Addiction is commonly misinterpreted by many as a sign of weakness or lacking in moral values. In truth, addiction, whether alcohol or drugs, is far more complex.
At Stonegate Center, we tackle the misconceptions about addiction as well as enlighten patients and their loved ones on how to overcome it. Let’s take a closer look.
So what is it? Defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) further defines drug addiction as a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.
An addicted person has initially taken a voluntary step to try alcohol or drugs. However, the brain changes with repeated use of substances making the person crave for more and become dependent.
In the case of drug dependence, the changes in the brain can be persistent that even if the person is undergoing treatment, the risk of relapse or return to drug use remains. It is important though to remember that while there is a relapse, treatment can still work. As the condition is chronic, the treatment program should be continuous and periodically adjusted based on the patient’s response.
Admitting that one has addiction is the first step towards recovery. However, there could be times that it is not recognized despite signs pointing to it. There are physical, psychological, and social signs that one is already suffering from addiction. Let’s go through them to help us understand better and decide to seek treatment.
- Withdrawal symptoms including cravings, trembling, sweats, seizures, violence, and others
- Changes in appetite manifests in a person with addiction. Sometimes, there is an increase in appetite when taking marijuana while cocaine suppresses it.
- Sleeplessness or insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal. The sleep cycle is often disrupted when taking illegal substances.
- Changes in personal appearances are quite evident. The person may stop or omit basic hygiene, looks disheveled, tired or haggard.
- Physical signs of addiction include bloodshot eyes, body odors, slurred speech, sudden weight loss or gain, and others.
- Continued use of substance despite health issues indicates that a person is addicted and is unable to control cravings.
- A person’s inability to stop using the substance, drugs, alcohol, or both is a clear sign of dependence.
- A person feels the need to depend on the substance to deal with problems or issues.
- A person becomes obsessed, spending more time and effort to get their substance and use it.
- Risky behavior also happens. An individual will try everything to ensure constant supply of the substance and ends up doing illicit activities such as stealing. There are also few persons who will engage in risky acts such as violence or fast driving.
- An addicted individual often takes large doses and rapidly consumes more to feel the effects.
- Prefers to be left alone or be secretive in order to use the substance minus prying eyes.
- Reluctance to go out with family and friends or refusing to do activities that they are previously excited about. Often times, a person with addiction would not join a gathering if alcohol is not served or smoking is not allowed. Also, the individual may refuse to engage in favorite sports in favor of time spent taking the illicit substance.
- Most people with substance use disorder are in denial of their condition and refuse help. It is possible that they are aware of their physical dependence on the substance but thinks they can quit on their own.
- Financial difficulties abound for a person with addiction. With the increase dependence, the individual tends to sell belongings to fund substance use. Also, with addiction, a person sometimes fail to function properly at work and may lose their income source due to poor performance.
- Keeps stashes of their substance for uninterrupted supply. They would keep this in secret places to avoid being caught.
- Some end up having legal problems. The legal issues may occur when they run against the law because of impaired judgment and get caught.
As addiction is a chronic disease, it needs to be treated. The good news is it is treatable and manageable. Addiction is also preventable with the help of loved ones and the community. While there is no single method that fits all, there are a few common steps towards recovery.
- Detoxification: clinics often use medications to clear substances from the body and help limit withdrawal symptoms
- Counseling and therapies: the next step after detoxification is counseling and therapy. There are different therapies that are tailored to the needs of the individual. Counseling helps change a person’s behavior towards addiction and also provides life skills to sustain recovery.
- Rehabilitation programs: a long-term rehabilitation program can be highly effective in helping an addicted person to recover.
Addiction is a chronic disease and is not just a mere issue of will power. It is treatable with proper recovery and rehabilitation programs but help begins with the willingness of the individual to be well.
In Texas, a rehab center stands out due to its individualized approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Stonegate Center’s faith-based, gender-separate and intensive inpatient addiction treatment programs work in an individual’s battle against substance abuse.
Give us a call at (817) 993-9733 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and come join the Stonegate Center family.
We are happy to help you!
Stonegate Center is a faith-based alcohol and drug abuse treatment center based in Azle, Texas. Our separate treatment facilities for men and women provide safe and healing environment where our residents can receive guidance and achieve physical freedom from addiction. Stonegate Center stresses community, accountability, and fellowship. Serving the communities of Azle, Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas, and beyond.