People all around the world, from every walk of life, suffer from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Although recovery from addiction is a challenge, treatment and support can help you free yourself from the pain of substance abuse. Knowledge about your options is a critical tool for recovering from addiction.
Once the sufferer accepts there is a problem, a world of treatment options is available to help realize a lasting recovery from addiction. Even the most successful recovery is not free of discomfort, but it is possible to change life for the better one day at a time. Whether the focus of the addiction is a medication or an illegal drug, addiction is a serious medical condition, and each sufferer deserves help.
Someone who suffers from addiction will experience many physical and mental symptoms during recovery. The early days of treatment cause a variety of conflicting feelings: Relief at the idea of a life without addiction is often tempered by guilt for past behavior and anguish over the perceived difficulty of never taking a substance again. Sufferers often go through steps similar to mourning, and they may alternate between a strong resolve to get better and feelings of weakness and hopelessness. This is normal! Physical issues experienced during recovery depend in large part on the substance the sufferer is withdrawing from. Withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, heart palpitations, intestinal issues like nausea and diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, the risk of seizure, stroke, and hallucinations must be controlled using medication. Because the early steps of addiction recovery can be traumatic, they often take place in a calming atmosphere of solitude and natural beauty.
Recovering from addiction includes interventions to address physical and mental symptoms. The specific treatment depends on the sufferer’s risk factors and history of substance abuse. The first few days of acute substance withdrawal will often require intensive “detox,” a medically supervised process of controlling physical symptoms as the body clears itself of a substance. In many cases, it may be necessary to gradually taper the patient off of the addictive substance. After this, the healing can begin in earnest. Many programs include therapy and education focused on helping the sufferer cope with triggers that might cause relapse. Self-help groups can aid sufferers in connecting with others who face the same challenges, creating a sense of community. As addiction recovery continues, a physician may recommend treatment for “co-morbid” conditions that often appear alongside addiction. These can include, for example, depression or paranoia that might benefit from medication. At every phase of recovery, it is important that the sufferer have a strong support network in place.
More than 20 million Americans are estimated to have confronted addiction. Many thousands go into treatment every year, and it is impossible to know how many more conceal their struggle. In a very real sense, the most important step is the decision to get help. As time goes on, recovery does become easier – while giving addiction sufferers the opportunity to reclaim their lives, rebuild their relationships, and follow their dreams. If you or a loved one must face the trauma of addiction, remember that you do not need to do it without help. One of the most critical aspects of recovery is helping the patient understand that they are not weak or alone. Addiction can alienate people from the powerful mental, emotional, and spiritual resources at their disposal, making them feel helpless and isolated. The truth is, however, that treatment can help sufferers reconnect with these liberating aspects of their humanity.
If you would like to learn more about addiction recovery, you can read detailed accounts of treatments and recovery methods at the websites below:
- Cocaine Anonymous
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Recovery Support
- National Recovery Month 2014
- Treatment and Recovery: National Institute on Drug Abuse
- What is Recovery? Addiction Recovery Defined (PDF)
- Glossary of Drug Abuse Recovery Terms from University of Pennsylvania
- Detailed Addiction Recovery Information from the Recovery Research Institute
- Addiction Recovery Information from a Jewish Religious Perspective
- Faces and Voices of Recovery
- Northern Engagement into Recovery from Addiction Foundation
- Addiction Recovery Research Center at Virginia Tech Carilion
- Buddhist Recovery Network
- How Diet and Nutrition Affect Drug Addiction Recovery
- Women in Recovery Network
- Kundalini Yoga as Part of Addiction Recovery
- Latter-Day Saints Addiction Recovery Society