Were Still Addicts After We Get Clean
Its important to note that addiction doesnt end after we stop using. The addiction phase is one that carries on into our sobriety.
The members of AA are known to say, Once an addict, always an addict. They dont mean this in a negative way. They use it to remind themselves that the fight against addiction is an ongoing one. In order to stay clean, we need to remind ourselves that were just one dose away from losing our sobriety.
How The Cycle Of Addiction Starts
How and why does this deadly cycle of addiction begin in the first place? Life can get tough and can include financial, professional, emotional, relationship, or family issues. These burdens produce stress, anxiety, resentment, anger, and, most importantly, fear. Often, these circumstances and situations prompt feelings that people do not want to feel or handle. Using a substance to numb their emotions may feel like a simple solution for many individuals during these difficult times. As a result, the cycle of addiction often begins when someone wants to feel better and alleviate their suffering.
In their quest to avoid pain, addicts turn to their drug of choice for a solution that provides rapid relief, beginning the toxic cycle we call addiction. In addition to rapid relief, addicts may also look to escape their problems and avoid addressing the issues firsthand. Unfortunately, addictive solutions are easily accessible and obtain results quickly. For some individuals, alcohol is a go-to choice, while others turn to cannabis, cigarettes, or another substance for instant pleasure.
Making a habit out of this coping mechanism impacts the brain and its reward system. Addictive substances alter the brains grey matter and direct which path the brain will take the next time the substance is used. This is called neural plasticity. When this alteration occurs, the brains powerful role in human behavior pushes addiction further and pulls individuals into the toxic cycle.
What Is The Addiction Cycle
A person can move on to a healthy lifestyle and quit the addiction through recovery. However, recovery can take anywhere from months to years to even decades.
Although an addict might understand and recognise the cycle they might still have a hard time beating it. They must seek help and want to change their life. So, what is the addiction cycle?
The addiction cycle consists of 6 different stages:
We shall discuss each of these stages below:
1. Initial Use
The first time you use can be the one time it takes to become addicted. There could be multiple ways that a substance is introduced to you. These ways could be anything from, family history of substance abuse, peer pressure, and more. People might also start using to escape their everyday lives or heal physical pain without a doctor.
No matter what reason is it and how the person becomes addicted to what they are addicted to there are risk factors. These risk factors can vary from person to person and determines how likely is it the person to have an addiction. These factors can include, social problems, depression, family problems, abuse, and others.
After the first time, the person might feel enjoyment or have a relieving feeling of discomfort. This will drive the person to continue to use the substance or activity to keep them feeling happy. This is what leads to the second stage of addiction.
- Feelings of hostility
- Bodily pains
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Break The Cycle Of Addiction Today
At The Freedom Center, our priority is to see patients through to a successful rehab experience those who are seeking treatment deserve a chance at success. Each person that walks through our doors is a unique individual. No one person is the same when it comes to their experiences the same can be said concerning their preferred method of treatment.
Substance abuse and addiction are frightening circumstances to overcome, but the cycle of addiction does not have to run its full course. If you or someone you love has been the victim of addiction, you can get help at The Freedom Center today. To find out more, contact us here.
Stage Two: Regular Or Prolonged Use
Chances are after that initial use, you will continue to use the substance again more regularly. In some cases, you might even continue use on doctors orders if its a prescribed medication. As long as you enjoyed the way the substance made you feel, your brain will want you to continue to use that substance. Its the reason that we might have a drink after a long day at work, or take Aspirin if we have a headache.
The brain tells the body that a particular substance is necessary for feeling better. At this point, there might not even be any signs that an addiction is forming. For many people, they can enjoy their substance during their free time and still be able to go about their daily lives normally. During this phase, you may be able to stop consuming the substance even for periods of time without feeling any adverse effects.
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The Most Common Relapse Triggers
Stress, understandably, is the top cause of relapse. Many people who struggle with addiction turn to their substance of choice as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. Additionally, research has demonstrated that there is an increased craving for the drug in question, including alcohol, during stressful situations.
One way to prepare for this trigger is to evaluate the stress youre experiencing. Although you cant eliminate everything stressful from your life, you can avoid certain situations that cause you extreme levels of stress. Furthermore, its vital to learn positive ways, eg. relaxation techniques, to successfully manage stress.
