Drug and alcohol use is not a simple choice some people make. In many cases, excessive drug and alcohol use is an addiction. Addictions consist of cycles that must be treated and properly addressed in order to abstain from use. Addictions, whether they are drugs, alcohol, gambling, overeating, or other compulsive behaviors, are the result of changed brain activity. Substance abuse actually produces changes in brain chemistry that perpetuate the addiction cycle. When left on its own, the addiction cycle will continue to destroy a person’s life and the lives of their children and loved ones, and it poses numerous other threats and problems. The only way to eradicate substance abuse is to address the addiction cycle and break it.
Scientific studies have verified a clear and definitive difference in the brain of addicts compared to those who do not have addictions. It is due to these differences and chemically induced brain changes that addiction is now classified as a disease. Substance abuse often begins with a great deal of fantasizing and obsessing about using drugs or alcohol. This early phase results in substance abuse characterized by loss of control. This is different from someone who drinks alcohol in moderation and may think about enjoying a drink or two after work with friends.
Those who take prescription medication responsibly or drink alcohol in moderation can cease use easily. In the cycle of addiction, substance abuse is characterized by loss of control. Due to this loss of control, there is often great danger associated with the addict’s behavior. Finances may have been spent that were needed for bills. The person may fail to meet their responsibilities in order to abuse drugs or alcohol. In the cycle of addiction, there is a notable loss of control that presents negative consequences.
After the loss of control, guilt and shame set in. It is during this time that many users may wish to seek help. They recognize they are helpless to overcome addiction and may experience increased feelings of depression or anxiety as their self-esteem plummets. They may vow they will never use again and actually mean it.
Ending the Addiction Cycle
Unfortunately, the addiction cycle is much greater than simply vowing to give up the substance they are addicted to. They may even try to quit cold turkey, which puts them in danger. Since brain chemistry changes due to substance abuse, it is often dangerous to try and quit a drug quickly. Some people require the use of other medications in order to wean the body off of one substance. As the cycle of addiction continues, a period of time may pass where the user has ceased abusing. But after a while, something may happen that triggers the user’s desire for the substance. They will begin to crave the drug or alcohol. The addict may begin to fantasize and obsess about the substance, and then ultimately, they give in and abuse the substance. This repeats the cycle of abuse.
Those who want to break or end the cycle of addiction must seek outside help. The cycle is too complex to attempt to change on one’s own. Behavior modification and therapy are often two important steps to help recognize how someone first abused substances. Sometimes recognizing the underlying root can help ensure that a relapse will not occur. Seeking treatment is the most effective way to break the cycle of addiction. Having a support group that can help when you begin to succumb to the pressures of addiction is crucial to remaining healthy and free from addiction.
Emotional stress, the loss of a job, or a significant life change can cause someone to relapse. When an addict begins to fantasize or obsess about using drugs or alcohol, they are in clear danger of relapsing. You may notice that a person loses their sense of peace and contentment. They may become increasingly agitated by small things. You may notice that the person begins to spend time with other drug users or those who drink alcohol. These are all warning signs that someone may relapse. It is during these times that a support group is essential.
Having someone to hold the addicted person accountable for their actions can help prevent relapse. If you or someone you love is in danger of relapsing and caught in the cycle of addiction, do not delay. Help is available at Morningside Recovery. Call us today at 855-631-2135 to learn about our addiction therapy services, aftercare program, and drug addiction treatment programs.