Does Will Power Work
You may that you are strong enough to beat your heroin addiction. After all, youve got will power, right? If only it were that easy! Recovery is about more than being clean. It is about building value into being clean and appreciating being lucid. Will power is a great thing, but you need more than that. If you think you are stronger than the substance, you might be right. But quitting naturally and solely relying on the power of your will to stay sober might not be the best solution. In fact, you must surrender your will.
Sally Satel is a former staff psychiatrist at the Oasis Clinic in Washington, D.C., where she worked with substance abuse patients. Regarding curing oneself of addiction:
Of course its possible. Most people recover and most people do it on their own. Thats in no way saying that everyone should be expected to quit on their own and in no way denies that quitting is a hard thing to do. This is just an empirical fact. It is even possible that those who quit on their own could have quit earlier if they sought professional help. The implicit message isnt that treatment isnt important for manyin fact it should probably be made more accessible.
The Effects Of Alcoholism
Weve all drank too much beer or had one too many glasses of wine before. When this happens, the worst thing that happens is a nasty headache the next morning nothing a few hangover remedies cant cure.
Constant drinking, on the other hand, can easily ruin a persons life. Binge drinking doesnt just cause financial strain it pushes away family and friends, causes emotional distress and eventually costs you your health.
Has your alcohol problem caused you to lose people you love? Has your family and close friends stopped talking to you? The ones who are still around may constantly bring up your drinking habits or make you feel like an outsider because of your problem.
This type of emotional strain and isolation leads to depression. To deal with depression, people who already have a drinking problem tend to drink even more.
Lets break down some of the most common side-effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. You have probably already experienced some of these. Knowing the others will give you a clearer view of why you should learn how to stop drinking as soon as possible.
How To Quit Drug And Alcohol Addiction On Your Own
Quitting an addiction on your own is never easy. In some cases it can be very dangerous, depending on the level of ones addiction to the substance. The withdrawal symptoms may be unbearable without proper guidance and counseling from a professional. There is also an impending risk of relapse that can lead to overdose and death. However, there is a safe method to go about it. Here is a step-by-step method of how to quit drug and alcohol abuse on your own.
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Coping With Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms can be a difficult aspect of overcoming addiction, both for substance and behavioral addictions. With substance addictions, the physiological aspects of withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, feeling like a bad flu, or can even be life-threatening. For this reason, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor about the best way and the best place to quit a substance.
Fortunately, most of the acute symptoms of withdrawal pass within a week or two of quitting. However, some people who quit an addiction find that certain withdrawal symptoms seem to go on and on. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and it can go on for weeks, months, or even years in some cases.
The risk of dying from an overdose is extremely high if you have been through withdrawal, as your tolerance of the drug will be much lower than it was before you quit. Make sure you have someone with you if you decide to use again.
In addition, addictions can sometimes mask underlying mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and even psychosis. If you are feeling blue or agitated, or you are concerned that the world or other people seem strange or upsetting since you quit, talk with your doctor. There are effective treatments for these problems that are much more effective than addictive substances and behaviors.
Set Limits To Your Drinking
Trying to quit cold turkey usually doesnt work for most people. Instead of refusing to drink at all, you should begin by setting limits. This helps you regain control bit by bit. You can start by assessing how much you drink per day.
If you drink 5 drinks a day, try cutting it down to three drinks per day and only with meals. Then, you can make a plan to only drink on the weekends. As time goes on, you can get your drinking down to just one alcoholic beverage per day.
In order to be successful, you will have to avoid bad influences. This means you have to distance yourself from your drinking buddies and make an effort to start hanging out with other people. Its a great opportunity to try and reconnect with people who your alcoholism pushed away.
You should also keep a calendar on your fridge so you can mark off each day youre successful in your limitations. If you slip up once, dont worry. No need to scrap the whole thing. Just wait for the next day.
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Try To Identify And Avoid Triggers
Try to find out what prompts your substance use.
Maybe you reach for that drink only when youre with certain friends or at a specific restaurant or bar. Perhaps you crave that substance only when youre bored or stressed.
Preventing recurrence of use by being aware of the places, people, or emotions that cause you to reach for that substance can be an important part of your recovery.
Prolonged use of substances can change the brains function and structure. It can affect parts of the brain responsible for:
abstinence from substance use might give the brain the time it needs to recover from those changes and return to its regular function. Frequent use recurrences, on the other hand, may make recovery longer.
Once youve identified what causes or prompts your substance use, consider developing a plan to manage them and practice avoiding them.
How Willpower Can Be Useful In Addiction Recovery
When you decide to stop using drugs and alcohol, you may be told to forget anything about using willpower. The truth is that you have just made one of the most important choices of your life, and now you need the willpower to follow through with the actions that will lead you on the pathway to a new way to live.
Changing the way you view the world and behave is a tall order, and it is not always comfortable. That strong will you have can help you stay in addiction treatment for the duration, pick up the phone to ask for help, and let someone new get to know you for support.
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Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Drinking
On a sheet of paper, draw a simple pros and cons table. Under pros, write what alcohol gives you. In the cons, write what it has taken away. This can be something as small as a few extra dollars spent on a beer last night or as large as a relationship.
If one of your pros is that alcohol helps you relax, one of your cons might be that your relaxation takes away from the time you could be spending with others. It also takes away your energy and keeps you from facing your problems.
Remember Where You Are
Being able to see where you are in your recovery journey can help provide clarity as you consider the next step. Asking yourself questions can help you more accurately assess the circumstances.
