Before understanding the cycle of drugs and alcohol rehab and relapse, it is pertinent to understand addiction itself fundamentally. Addiction is not a character flaw. It is a neurological disorder, a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, pleasure, and motivation system. In fact, many treatment resources explain this a lot of times, it’s now time for you to acknowledge it, and seek help.
The brain of an addicted person is chemically and psychologically different from that of a non-user. It does not just spring up at once but occurs over a series of stages. By the time a user realizes this, they are already in the firm grip of addiction, and the cycle is a regular habit. Understanding how this cycle perpetuates is the key to breaking it. When this cycle is broken, and the person lives a healthy life, free from substance abuse, they are in addiction recovery. Unfortunately, it is complicated to break it without professional help and outside intervention from drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation programs.
Treatment Resources & Professional Help
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine , specific treatment for drug abuse or dependence should be determined by your health professional based on:
- Your age, overall health, and health history
- Extent of the symptoms
- Extent of the dependence
- Type of substance abused
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
Top Addiction Resources Articles
We Level Up Treatment Center offers nationally recognized dual-diagnosis addiction treatment therapy. Clients suffering from dual diagnosis are treated differently versus someone with a stand-alone substance use disorder (SUD). Moreover, drug and alcohol abuse often mask mental health pain and related symptoms born of depression, trauma, stress, anxiety, and other emotional crises.
The Dangers of Addiction
Using drugs recreationally may seem like fun and games, but full-fledged addiction is not. To emphasize, addiction actually starts with having fun or experimenting with drugs. And, addiction can be hazardous, putting users at mental, physical, and emotional risk. Unfortunately, as use worsens, some threats to well-being may be irreversible because they’re creating lifelong challenges.
The effects of drug abuse on physical health are often the best known and the most noticeable. On the other hand, different drugs behave in different ways. And, ongoing drug abuse in one form or another can lead to conditions like:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Heart failure
- Contraction of bloodborne illness, like HIV
- Infertility or impotence
- Long-term memory and learning problems
- Lung damage
- Respiratory distress or coma
Co-occuring Mental Health
In addition to manifestations associated with particular substances, the National Institute of Health reports that ongoing drug abuse can increase the likelihood of:
- Underlying mental disorders, like schizophrenia
- Depression and anxiety
- Susceptibility to high levels of stress that can interfere with future financial, personal, and relationship success
- Post-traumatic stress disorder from events that occurred during drug use
In addition, drug use can negatively affect interpersonal relationships, destroying support systems and leaving users with nowhere to turn. Furthermore, the impact of use on a career can also damage self-worth as users lose desired jobs and negatively impact their reputation in an industry.
Addiction Treatment Programs
Despite the dangers associated with a chronic disease like addiction, there is hope on the horizon. Treatment for addiction aims to help users break free from addiction’s physical and mental bonds while fostering healthy coping mechanisms, life skills, and the emotional strength necessary to live a sober life. Often guided by doctors, nurses, counselors, and other addiction medicine professionals; a successful treatment program can help users achieve abstinence and reduce the chances of relapse.
Generally, effective treatment often targets all aspects of the self, including mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Programs also strive to support and promote the four dimensions of recovery as noted by SAMHSA: health, home, purpose, and community.
Addiction Is A Disease, Not An Excuse
Trying to pin down whether addiction is a disease is helpful in the scope of public health, where such labeling can positively influence legislation, healthcare benefits, and social acceptance. In terms of the individual, it can affect how someone might view their condition. Gene Heyman perhaps said it best that addiction is a “disorder of choice.”
It’s without question that addiction can be difficult to manage once you have its onset. However, individuals do have a choice of how they face it. Even chronic diseases like diabetes can have actions taken to make them more manageable. Even if efforts don’t completely cure the disease, they can go a long way towards giving the individual a better quality of life. Above all, no matter how addiction is labeled, you always have a choice.
Major Addiction Treatment Resources for Data on the Extent of Drug Use in the US
- American Psychiatric Association or APA
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA
- World Health Organization
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or NIAAA
- National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA
- American Society of Addiction Medicine or ASAM
If you are considering addiction treatment for you or someone you love, We Level Up New Jersey can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for addiction treatment resources and free confidential consultation with a member of our team.
We Level Up New Jersey treatment center’s approach is holistic and personalized to meet our clients’ individuals need. From the moment you begin with us, our counselors will help you find a path that fits with your background, your substance(s) of choice, your lifestyle, your interests, and your unique needs. Rest assured, our residential center offers trusted addiction treatment because we apply evidence-based inpatient therapy. Our treatment is backed by well-trained addiction professionals providing evidence-based recovery programs.
 Substance Abuse / Chemical Dependency – Johns Hopkins Medicine