There has been increased media attention on the opioid crisis going on in America, very few deny the dangers of addiction and the damage it is doing to families, businesses, communities, and the nation as a whole. American businesses and people lose more than 740 billion dollars a year due to medical and treatment expenses, reduced workplace productivity, crime-related activities such as legal counsel or inmate expenses. Many different research studies share the hard data about addiction, and some of the last statistics published reveal that approximate 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and older battle with a substance abuse disorder in the year 2017. About 38% of this number struggled with illicit drugs.
Knowing Where to Start
Whether it is an announcement from the White House or a local advertising campaign, there are many organizations looking to help break the cycles of addiction and help individuals get their lives back. Even though these plans that are established can make progress in helping with recovery, friends and family members of addicts are on the front lines of the battle against addiction and bear a heavy weight. Addiction doesn’t just hurt the addict. The people they love have anxiety, stress, financial difficulties, and tough choices that follow them throughout an addict’s behaviours. While there are steps that can be taken to help reduce the pull of drug addiction and break the damaging cycle, it is important to first know what the cycle of addiction looks like.
Recognizing the Cycle
- The first step is a need to curb mental or physical pain, brought on by anxiety over bodily trauma, pain, or a challenge from a peer.
- When individuals fantasize about ways to relieve the stress of pain through the use of drugs, it usually leads to an obsession with the drug.
- Individuals will try to act out their fantasy by finding a way to acquire the drugs that subdue their stress or pain.
- Once a person begins to pursue drug use, they lose control of their behaviors to the drug.
- There is a sense of remorse or self-guilt over using the substance, and promises are made to avoid using the drug again.
- There could be a potential time period where an individual doesn’t use the drug but then reverts back to step one where there are new challenges pulling toward drug use.
How to Break the Cycle
There are several ways to break through the stronghold of addiction, but the entire process will require persistence, motivation, and endurance. If the addicts aren’t willing to see the process through or they don’t want it badly enough, there will never be a long-term success with overcoming drug addiction. It is a tough road, and it is not easy. In addition to dealing with the physical factors impacting addiction, an addict will have to deal with the emotional and psychological elements that are driving usage. The process will take work and honesty, which starts by admitting a problem. Addicts must face the demons within, and a counselor can be the one to help work through an individual’s issues. Any enablers or people and places that help create or contribute to the need for drug use need to be taken out of the addict’s life. This might even mean family and friends, but taking the addict out of environments where drugs can be accessed and away from those helping the cycle of addiction is necessary.
Because there is usually a strong need to remove the addict from their current lifestyle and put them in a controlled by supportive environment, drug rehabilitation centers some times become a solution. In addition to being able to offer medical supervision and psychological support, a facility may also work with a primary care provider that provides prescription medications to help wean an addict off a certain drug. One of the ways some physicians help treat those suffering from opioid addiction is by prescribing the drug suboxone. It is a weakened form of a synthetic drug that has similar properties to opioids, and it is used to wean addicts off opioids with minimal side effects. There is some concern that those who stay on this kind of treatment plan can suffer an addiction to suboxone. Should this happen, patients are sometimes required to undergo a subocone detox in order to clear the body from a buildup of the drug. The treatment center that you choose for your loved one will have policies and practices that they will discuss with you and the addict when looking at a treatment plan.
The Serious Nature of Addiction
Because addiction affects every area of life, if the cycle is never broken it can cause a devastating impact. Abuse affects social relationships, finances, careers, education, physical health, and behaviors. Long-term use can lead to isolation, as those around an addict can feel hopeless, angry, frustrated, and exhausted over their loved one’s behaviors. There are severe physical impairments as well, as drugs alter the chemical state of the brain and affect cognitive functioning. This is why some addicts are more violent and aggressive, paranoid, unreasonable, or irritable when they are on a drug. The effects can also extend the ability of the respiratory system and heart to function as they should, which could potentially lead to death.
Dealing with drug addiction is a traumatic experience, both for the abuser and those who are concerned about the addict’s wellbeing. If you know someone who is suffering from addiction, reach out for help and try to save the addict’s life.