What is Addiction?
Addiction is a disease that effects the mind and body, due to chemical imbalances in the brain that cause a person to constantly need drugs or alcohol to remain calm and functioning at a normal level. Someone suffering from addiction will often do anything in order to obtain them, despite the negative consequences that can happen upon using. There are many undesirable physical, psychological, and emotional effects that occur when someone is addicted or suffers from a substance use disorder.
Some common substance addictions include:
- Alcohol (wine, beer, or liquor)
- Sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics (sleeping pills or downers)
- Phencyclidine (PCP) or ketamine
- Opioids (heroin, morphine, or painkillers)
- Nicotine (cigarettes, cigars, or nicotine patches)
- Inhalants (aerosols, volatile solvents, gases, and nitrites)
- Amphetamine (Adderall or crystal meth)
- Hallucinogens (LSD and MDMA)
- Cocaine or crack cocaine
- Cannabis (marijuana or hash)
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin)
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, or energy drinks)
Some common behavioral addictions include:
- Computer (internet, video games, social networking sites, cybersex, or online gambling)
- Eating (overeating, bingeing, or purging)
- Sex (porn, cybersex, or multiple partners)
- Gaming (computer games)
- Gambling (video lottery terminals, casinos, or slot machines)
Symptoms of Addiction
- Developing a tolerance to a drug, or when a person needs more and more of a drug to feel the desired effects and feelings
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when a person doesn’t use drugs or alcohol, often with unpleasant symptoms
- Trouble quitting or cutting back on alcohol or drug use
- Discontinuing social, occupational, or recreational activities due to addiction, and important social and occupational roles being jeopardized
- The person becomes preoccupied with the addiction, spending a lot of time on planning, engaging in, and recovering from the addictive behavior
- Severe mood changes – happy, excited, sad or anxious
- Pupil changes such as pinpoint or very large pupils
- Seeming unwell at certain times and better at other times
- Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Energy changes such as extremely tired or energetic
- Changes in sleeping patterns
The symptoms above need to be taken seriously and attended to in an appropriate way in order for the person to heal and recover from their addiction. Attending a treatment center or addiction program can help treat the symptoms associated with their problem and allow the person to move into recovery. They are designed to help each individual person and their needs.
There are numerous approaches to addiction treatment. One of the most famous and perhaps one of the most effective modes of treatment is a residential treatment program. They are removed from the outside world and can only concentrate on the treatment that will help their addiction. There are other options if the person is unable to attend a full-time treatment program such as intensive outpatient programs or support groups. Upon discharge from a treatment center, there are sober living facilities that help with the transition from treatment to home.
Types of Treatment
Entering residential treatment means leaving all work and school obligations, often leaving important duties behind. Residential treatment can go for a prolonged period, and the main focus is treatment and remaining sober. There aren’t any distractions from the outside world, nothing to tend to, and even communication with the outside world is limited.
Individuals who go to residential treatment are put on a rigid schedule that includes a support meetings, meals, treatment sessions, classes, physical activity, recreational time, and a set nighttime routine. These applications are nicely organized and supply stability for those going through a tough emotional time in recovery.
During certain points during treatment, individuals are taken on outings and are also granted visitation time with their family or friends. However, residential treatment mainly consists of staying on the residential treatment facility grounds and following the program to ensure the greatest success for the person. Residential treatment plans may last everywhere from one month up to a full year in severe cases. But the most common periods are 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days.
Entering residential treatment drastically changes a person’s lifestyle and it can cause them to feel uncomfortable at first. It means leaving a lot behind and engaging in a time of healing with challenging activities. However, many people that consider this step find the help that they need in the struggle against addiction. There are lots of different treatment facilities who provide these services around the country to meet everyone’s needs.
An intensive-outpatient program is an option for those that are not able to live on site during their treatment. The patient will meet periodically throughout the week and receive treatment services such as individual or group counseling, employment or housing assistance and other support groups.
A sober living facility or sometimes referred to as a “halfway house” is a transitional option from treatment to going home or back into the real world.
“For a lot of people in recovery, moving into a sober living home after treatment makes the difference between going back to their old habits or continuing on the path of sobriety.”
A sober living home is a good option if you have any concerns about returning to your normal routine and would like support in your recovery during your transition back home.
There are 12-step programs, AA meetings, NA meetings and other support groups available that help a person going through addiction and a substance use disorder. This allows the person to connect with others who are going through the same thing as them and can also provide them with a companion or sponsor to guide them through their recovery.