The people who participated in your addiction, even family members, especially if they were a cause of your reliance on drugs or alcohol, are potential triggers for relapse. Additionally, certain places that remind you of your addiction can be triggers, too.
People who struggle with addiction need better and more healthy coping mechanisms for everyday life, eg. tolerating, managing, and making sense of any negative feelings. Your aim should be to be pòsitive about the negative, and comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Its a reflection of how powerful addiction is to conquer that positive and happy situations, such as birthdays and holidays, can be powerful relapse triggers, too.
Start By Identifying Addiction
Before you can break the cycle of addiction, you first have to confirm that the issue is addiction. Remember that there is no fixed timeline for how long it takes an addiction to develop. Depending on the substance in question, addiction can take hold in anywhere from a few weeks to over the course of several months or years.
If you believe addiction is a problem, its best to start with a professional diagnosis to confirm and decide on the next steps. Professional confirmation is particularly important when you suspect the presence of overlapping issues like depression, past trauma, or other co-occurring issues on top of addiction.
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Can The Cycle Of Addiction Break
It is very possible to break the cycle of addiction. The final decision to make the break is in your hands. The journey to the final point of sobriety may be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that may include relapses and other struggles.
The cycle of addiction may be broken for several reasons. For some, the addiction cycle is forced to change because of
- Legal issues consequences that occur with law enforcement
- Financial troubles inability to pay your bills
- Medical complications some health issues that arise out of the drug or alcohol abuse may include heart problems, high blood pressure, liver problems
- Social problems circumstances that bring the addiction to light in your peer or friend groups
Breaking the drug addiction cycle requires a lot of work and dedication on your part. You will need to accept help from medical staff, possibly be admitted to a detox facility, and commit to continued support to reach and maintain your goal of sobriety.
The Cycle Of Addiction And Alcoholism
The Cycle of Addiction
Taking a Drink, Using a Drug
It begins when a person has one or two drinks or recreationally uses drugs. Their intention is to moderate or for their use to not get out of control. Its most often accompanied by a rationale of, Im just going to have a couple to unwind.
Phenomenon of Craving
Upon drinking/using, an abnormal reaction takes place in the body which results in a craving for more of the substance. At this point, the drinker or user finds that they can no longer control their consumption, and end up taking more than they initially intended.
Binge, Bender, or Spree
What started as an intention to control leads to drinking/using more than desired. Often it leads to a spree that will last hours, days, weeks, month, even years. Its often described as drinking or using against ones will because the person seemingly has little or no ability to control or stop.
With that binge comes consequences. Sometimes its the loss of a job, family or dignity. Legal, financial or health problems. Or they may be depression, trauma, and drama. Not everyones consequences are the same. It is important not to qualify alcoholism or addiction by the consequences that people experience, but rather by the action of alcohol on the body and mind.
Remorse, Guilt, and Shame
Resolutions to Stop
For all involved, it feels like walking on eggshells. Ever waiting for the next shoe to drop. And often it does.
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Treatment Options Available At Miracles Recovery Center
The cycle of addiction that can take place due to drug or alcohol abuse is very tough. Not only does it affect you, but also your family and friends. Without professional help the chance of relapse is tremendous.
If you are looking for a facility that will provide guidance and professional treatment please contact us today. The staff at Miracles Recovery Center, located in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is ready to take your call and work with you or your loved one. It is never too late to begin the process of having and maintaining a sober life.
Breaking The Cycle Of Addiction: Treating Substance Use Disorder
Fortunately, you are not alone if you or someone you know is suffering from addiction. There are ways to treat the disease and get your life back on track.
The first step in the treatment process is detox. Detox typically takes place over a period of 7-10 days. During this process, the body rids itself of all the harmful substances and chemicals that it grew dependent on. It is crucial that the detox process is done at either detox or medical facility so the patient can be properly monitored during the entire process. Detoxing can be very dangerous and without proper medical care can even be deadly.
After detox, the next step is to undergo addiction treatment. This can either be done at either an inpatient or outpatient rehab center. Inpatient centers require you to live there for the duration of your treatment while outpatient centers allow you to go about living your daily life at home and coming in for treatment and therapy. During the rehab process, you will attend meetings and therapy sessions to learn how to avoid letting addiction take over your life again.
