Understanding Addiction: Taking Steps Towards a More Positive Future
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Addiction can have a devastating effect on lives, not just that of the addict but their friends and family too. Dealing with addiction can be a turbulent time- facing anger, denial, anxiety, and confusion can be incredibly troubling. Here are some things to think about if you or someone you know is battling it.
Who Gets Addicted?
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, no one is immune regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, social class, education or background. Research has shown that there can be a genetic element to addiction (meaning some people are more predisposed to it), every one of us has the capacity to become addicted. Many of us are addicted to things without even realising- caffeine, sugar, even exercise. However it’s when addiction starts disrupting our life and health that it becomes a huge problem.
What Kinds of Addictions Are There?
Addiction is generally divided into two categories: chemical and psychological addiction. Chemical (or physical) addiction occurs when the body is physically dependent on a substance and cannot properly function without it. Alcohol, certain drugs, and cigarettes are all examples. Psychological addiction is when an emotion drives you to an action. Gambling, sexual activity, even shopping are examples of this type of addiction. It’s important to realize that psychological addiction is no easier to deal with than chemical addiction. These behaviors are driven by a strong compulsion and urges that people simply aren’t able to ignore. Both ways can be devastating and are similar in the fact that they activate the same regions in the brain.
What Kinds of Treatments Are Out There?
The type of treatment is based on the type of addiction. Chemical addiction can be a little trickier since most users are addicted both physically and psychologically. The first step is to safely withdraw the body from the substance. It’s important to use a clinic or rehab specializing in the recovery process from alcohol and drug use since it’s dangerous to simply go ‘cold turkey’ in some cases. Once the body has physically withdrawn, they can begin the process of counseling to control the habit and emotional aspect to their addiction. This is the step those with a psychological addiction would begin with.
What Is The Outlook
The problem with addiction is the chance of relapsing. Gaining professional help and following the advice of doctors and therapists will give the best chance of a positive future. It’s definitely possible to turn your life around after addiction, be sure to reach out and take any advice and help given to you to keep you on the right path. Attending weekly meetings or having a ‘sponsor’ to mentor you through the difficult times can be very beneficial for some people. Moving away and starting fresh, getting away from old acquaintances can help too.
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Recognising you have a problem is the first step. In the early stages, addicts are often in denial which is a coping mechanism. Admit to yourself first that things aren’t right, then you can take the next step which is reaching out for help.
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