In 2018, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that nearly 165 million people aged 12 or older in the United States had abused a substance like tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs in the prior month. Addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the US, and there’s a constant battle between doctors who seek to cure addicts and a system that seeks to imprison them.
At 2nd Chance Treatment Center, with locations in Phoenix, Glendale, and Gilbert, Arizona, our team of trained professionals works with you to help you or your loved one throw off the burden of addiction and start your life again clean and sober.
What addiction really is
When you become addicted to a substance, it’s actually your brain “needing” the “reward” it feels when you use the substance. The addictive substance initially provides a nice-feeling release of dopamine. This dopamine release, or “reward,” is what most people associate most with their addiction.
Over time, though, if you’re susceptible to addiction as a result of genetic or environmental stressors, you'll notice you’re not just enjoying the dopamine release, but you’re actually craving it as your body adapts to its presence. Then you “need” it. And as time goes by, you’ll need more and more of your chosen substance to get the same level of feeling “high,” whether your high is being relaxed or being energized.
If you don’t get your next “fix,” whether that’s from a cigarette, an alcoholic drink, or a drug, your body will react negatively, sending you into a painful withdrawal.
Healing from addiction
When you take away an addictive substance, the brain notices the lack of its customary dopamine, and everything feels painful. And you may start obsessing, with not having your drug all you’re able to think about. Relapse is very common, especially in the first year of recovery, and most addicts relapse several times before they successfully overcome their addiction. But there are things you can do to make your journey easier.
Seek professional help
Professional help can be vital to your success. Behavioral therapy and private or group counseling sessions can help you avoid relapse, develop new habits, and find new ways to reward your brain without substance abuse.
Don’t try to do it alone
If you have a peer support network, you’re significantly more likely to succeed at overcoming addiction. Look for friends and family, and the support of your peers from group counseling or a 12-step program to help you along your path to healing.
Be patient with yourself
The road to full healing can be long, but don’t lose sight of living while you recover. You’ll find it gets easier as you repair the pathways in your brain and relearn how to enjoy natural dopamine releases that come from simply enjoying life.
Addiction doesn’t have to be forever. To learn more, call 2nd Chance Treatment Center at any of our locations, or book an appointment online today.