When people recall being a teen, they might remember that it was the time for experimenting with drugs. It’s common to think of adolescence as a time for engaging in experiences that are new and even risky, including drug use.
And for many, adolescence was the time in which drinking or drug use began. For those who started using drugs or drinking then, there’s a chance that an addiction developed and has never ended.
And there are many reasons that might have contributed to this situation. Most teenagers addicted to alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs have certain thoughts and beliefs that create and sustain an addiction.
More commonly, there are feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that ultimately lead to trying and then using a drug on a regular basis.
Alcohol and drugs induce an altered state and therefore provide an escape from the tumultuous inner atmosphere that a troubled adolescent might have.
Some feelings are hard to bear, especially if they are intense, and particularly if a teenager feels that he or she cannot express those feelings without being reprimanded or hurt in some way.
Common feelings that precede adolescent drug use include sadness, frustration or irritation, anger, shame or embarrassment, and nervousness or anxiety. When these feelings fester inside, expressing them might become more and more difficult. This makes finding an escape from these emotions, as in drug use, versus articulating them the easier choice.
Drug Addiction Treatment for Long Term Users
Furthermore, perhaps as a young adult you thought to yourself that you could quit on your own. Yet, that might have proven to be difficult as well. One primary obstacle to ending an addiction on your own is that long-term drinking and drug use leads to changes in the brain.
In other words, an addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice.
Also, even you made the decision to end your using, it’s easy for stress from work, college, relationship concerns with friends, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends, and even a smell can trigger an intense craving.
Of course, a trigger that leads to additional drug use or drinking only strengthens the addiction and weakens the ability to stop. And that’s the definition and the main challenge with addiction – behaving compulsively.
Once the cycle of addiction activates the internal reward system, a rush in the brain, that behavior can become the sole focus of one’s life to the exclusion and detriment of other life-activities. In this case, addiction not only has a strong biological component, but also a fierce psychological component.
Recovering After Prolonged Use
If you began using during adolescence and if you’re still struggling with an addiction, it’s important to know that recent advances in the scientific understanding of drug addiction clearly indicate that the brain has the remarkable ability to recover after an extensive absence of using drugs, even with such a harsh substance as methamphetamine. Even after a prolonged addiction, recovery is possible, albeit there will be times of challenge. But that should not stand in your way.
Drug addiction treatment is similar to treating a chronic illness. It must include the transformation of deeply embedded habits, thoughts, and beliefs. As these internal patterns find change, it is possible that you might day by day find your way to long-term sobriety.
Treatment Methods to Get And Stay Sober
Furthermore, there are treatment methods that can facilitate getting sober. For instance, medication can be used in different ways in the recovery process. It can be a tool to assist the process of withdrawal in the beginning stages of healing.
Other types of medication can facilitate the brain’s ability to adapt to the absence of the abused drug, and still other forms of medication can help to prevent relapse by inhibiting the brain’s triggers for craving drugs.
Behavioral therapy examines any attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns you might have that contribute to a dysfunctional lifestyle. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically, is a form of psychotherapy that addresses unhealthy patterns of thought that lead to making poor choices.
CBT also provides healthier coping mechanisms to help manage challenging emotions, triggering life circumstances, and stress, replacing any old methods of coping that may have furthered dysfunction and stress. CBT can also enhance the effectiveness of the treatment medication. This, in turn, assists with your ability to stay in treatment longer.
Even though your addiction might have some years to it, recovery and sobriety is possible.
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