic responses to stress and in regulating these responses. For example, lesions of the ventromedial PFC result in enhanced HPA and autonomic responses to stress. High levels of glucocorticoid receptors are also found in the PFC, and chronic GC treatment results in a dramatic dendritic reorganization of PFC neurons similar to that seen in the hippocampus., Furthermore, early postnatal MS and social isolation result in abnormally high synaptic densities in the PFC and altered densities of DA and serotonin terminals throughout the medial PFC. Social defeat stress also alters feedback from the PFC and contributes to drug self-administration. Human studies on the neurobiological effects of child maltreatment document neuroendocrine changes as well as alterations in size and volume of prefrontal, thalamic, and cerebellar regions associated with maltreatment and with initiation of addiction., Together, the data presented in this section highlight the significance of stress effects on mesolimbic and prefrontal regions involved in stress related behavioral control.
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.
Join An Online Group For Coping With Addiction
Right now, the best way to join an AA or a similar group is online. Some recovery centers offer an anonymous online chat room. Theyre for people who want to talk about their issues with others who have the same struggles.
However, the problem with online AA meetings is that theyre very different from actual AA meetings. The atmosphere doesnt feel the same and theres always a fear of being in an unsecured location. Theres a risk of skipping out on AA meetings that can drive you to start thinking of drinking or doing drugs again.
Try To Understand Your Craving
When you are craving drugs and/or alcohol, ask yourself why. What is occurring in your life that is causing you to crave use? Are you bored? Are you feeling overwhelmed by something in your life? Whatever it is, try to identify why you are feeling vulnerable at this time. Doing so can help you sort out this craving rather than give in to it.
The First Rule Of Recovery
You dont recover from an addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use.;If you dont create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.
You dont have to change everything in your life. But there are a few things and behaviors that have been getting you into trouble, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less well you will do.
Here are some common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery.
Addiction As A Brain Disease
Psychoactive substances interact in the brain, disrupting the normal transmission, production, and reabsorption of its chemical messengers. Dopamine and serotonin are often increased, for example. Gamma-aminobutyric acid , a sort of natural tranquilizer, or its virtual opposite, norepinephrine , may also be stimulated by drug abuse.
Functions of the central nervous system , like heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration rates, are also impacted by drug and alcohol use. Stimulant drugs increase CNS activity while depressants slow it down. With repeated drug or alcohol use, the brain becomes dependent on the substances to remain in balance, and difficult withdrawal symptoms occur when the substance wears off. Drug use may then become compulsive, and individuals may lose their ability to control how much and how often they use them.
In similar fashion, other compulsive behaviors, such as binge eating, shopping, gambling, sex, or playing video games, can also increase some of the pleasure-inducing brain chemicals that drugs and alcohol do and lead to addiction with prolonged repetition. These behavioral addictions can then become tools for managing unhappiness and stress, and may also be used as coping mechanisms. Cravings for the behavior can be intense, and withdrawal can be difficult, meaning that stress levels and unhappiness will increase if these compulsive behaviors are not repeated.
How To Recognize Addiction
Some of the most obvious ways to recognize addiction are associated with physical and psychological problems like being distant, engaging in illegal activities like stealing, academic negligence, weight loss, loss of motivation, and more. Most drugs cause a sense of paranoia, increased heart rate, panic attacks, and a high feeling that makes them profoundly addictive.
Drug addiction can be a result of environmental changes such as attitudes of your peers and family beliefs, or genetic traits that can speed up the progression of a disease. The addiction to a drug can cause many changes with the neurons or the neurotransmitters of the brain that can remain long after quitting drug use.
Stages Of Drug Withdrawal
Detox is just the beginning stage of withdrawal. In this stage the body is being cleansed of drugs. It can present a trauma situation to the body that has become dependent on drugs to function. Detoxing in a professional drug treatment center will provide you with knowledgeable caregivers who are trained to help you through this difficult process. Medical professionals are also available and may prescribe medications to ease the detox symptoms. During the first stages of drug withdrawal;you will experience some or all of the following symptoms during the first two to three days.
