Addiction forms when a certain habit that creates dopamine, or pleasure in the brain, is continued compulsively, despite negative consequences. Someone with an addiction disorder will put their vice in front of all of life’s normal priorities.
Even though it may not take much of something to jumpstart an addiction, it takes a lot of courage and helps to overcome one. Long-term care in addiction treatment centers or therapy is required to properly recover.
It is possible to get out of an addiction, let’s explore a few of the ways you or someone you care about can get started.
What Constitutes an Addiction?
The relationship between drugs, the brain, and behavior causes a host of harmful problems that affect not just the person with an addiction, but those around them.
Even though drugs are the most common addiction in the U.S., other vices, such as gambling, sex, and even cell phone usage can create the same reaction in the brain that drugs or alcohol do.
Abusing anything that creates an overload of dopamine in the body, and therefore pleasurable effects can result in an addiction. The brain becomes accustomed to only finding pleasure from one repeated action, and essentially blocks out dopamine created from other acts.
Depending on the behavior or substance, addiction can result in:
- mood swings
- physical health trouble and body damage
- mental deterioration
- trouble maintaining relationships
- loss of interest in anything not related to the addiction
- constant obsession with the addiction
- financial issues
- loss of personal belongings
- loss of self-worth
- the constant justification that the addiction is under control
Steps to Get Out of an Addiction
Addiction is a disease of the brain and body that must be treated, just as certain cancers or mental health disorders require specialized care. Below we will discuss how to get started on the path of recovery.
1. Recognize the Problem
Overcoming addiction is not an easy thing to accomplish. The first step is, to be honest. Without a total recognition of the problem, one cannot make a true attempt to ask for and receive help.
If you’ve faced a long list of negative consequences, have had friends talk to you about your habits, and no longer have control over how often you’re indulging, it may mean you have an addiction, and should seek professional help.
2. Reach Out for Help
After you have acknowledged the addiction, it’s time to consider options. This may mean first speaking to trusted confidants. Anyone including family, close friends, co-workers, or those in a shared religious group can be who you first admit and ask for help from.
Once you’ve sought out the advice and encouragement from those closest to you, you can find treatment options that fit the severity of your addiction, current responsibilities, and financial situation.
Treatment options can include the following:
- Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs
- Detoxification facilities
- 12-step group meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous)
- Sober living and transitional homes
- Therapy and group counseling
If you decide to enter a comprehensive inpatient program, you will have to put a pause on job, social, and family obligations in order to fully commit to recovery. It may seem tough at first, but for treatment and recovery to be successful, you have to be all in.
3. Enter Treatment
Now that a treatment option has been found and prior arrangements have been made, you can start on your journey to overcome your addiction. This will mean a total reshaping of mind, body, and spirit.
Deep reflection, honest sharing, and vulnerability are needed to work through the first months of getting over an addiction. With the help of others who have successfully recovered and medically trained professionals, you can find new ways to deal with life without resorting to old habits.
Building life-long friendships based around recovery, focusing on physical and mental health, and helping others can keep you sober years after treatment is completed. In most cases, people regularly attend 12-step group meetings to continue treatment while living a new sober life.
Recovering from an Addiction
For those in active addiction, or just starting sobriety, it may seem impossible to get out of. However, through admittance, asking for help, and embracing treatment, you or a loved one can successfully recover from an addiction.