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Addiction: How to Overcome It?

The term addiction is often associated with drugs and alcohol, but that only scratches the surface of what this term can be all about. This chronic disease can be far-reaching into every neighborhood in the country. No demographic is immune from the possibility of addiction and can cost billions in treatment costs to Americans coast-to-coast. The key to overcoming any addiction is understanding its underlying causes and finding ways avoid them before psychological and physical damage occurs.

Addiction Recovery

What does Addiction Mean?

We have all heard the term addiction and have watched the afterschool specials, but do we understand what addiction is? The term refers to a psychological/physical inability to halt a behavior that is causing psychological and physical harm. The most common use of the word addiction refers to drugs and alcohol, but can also reference behaviors. Addiction can even be broken down into two major types:

  1. Substance Addiction: The inability to stop a dependence on any substance, such as a drug or chemical, can lead to an addiction based on a specific substance.
  2. Behavioral Addiction: Unlike a substance addiction, behavioral addictions are an inability to stop participating in activities such as gambling, eating, sex, and even working.

 

This chronic disease can be a result of taking medications, such as painkillers, and can lead to an addiction that, if left untreated, can even result in death. For example, approximately 115 deaths each day are attributed to opioid addiction in the US. Not only does addiction contribute to deaths, the cost of treatment, lost work, and crime potential is approximately $740 billion. While many partake in drugs (legal & illegal) of their own free will to start, many times the addiction to drugs, alcohol and negative behaviors can become overwhelming and reduce our self-control.

How to Overcome Addiction?

Addiction may seem overwhelming and all encompassing, so how exactly can one overcome it? In order to beat addiction, it is imperative to determine if indeed a diagnosis of addiction is correct. Often, addiction can be confused with misuse. The incorrect or excessive use of a substance is classified as misuse and is not necessarily addiction. Addiction is characterized as being the long-term inability to moderate or stop intake altogether of that substance or behavior. Addiction does come with some symptoms that can include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Out-of-control desire for drugs
  • Harmful levels of habit-forming behavior that is negative
  • Hiding substances/behaviors
  • Changes in appearance, especially a neglect of hygiene

 

These are not the only indications for symptoms of addiction since each individual is different and so is their addiction. Besides understanding the symptoms of addiction, one must be ready for the symptoms of withdrawal in order to overcome addiction. Withdrawal can be identified by anxiety, irritability, shaking/tremors, and even nausea/vomiting. In order to overcome addiction, it is imperative that the person suffering from addiction comes to the realization that he/she needs help. It is only then that treatment has a better chance of success Treatments for addiction have evolved over time and with improved medications and/or diagnosis techniques the chance for overcoming addiction has improved. Some of these treatments are:

 

  1. Behavioral Therapy/Counseling
  2. Pharmaceutical Treatments
  3. Withdrawal Treatments
  4. Treatment of Underlying Psychological Issues
  5. Continuing Care After Initial Treatment

 

Overcoming addiction can be a complicated affair, but it can be done. Understanding what addiction and its symptoms are is only part of the equation. Having a support system in place after any treatment greatly increases success rates, as well as allowing for the continuation of treatment down the road. Any addiction program is always an ongoing battle against substance abuse or behavioral addiction, but as with any task it all starts with one simple step and then one at a time!!

 

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