After rehab, the process isnt over though. Addiction is a disease that can reappear at a moments notice. Meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous are places where you can meet with fellow addicts and talk about your problems in a safe and comfortable setting. You can also learn ways in which others went about beating their addiction.
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Substance Use Disorder : The Clinical Definition
Addiction is clinically defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition as:
A chronic, relapsing brain disorder, characterized by compulsive drug-seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness.
Furthermore, according to DSM-5, addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders and is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.
Treatment Programs That Help To Break The Cycle Of Addiction
The treatment options that aid in maintaining a break in the cycle of addiction can include:
- In-patient or outpatient rehabilitation
- Peer support groups
- Aftercare programs
Relapse can occur when you become frustrated or feel overwhelmed by the process of breaking the cycle of addiction. Everyone is different in how they handle the stages of reaching and maintaining their sobriety. It is important to remember that it will take time and patience to get the right treatment plan in place.
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The Definition Of Addiction
Before one can understand the cycle of addiction, first addiction itself must be identified.
In terms of substance abuse, addiction is when a person obsessively thinks about and compulsively needs and seeks drugs or alcohol, in spite of negative consequences. It is characterized by:
- Tolerance the need for ever-increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effects
- Withdrawal uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms resulting whenever the substance is discontinued
- Physical Cravings an intense desire to use or drink, and
- Emotional Obsession constantly thinking about acquiring and using drugs
Addiction exists on a continuum that gradually worsens over time:
- Misuse This is when a person experiments with drugs or alcohol recreationally, or uses those substances to ease physical or emotional pain. When they experience the temporary pleasurable effects of alcohol or drugs, they are motivated to use them again.
- Abuse This is when the person increases their drug and alcohol use in order to escape reality and prolong the desired euphoric effects.
Ironically, the problems from which they are trying to escape are still there. In fact, new problems invariably arise as a result of constant drug/alcohol usage.
This is the point at which a person becomes dependent upon the substance, and satisfying their craving starts to become their existence.
How Do Drugs Affect The Brain
Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, like cannabis and heroin, will attach to and activate the neurons. Although these drugs mimic the brains own chemicals, they lead to abnormal messages being sent through the network. Drugs like opioids disrupt other parts of the brain, such as the brain stem, which controls basic functions that are critical to life, including heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. This interference explains why overdoses occur.
Additionally, drugs also hijack the brains reward system, fooling the brain into releasing a burst of dopamine , in quantities much larger than normal hence, the euphoric high. Dopamine also powerfully reinforces the connection between consumption of the drug, the resulting euphoria, and all the other factors linked to the experience. Regular drug use, and the large surges of dopamine that go with it, actually teaches the brain to seek drugs at the expense of other, healthier activities.
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What Type Of Substance Use Disorders Exist
DSM 5 recognizes SUDs resulting from the use of 10 distinct classes of drugs these are:
*While some groupings are of known, specifically identified psychoactive substances, the use of other or unknown substances can also form the basis of a substance-related or addictive disorder.
What Is The Diagnosis Criteria For Substance Use Disorders
There are 11 different criteria that need to be present for a SUD to be clinically diagnosed:
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What Are Some Signs Of Addiction
Knowing and being able to identify signs of addiction is important, especially if you or someone you know is currently suffering from addiction. Knowing some of the warning signs is a great way to help fight addiction at an early stage before the addiction can potentially turn deadly. As addiction takes hold, individuals exhibit certain behaviors. Those behaviors include, but are not limited to:
- A loss of control
- Poor performance at school or work
- Unexplained financial problems
If you find yourself exhibiting any of these behaviors, it is time to seek treatment from our treatment center.
The Dangerous Cycle Of Addiction
- The Dangerous Cycle of Addiction
Addiction is a vast whirlwind of destruction in the lives of many people tend to get so caught up in the chaos that they believe substance abuse to have been wrapped into ones character. Contrary to popular belief, however, addiction does not happen as spontaneously as one drink on a night out. Addiction evolves in stages. These stages include the following:
- Initial use
When someone takes drugs or consumes alcohol, the pleasure center is triggered. It is this pleasure center that allows people to enjoy simple pleasures such as food, love, or entertainment. When someone repeatedly abuses drugs, the pleasure center becomes distorted. This is because no high is stronger than the first when a user believes that this high is something to be chased after, theyll inevitably need more to mimic this initial high. This has the potential to lead to a dangerous cycle.
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