Many people believe that once they make the decision to stop drinking or using drugs, they will. They believe at the outset that they can stop without treatment and that their personal will alone will work.
However, ending an addiction isn’t always that easy. Sure, there are many people who simply make the decision to stop, and they do. Yet, in the majority of cases, addiction requires drug treatment.
And even with drug and alcohol treatment, some men and women are prone to chronic relapse and continued substance abuse. Of course, there are many factors that play a role in whether an addiction comes to an end.
For instance, these are the length of substance use, drug of choice, severity of the addiction, physical health, and any presence of mental illness.
Obstacles of Drug Treatment
One primary obstacle to ending an addiction is the change in the brain that takes places as a result of long-term drinking and drug use. In other words, an addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice.
Even if someone has made the decision to end their using, it’s easy for stress, relationship concerns, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends, and even a smell to 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. It becomes an obstacle to finally going through drug detox. 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, the addictive 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, it also a fierce psychological component.
Furthermore, healing from addiction requires emotional, psychological, and at times, even spiritual development. For this reason, going through the drug addiction treatment process can be challenging at times. Many clinicians will tell their clients that sometimes life will get harder before it gets better.
Not because it’s intended that way, but simply because you’re going to finally face inner material that was likely ignored with an addiction. And this alone can make ending an addiction hard to do on your own.
Drug Treatment is Necessary
However, if you’re willing to face the challenges, then that alone can facilitate the recovery process. Before going into drug treatment you might think about what to avoid, how to fully participate in the recovery process, and how to make the complete commitment that is necessary for change.
For these reasons, drug treatment is often necessary when ending an addiction, and if an individual decides to enter drug treatment, it will often include both medication and therapy.
Medication can be a tool to assist the process of withdrawal in the beginning stages of healing, facilitate the brain’s ability to adapt to the absence of the abused drug, and help to prevent relapse by inhibiting the brain’s triggers for craving drugs.
Behavioral Therapy examines any attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns that contribute to a dysfunctional lifestyle. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically, is a form of psychotherapy that addresses unhealthy patterns of thought leading 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 a person’s ability to stay in treatment longer.
Thorough drug addiction treatment addresses the stronghold that both the body and mind have on the drug and breaks the cycle to use that drug in the future.
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