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The Cycle Of Addiction

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The Cycle Of Addiction

The Cycle of Addiction: Overcoming Substance Abuse One Step at a Time

Addiction studies have shown that there is a chemical and physiological difference in the brain of an addicted person and the brain of a non-addicted person. In order to completely comprehend how a dependency to drugs or alcohol forms and how the process of recovery works, an addiction must be considered a neurological disorder. Additionally, one must understand how the cycle of addiction in order to break free from it. Addiction is said to be a chronic relapse disease, because the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that arise upon stopping use of drugs or alcohol are severe enough to draw a person back into using. This becomes a viscous cycle, and once an addiction develops, it is exceptionally difficult to break that cycle. 

Misuse

Abusing drugs or experimenting with drugs and alcohol to cope with negative emotions. Or realizing after experimenting that you enjoy the feeling of relaxing and less worry and begin to continue use

Abuse

At this point, the person begins to increase the amount and frequency of use in order to achieve and maintain the euphoric, desirable effects. Substance abuse can also serve as a method for escaping reality. If the person began using to avoid facing problems in his or her life, these problems will continue to go untreated and unresolved. For those who did not have problems prior to using, then problems will likely stem from the abuse. The person’s life becomes revolves around their cravings for drugs or alcohol and achieving a specific level of satisfaction.

Addiction

Once an addiction sets in, the person spends a majority – if not all – of their time acquiring the substance or using the substance. This is the point at with the cycle of addiction begins and the individual will soon begin to experience serious consequences, which may include problems with their health, emotional stability, finances, relationships, and social life. The person will most likely not take responsibility for these negative outcomes caused by the addiction, and will instead place the blame somewhere else.

Addiction is characterized by:

  •  Feeling frustrated and emotionally distraught can cause the person to experience feelings of anxiety, which in turn leads them to use in order to relieve these symptoms.
  • The person will become distracted due to fantasizing about relieving the uneasy symptoms through the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Fixating on using drugs and alcohol and how the substance will make them feel once they do
  • Using drugs or alcohol to achieve a sense of relief (acting out)
  • Acting out, misbehaving, or losing complete control over one’s behavior and conduct
  • Feeling guilty and ashamed, causing them to become dissatisfied with themselves
  • Promising oneself to make a change and stop using once and for all

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

There are five stages involved in breaking the cycle of addiction: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. During the precontemplation stage, the addict has not thought of stopping use, nor desires to. The contemplation stage is when the addict recognizes a problem and considers changing his or her behavior. The third stage, preparation, is when the person begins to mentally, emotionally, and physically gets ready to make a change. The action stage is when the addict actually puts in the effort to make a change by enrolling in treatment, receiving counseling, and attending meetings.  The last stage is maintenance, and this is simply the act of maintain a healthy, clean life free from the use of drugs and alcohol.

It can take months or even years of interventions and detox, as well as several failed attempts at treatment before an addicted individual ventures onto the right road to recovery and regains a positive state of health and well-being. Those who have had a longstanding addiction are most likely familiar with the cycle of addiction, but are incapable of breaking it without professional help. However, addiction treatment and therapy will only work if the addicted individual is dedicated to the program and committed to his or her own sobriety.

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