- Muscle, bone, and joint aches and pains
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
During the second stage of withdrawal, you may find you still dont feel like eating solid foods. You will be watched for dehydration if you have severe vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms in this stage include:
- Abdominal cramps
You are feeling better when the third stage kicks in. While most of your physical symptoms are gone, its not over yet. Insomnia, anxiety, and feelings of nausea are common in this stage. You may also experience cravings for the drug you have left behind. It is so important to be dedicated to your counseling and therapy so you dont relapse when a craving comes. You need the encouragement and support that counseling provides when you return to your job and normal life. Ongoing therapy will also give you the strength to stay away from old friends that still abuse drugs.
Talk To Others In The Same Situation
One of the feelings that people often have with an addicted family member is loneliness. It can be easy to think that theres no one to talk to about whats bothering you. However, there programs that are designed for the family of addicts that can give you a place to connect to your peers. These programs can help to reduce stress, improve mental health and provide much needed tips on how others coped with the problems of addiction.
How Does Divorce Impact Addiction
When you get into a marriage, you have high expectations that it will last forever. However, when a divorce happens, you become demoralized and develop the urge to feel better. After a divorce, you may turn to new behaviors such as substance abuse. Alcohol is often the immediate and socially acceptable way to take your mind off the pain. If you continue to rely on drugs to feel better, you develop an addiction. Since divorce can be excruciating, you should be careful of the role alcohol and drugs play in your marriage. Without the proper support system, divorce and addiction can decrease your standards of living.
Admit There Is A Problem
First things first, you must admit you have an addiction.
If you are feeling discomfort or guilt from your actions, or if your bad habits conflict or restrict your everyday activities, its time to consider help.
Dr. Elizabeth Hartney, PhD agrees, There are many factors, physical, mental, and emotional, that make quitting difficult.
This is why so many people find treatment helps to guide them through the complex process of quitting.
Tips For Finding The Best Drug Addiction Treatment For You
Remember that no treatment works for everyone. Everyones needs are different. Whether you have a problem with illegal or prescription drugs, addiction treatment should be customized to your unique situation. Its important that you find a program that feels right.
Treatment should address more than just your drug abuse. Addiction affects your whole life, including your relationships, career, health, and psychological well-being. Treatment success depends on developing a new way of living and addressing the reasons why you turned to drugs in the first place. For example, your drug dependency may have developed from a desire to manage pain or to cope with stress, in which case youll need to find a healthier way to relieve pain or to handle stressful situations.
Commitment and follow-through are key. Drug addiction treatment is not a quick and easy process. In general, the longer and more intense the drug use, the longer and more intense the treatment youll need. And in all cases, long-term follow-up care is crucial to recovery.
There are many places to turn for help. Not everybody requires medically supervised detox or an extended stint in rehab. The care you need depends on a variety of factors, including your age, drug-use history, medical or psychiatric conditions. In addition to doctors and psychologists, many clergy members, social workers, and counselors offer addiction treatment services.
Finding The Root Of The Problem
Finding a sustainable solution to alcohol abuse and addiction requires a good understanding of what drives the problem and what exactly you are using it to cope with. This often requires doing some introspective work and addressing topics that may be vulnerable, like past trauma, a high-stress lifestyle, or feelings of low self-worth. Some of the ways that people may explore and address what is driving their use of alcohol as a coping mechanism include:
- Group therapy
- Residential Treatment Programs for Alcohol
The Key To Dealing With My Sons Addiction Setting Boundaries For Myself
I am a hard-headed, stubborn guy with the propensity to be a control freak. It took me a long time to learn that my anger was a result of not being able to control my sons addiction. Eventually, I learned that, at most, I have only a small measure of influence over him. The only real control I have is over my own self.
When my wife and I first began this nightmare of addiction, we heard about boundaries. In my mind, that was an easy one. Rules are rules; follow the rules and there would be no trouble. Unfortunately, I learned that that was untrue the hard way. People with addiction often have no concept of rules and how they provide structure to society. If the parents of someone struggling with addiction expect that a set of rules will manage their childs behavior, they will live in an angry and frustrating world.
My famous directive to my son usually delivered at the top of my lungs was: No lying, no stealing and no drugs.Just what the hell is so hard about that?
I am finally beginning to understand just what the hell is so hard about that. This has caused me more anger and frustration than just about anything else Ive dealt with about addiction. With me, anger and frustration nearly always dissolved into me hollering at him and anyone in the vicinity. This resulted in more anger and hurt for all. In a hurting family, that is the last thing you need hurt compounded upon hurt.
What Happens To The Brain When A Person Takes Drugs
Most drugs affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.
As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drugan effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.
Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:
Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction.