Overcoming drug addiction is no easy feat. Unfortunately, many people think they can quit any time they want. On the contrary, addiction affects your brain chemistry, altering your body’s impulse control and judgment. Your reward system changes, triggering a craving or increased hunger, making it harder to resist the drugs.
Despite these adverse effects, it is essential to remember that drug addictions can be treated. All you need are the right resources and a solid plan – and you will well be on your way to recovering.
Unfortunately, the effects are the same for all addictions, including eating disorders, sex, exercise, and shopping.
Drug and alcohol detox is crucial for anyone looking to lead a healthy and meaningful life.
This present post discusses the steps you need to take to overcome drug addiction. It also provides tips that can help anyone looking to begin their journey toward recovery.
The post also highlights some of the withdrawal symptoms you might experience and how to overcome them.
Why Is It So Hard to Overcome Addiction?
As earlier mentioned, drug and substance abuse negatively affects your brain. This drives people to indulge in harmful behaviors despite the harm addiction brings.
Luckily, with the right resources and the appropriate treatment approach, anyone can wade through the challenges preventing them from overcoming addiction.
How to Overcome Drug Addiction
Deciding to make a behavioral change in drug and substance abuse involves a process beginning with pre-contemplation before moving into contemplation.
These are the early stages in your journey to overcoming addiction. Here, you will often find yourself in denial about how addiction affects your health. As you become conscious of these negative consequences, you will struggle with ambivalent feelings even as you realize the need to find a solution.
Nevertheless, when you decide to change, you can begin the long process of overcoming drug addiction.
a) Choose to Change
One of the most critical steps to overcoming addiction is deciding to change. Once you accept change, it says a lot about recognizing that your behavior is a problem and it warrants change.
The process, however, takes time. Choosing to change is usually known as the contemplation stage since it involves thinking about whether you should change and how you will do it.
It is important to keep your goals realistic as you choose to change. Set a goal that you will achieve instead of having an ambitious plan that will flop, sending you relapsing. A relapse is way more dangerous than continuing your recovery journey without a change.
At this stage, it is important to consult a doctor, a therapist, a counselor, or any specialist that can help you understand the risks and the steps you can take to alleviate the myriads of challenges hindering your decision to change.
Some experts often suggest that you try harm reduction strategies where one gradually reduces their substance use instead of eliminating it entirely. This is because quitting drug and substance disorders is a process that takes time.
Nevertheless, it is agreeable that eliminating the most harmful substance is a significant improvement and will significantly reduce the harm caused by the addiction.
b) Prepare to Change
The decision to change is not enough to get you through recovery progress. You might need to get yourself prepared. Here, you get rid of all the addictive substances from your home and all the triggers that are likely to send you back to addiction.
You may also find it crucial to alter your routine and ensure minimal or more negligible contact with people or environments that trigger cravings.
This step also determines what plan you intend to use to achieve sobriety alongside the resources you need to guarantee success.
c) Seek Support from Friends and Family
Most of the time, people with addiction unknowingly dissociate from their loved ones owing to their behaviors surrounding drug and substance abuse.
It’s, therefore, essential to set boundaries in all your relationships and consider joining a sled-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
In such groups, you will get social support from individuals going through the same ordeal.
It is hard to quit when you are alone. And since your addiction may have caused you to disconnect from the people closest to you, it becomes imperative to have someone who can walk you through the recovery process.
Finding a few people who support your recovery goes a long way in improving your outcomes. They must understand for them to find their ways of helping. Of course, they may not know what you’re going through, but it is important to present them with an idea and let them know of your intentions.
d) Reach Out to a Specialist
If you are addicted to drugs or substances, it is always good to visit a doctor or an addiction clinic for consultation. They will help you determine whether you need medications during the recovery process.
