The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction as follows:
“Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems.”
It is a disease that can affect anyone. There are certain factors that can make an individual more likely to develop an addiction.
For example, people who come from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds may be more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs as an escape or a coping mechanism and so are more likely to become dependent.
It is also believed that there are some people who are simply more vulnerable to addiction as a result of their physiology, having ‘addictive personalities’.
But while there are factors that make some people more susceptible, nobody is immune. Ultimately it does not matter how much money you have, where you live or how well educated you are- you can still develop a drug or alcohol addiction.
The dangers of addiction
If you or someone you love is suffering with addiction, it is incredibly important that you seek the right help as soon as possible. Addiction is a serious disease that carries with it a number of serious consequences.
It can, if left unaddressed, lead to a whole host of debilitating chronic health issues including liver disease, heart problems and various forms of cancer. More acute dangers such as strokes or substance poisoning also become much more likely.
Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia can also be exacerbated, sometimes even triggered, by serious substance misuse. This is all without mentioning the damage it can do personal relationships.
It is important to remember that addiction does not just affect the addict, but those close to them too.
As the sourcing and taking of the substance becomes the addict’s primary concern they can begin to exhibit harmful behaviour and do things that they would not otherwise do, becoming more selfish, deceitful, perhaps even violent.
These kinds of behaviours can cause rifts to form between family members, friends and lovers. If left unchecked, addiction can wreak havoc upon all aspects of the sufferer’s life.
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation
It can be incredibly difficult, often almost impossible, to overcome addiction without expert help. As time goes on it becomes increasingly difficult for the addict to resist the compulsion to drink or use.
As this happens, and they continue to use, the body builds up a tolerance to the substance so that the user needs to take more in order to achieve the effect they are craving.
It is a self-perpetuating cycle that becomes harder and harder to break. This is why, if you have developed an addiction, it is important that you seek help as quickly as you possibly can.
The most effective way to overcome an addiction is to undergo drug and alcohol treatment at a specialised, residential treatment centre.
At Action Rehab we work with a number of drug and alcohol treatment centres across the country, and if you get in touch we can refer you to a treatment program that is right for your needs.
Although all treatment programmes are different, a stay at a residential clinic almost always begin with a period of detoxification, commonly referred to as ‘detox’.
This is the period and process by which your body metabolises any toxic substances, flushing them out of your system.
The detox clinic provides a safe, regulated environment in which you will have ready and constant access to professional guidance, support and medical care.
Although it will always be difficult to deal with the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with detoxification, this support will give you the best chance of coming through it as painlessly as possible.
Once this step is finished, you will have the opportunity to undergo a range of different therapies and holistic treatments.
Detoxification is incredibly important, and it is what most people think of when rehab is mentioned, but it is only a part of the process. A full rehabilitation is gradual.
In order to achieve a lasting, long term recovery it is necessary for you to change your behaviour and mindset outside of the clinic as well as within.
You might receive cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, which aims to alter the way in which you think and respond to problems.
This kind of therapy is often used to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, but it has been shown to be effective in drug and alcohol treatment too.
Alternatively you might receive counselling, either on your own or as part of a group, to help you to understand and address the root causes of your addiction.
Whichever route you go down, and there are a number of different paths to take, you will be equipped with the self-awareness and tools necessary to remain sober once you have left the treatment centre.
Drug and alcohol rehab near me
If you are suffering from an addiction, the prospect of rehabilitation can seem quite daunting. It is important to remember that the first step towards recovery is the most important one- and that is reaching out.
The problem will not go away on its own. If you get in touch with us we can offer you advice on what to do next and find the treatment service that works best for you.
Facing addiction alone is extremely difficult, but if we face it together we can beat it.