Many people think that those who are addicted to drugs must be weak-willed or, that they have addictive personalities, but this is far from the truth. It most certainly is not a character flaw and, beating an addiction takes far more than willpower. This is because drugs have a powerful impact on the brain, creating significant changes, leading to compulsive behaviors. Cravings can be hard to ignore. Fortunately, with the right type of treatment, recovery is possible because each person, supported by the correct treatment for them, can change their behavior, and alter their association with the addictive substance in question. For anyone who is struggling to combat an addiction, one of the hardest elements of recovery is admitting and accepting that there is a problem in the first place and, being able to make the decision that change is necessary.
It’s easy to feel a little uncertain at this time but there are ways to overcome compulsions. When change is desired, each person must agree to deal with specific elements of life which include:
Learning to think differently about themselves
- Changing hobbies and what is enjoyed in free time
- Dealing with stress differently
- Changing who is seen on a social basis
- Making changes as to prescription or over the counter drugs required
Breaking addiction is not easy of course. When overcoming addictive behaviors, consider a variety of stepping stones leading towards healthy change. Firstly, seek professional help. Go to a doctor who will be able to guide and support. Keep a note of any drugs taken, how much and when and once these details are captured in writing, it will give a strong indication as to the way addiction controls life. This can be a revelation.
It’s also important to consider:
- The things that are important – this could be family, health, career
- Talking to someone who is trusted
- Listing the pros and cons of breaking the addiction this may include financial reasons
- What is preventing change?
It’s so important to consistently set reminders as to the addiction must be broken. It can help to consider what worked previously or where former attempts went wrong. Make sure goals are measurable. Seeking professional advice throughout is so important. Family and friends can support on an emotional level but, they are too close to be objective and this is why professional addiction recovery specialists are best. When professional help is obtained, it’s possible to start the detoxification process and to also learn to manage withdrawal symptoms. Counselling will be available, and this may be one to one counseling, family therapy or group sessions.
Medication can be prescribed to also aid the withdrawal process but there are many different treatment processes. There are residential treatments which can last anything from a few days to a few months and, day treatments and sober living communities. It’s important to remember that treatment must consider more than the addiction because it requires a whole new way of thinking and living.
Some common triggers include:
- Negative emotions
- Physical pain or discomfort
- Social pressures
Being addicted does not mean being weak. There are traits that may make someone more susceptible which include impulsive behaviors, not wishing to conform, not being able to deal with stress, or having low levels of self-esteem. But this does not mean having these personality traits will lead to addiction.
Alan R. Lang, a psychology professor at Florida State University and author of the study to research personality traits within addiction, believes that there is no single, unique personality entity that is a necessary and sufficient condition for substance use.’’