How to begin recovery from addiction

If you are suffering from addiction, or know someone who is, then at some point on your journey you may wish to learn more about how to break free from this situation. When you’re ready to do so, there are many different things you will need to think about, both for yourself and for those around you.

These are just some of the things that you will need to consider. If you think you’re at the stage where you’re ready to deal with your addiction, listed below are some answers to the thoughts that you may have.

What is addiction?

This is a condition where “a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.” Addictive substances may include alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, opioids, or inhalants. An example of an addictive behavior is gambling.

There’s evidence that addictive behaviors share some neurobiological features. For instance, they involve the brain pathways of reward and reinforcement – which affects motivation – and also the neurotransmitter, dopamine. It leads to the attention being focused on cues that are related to the substance or activity.

Substance use disorders and gambling behaviors have an increased likelihood of being accompanied by mental health disorders. These can include anxiety, depression, or other pre-existing issues.

How can someone start to recover?

The toughest step towards recovery is also the first: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding that you want to make a change. It’s normal to be uncertain about whether you’re ready to start your recovery, or if you have what it takes to do it. Committing to sobriety means changing things such as:

  • How you deal with stress
  • Who you allow into your life
  • What you do in your free time
  • How you think of yourself
  • Which prescription and over-the-counter drugs you may be able to take

When preparing for change, remind yourself of the reasons why you want to change, think about any past attempts of recovery (if any) and what did or didn’t work, set yourself measurable goals, and remove reminders of your addiction from your environments. You should also tell friends and family, and ask for their support.

When you’ve committed to recovery, you should look at your treatment options. These can vary, but a successful program often includes different elements. These may include:

  • Detoxification – usually the first step that is taken to purge yourself of the drugs and manage your withdrawal symptoms. One option could be NAD addiction therapy
  • Behavioral counseling – individual, group, and/or family therapy
  • Medication – to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat mental health conditions
  • Long-term follow-up – to help prevent relapse and maintain sobriety

Addiction requires constant vigilance, so one of the best ways to avoid a relapse is to recognize what “prelapse” is: this will be the conditions that generally make you feel unable to cope without, for example, a drink or a hit. Relapse will occur when you’re feeling vulnerable, so a successful recovery will depend on you taking care of yourself, and learning to recognize the conditions that could lead to a relapse.

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