What do I think about the amount of alcohol I consume? Do you think drinking is a borderline issue for you, or have you seen this undesirably affect your life? When was the last time you remember not consistently drinking?
What have others said about my drinking? It can be difficult to determine how severe your personal struggle with alcohol really is many people struggle to accurately depict their own situation. Have other people commented on your drinking? What can you learn from their words about how chronic your case may be?
Being able to more accurately identify where you fall on the spectrum of alcohol addiction can help you see what treatment options could be appropriate for your unique needs.
The severity of your addiction should guide your treatment search. Alcohol detox, a partial hospitalization program or inpatient or outpatient treatment may be effective options. Incorporating holistic healing into your treatment through art therapy, recreational therapy, or even yoga may further help you overcome addiction.
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Mental Consequences Of Methamphetamine Addiction
Heavy methamphetamine use causes cognitive deficits . While using methamphetamine youll likelyexperience a diminished ability to:
- Learn new skills and information
- Recall information
- Recognize and recall words
- Recognize and recall pictures and images
By about 12 weeks of abstinence you will have recovered mostof your thinking abilities. However, the ability to recognize and recall wordsand images actually gets worse after abstinence and then only graduallyimproves, over a long period of time.2
So heres the situation:
Not an ideal combination for success, unfortunately!
Fortunately, you dont have to re-invent the wheel here.There are effective strategies available to help you overcome your cognitivedeficits and you can learn simple tips and tricks to keep you out of risky situationsand away from negative thinking patterns that increase your odds of relapse.
If youre thinking about trying to quit methamphetamine,you need to realize that:
Quitting And Handling Withdrawal
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How Addictions Can Affect You
The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse , an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.
Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.
Behaviours such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
Start Breaking A Bad Habit And Forming A New One
Shaping our everyday activities and even how we feel about ourselves, habits can either make you or break you. New Years resolutions are similar to trying to break a habit. We have a goal in mind, we prepare tools to help us succeed, and we make an effort to keep up the goal. So why do most New Years resolutions and attempts at breaking a bad habit fail?
Willpower and strength to stay away from temptations decreases. As a result, motivation generally decreases, leaving us caving into our past and forgetting all about our goals.
Dreams of reaching the finish line are also given up so easily. Say you want to start eating healthier. You start to eat fruits and vegetable every day for two days. On the third day, someone brings donuts into the office. Can you have one? You have been doing so good so one donut wont hurt, right? All it takes is being okay with that one donut for you to be okay with ice-cream later on and then pizza for a midnight snack. Considering you are eating vegetables, you are okay with having the donut because you are still eating healthy at other times.
Achieving goals and forming new habits dont work this way.
Caving in is all too easy when you are comfortable where you are. You give up trying to reach a goal because it seems unreachable or you are satisfied with something in-between where you are at the moment and the goal you are trying to reach.
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More People Quit Addictions Than Maintain Them And They Do So On Their Own That’s Not To Say It Happens Overnight People Succeed When They Recognize That The Addiction Interferes With Something They Valueand When They Develop The Confidence That They Can Change
For some reason, we exempt addiction from our beliefs about change. In both popular and scientific models, addiction is seen as locking you into an inescapable pattern of behavior. Both folk wisdom, as represented by Alcoholics Anonymous, and modern neuroscience regard addiction as a virtually permanent brain disease. No matter how many years ago your uncle Joe had his last drink, he is still considered an alcoholic. The very word addict confers an identity that admits no other possibilities. It incorporates the assumption that you can’t, or won’t, change.
But this fatalistic thinking about addiction doesn’t jibe with the facts. More people overcome addictions than do not. And the vast majority do so without therapy. Quitting may take several tries, and people may not stop smoking, drinking or using drugs altogether. But eventually they succeed in shaking dependence.
Kicking these habits constitutes a dramatic change, but the change need not occur in a dramatic way. So when it comes to addiction treatment, the most effective approaches rely on the counterintuitive principle that less is often more. Successful treatment places the responsibility for change squarely on the individual and acknowledges that positive events in other realms may jump-start change.
How To Cope With Withdrawal Cravings
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 .
Cravings for alcohol or drugs are common among people who have been addicted, or even after a period of intense use. They are both physical and psychological in nature and are most intense during the acute withdrawal period the day or two after you stop using the drug or alcohol. They can, however, also occur months or years after withdrawal.
There are many theories about what causes cravings, but the bottom line is that if you have been addicted you will almost certainly experience cravings. Here are some key points you should understand if you’re coping with cravings after withdrawing from an addictive substance:
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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.
Consider Reaching Out For Help
If you think you might have substance use disorder, consider reaching out to a trusted healthcare professional for an evaluation and to discuss your options.
They may be able to refer you to a mental health professional or treatment program that best fits you. Treatment might include a variety of options, including:
Theres not a one-size-fits-all treatment for substance use disorder. Every person is different, and what works for one person might not work for another.
A mental health professional who specializes in substance use disorder will be able to tailor a treatment plan that is best for you and your needs.
Here are some resources that may be able to help:
- SAMSHA. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a national helpline thats free, confidential, and available 24/7. They may be able to point you in the right direction for help and support near you or online.
- National Harm Reduction Coalition. The NHRC is an advocacy group that provides support and resources for people with substance use disorder.
- Drugs and Me. This organization was created by a group of educators, scientists, and analysts. Drugs and Me offers a list of educational materials that might be helpful.
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