The doctor will also look at the underlying medical history before giving you the go-ahead. Anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and other mental health problems will be diagnosed first. After that, you will know whether you are eligible.
e) Get Treatment to Overcome an Addiction
The next step in your journey towards treatment, depending on how long you’ve been using and the severity of your condition, is treatment. The treatment includes both medical and psychological.
There’s no universal treatment for drug and substance addiction. What works for another may not work for you. But some of the treatment options include:
Psychotherapy, coupled with other behavioral therapies, can help you improve your coping skills, develop healthy habits, and change your perspective.
Examples of this kind of treatment include cognitive behavior therapy, which focuses on changing your thoughts and behaviors; mindfulness therapy, which helps you fight anxiety and depression; and motivational enhancement therapy, which enables you to increase your readiness for change.
Of course, family therapy is another option. This is particularly ideal for teens and young adults and is often effective in improving, supporting, and helping you overcome addiction.
Medications are usually best suited for treating withdrawal symptoms. They also help you remain in treatment and prevent relapse.
The type of drugs the doctor will prescribe depends on your type of addiction and the extent of the damage. For instance, alcohol addiction, nicotine, and opioids have different prescription medications.
These medications are helpful in both the short and the long term. It is important to talk to your doctor about the available options for better outcomes.
Manage Withdrawal Symptoms
Regardless of the type of addiction you have, withdrawal symptoms are inevitable. The symptoms can be mild to severe. They might range from bad flu to life-threatening symptoms. It is, there, highly recommended that you consult your doctor or treatment specialist to find the best way to cope.
You can also discuss the best medication for handling withdrawal symptoms with them.
Luckily, these symptoms often disappear after two weeks of quitting your abuse of drugs.
Relapse is quite a demotivating factor, and it is pretty standard. So, when you relapse, it doesn’t mean you have failed. It is part of your recovery journey.
It is worth noting. Over 50 percent of the people struggling to overcome addiction will relapse. However, that relapse may be due to other health concerns such as high blood pressure or asthma.
People may also relapse due to cravings. These strong urges often send people back to their drug and substance abuse during their recovery journey. Fortunately, you can learn how to cope.
Hanging out with the same friends or thinking that one glass of alcohol or a puff will not harm is one of the greatest mistakes that could easily send you relapsing. The truth is, you won’t have control over those impulses. You could end up overdosing – something that can cause death.
Easy Tips for Successful Drug Addiction Recovery
The goal of your recovery process is to achieve sobriety. To others, its success is liberating, but to some, it is a painful journey full of frustrations and difficulties. Nevertheless, it is always important to seek support and treatment.
a) Expect Your Relationships to change
During your addiction, your harmful behavior may alienate you from your family. You might end up hurting them however much they’ve wanted to help. The best thing is that your recovery efforts will help you win them back.
It will take a while, however, to appreciate the new normal. But strengthening a positive relationship with family and friends will go a long way in helping you attain full sobriety.
b) Avoid Replacement Addictive Behaviors
Instead of finding addictive behaviors to replace your addiction, you should focus more on healthy strategies to support your long-term recovery.
The problem with those replacement behaviors is that they create rewarding feelings and sensations, just like your drug addiction. You will have achieved nothing in the end.
c) Find Distractions
The time spent doing drugs or looking for money for a fix could be better utilized for something meaningful. Instead of giving in to your cravings, go for a walk, talk to a friend, watch TV, or do anything worthwhile to keep you distracted long enough for the craving to pass. Don’t give in.
Overcoming drug addiction is not easy, and there’s no ready plan that universally works for everyone. It would help if you decided to change and actually follow it through.
The process will involve making lifestyle changes, undergoing therapy, using medication, and finding support from others. It is not an easy journey, but it is doable.
Reach out to an expert, and they will gladly help you learn how to cope and find a treatment option that works for you. Above all, always seek help. Talk to a friend and have them walk with you through your journey. You are not alone, and at a suitable treatment facility, you will find people who understand what you are going through and are willing to go the extra mile to see that you recover.