Addiction can be a confusing, stressful, and difficult time for not only the onlookers of it but the addict themselves. Though addiction’s problems should not be undermined, friends and family often struggle to see the experience from the inside. There exist common misconceptions regarding addiction such as an addict’s morality, willpower, own inner turmoil, and frustrations.
Simply quitting drug abuse is far more difficult than people perceive, and treatment requires many different stages. Addicts not only need the moral compass and strength to move forward but the emotional support of others and professional help. This emotional support must be backed further by a reasonable understanding of the pain and struggles of addiction.
The Struggle of Quitting
Many addicts often face answers as simple as “Just quit!”, but unfortunately ending an addiction is not that easy. Scientific evidence shows that addiction to substances can alter brain chemistry to a point that it hinders self-control. In some cases, the body and mind become convinced that an addict needs to continue substance abuse to live.
This is why addicts face many challenging hurdles for even starting treatment, such as withdrawal or relapse after recovery. In fact, relapse can be somewhat common after recovery—but this does not mean treatment has failed. Rather, relapse acts as another component in the struggle of a chronic illness like an addiction.
For outsiders looking in, there needs to be an understanding of the mayhem of an addict trying to quit. Though seeking treatment may be a choice, addiction itself is not and recovery brings many difficult new challenges.
The Short- and Long-Term Damage
In the intense battle with addiction, addicts may ultimately suffer damage both in the short-term and the long-term. The short-term damage not only includes the struggle of relationships with friends and family but also independent health problems. Addicts often become irritable and struggle with both memory and judgment impairment, adding further stress. In fact, many addicts typically begin substance abuse out of stress. This stress can come from the loss of a loved one, financial trouble, stressful jobs, or general anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, addiction is responsible for more than just temporary or short-term damage. Though blows in relationships can potentially be irreparable, long-term damage goes beyond harming emotional bonds. Depending on the substance, excessive abuse can cause health issues including lung disease, heart disease, liver disease, or even cancer. Other long-term health problems consist of high blood pressure, cognitive declines, and fatigue.
In some cases, the environment and even biology can also play a role in addiction. For example, growing up with a family of alcoholics can influence an addict’s alcoholism in the future. These elements may be completely out of an addict’s control, but they should not be excused. Nevertheless, recognizing the influence and source of addictions is a vital part of understanding them.
Treating Addiction Successfully
Despite being a chronic illness, addiction can still be maintained and treated for the future. However, addicts and their families and friends must remain vigilant of the risk of relapse. As a close friend or family member, your involvement with their recovery can make an immense difference. This can mean not only staying in touch but also interacting in treatment such as through joint family workshops.
However, every addict’s treatment will work and be tailored differently based on the person. Some addicts will only need a brief 30-day treatment, while others may receive ongoing therapy and treatment for months. Furthermore, techniques and methods will vary with each person, such as group therapy, inpatient care, outpatient care, and one-on-one therapy. But by understanding the details and circumstances of a person’s addiction and struggles as an onlooking friend or family member, you can push them towards recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a Discovery Place’s Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.