Everyone in this world has taken, at least once in their life, a substance that has the potential to turn into addiction. No one takes their first drink/drug with the thought of becoming an addict. Every single addict thinks that he can control the substance use. When the use spirals out of control and the person cannot give it up, despite wanting to do so, this is addiction. The disease is so strong, that the drugs/alcohol have become more important than everything else – friends, family, even sleep or food. An addict can do a lot of dangerous and illegal actions to provide oneself with his/hers drug of choice. In the past, addiction has been considered lack of will, laziness, merely a choice of the addict to be a rejected part of the society. But today our vision has changed. Today we know – addiction is a brain disease, that changes the way the brain works, causing multiple personality traits to change and/or mood swings, memory loss, trouble thinking, etc.
The trouble is that no one is willing to address the problem, since addiction is considered to be cause for shame and embarrassment. On the other hand, an addict is often reluctant to admit that he/she has a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Here are some questions that can help you determine whether or not you or someone else has addiction. If your loved one is not willing to admit his/hers condition, show them the following questions, so they have to face the truth.
1. Do you think a lot about drugs and/or alcohol?
2. Have you ever tried to cut down or stop using drugs and/or alcohol but couldn’t?
3. Do you think that you cannot have fun or fit in without drugs and/or alcohol?
4. Do you use drugs and/or alcohol when you are upset or angry at someone?
5. Have you used and unknown drug, without knowing what would it do to you?
6. Have you used one drug to help you get over the effects of another?
7. Do you have troubles at work/school because of your drug/alcohol use?
8. Are you scared of running out of drugs and/or alcohol?
9. Have you committed theft to supply yourself with drugs and/or alcohol or drug/alcohol money?
10. Have you been arrested because your drug/alcohol use?
11. Have you been hospitalized because of your drug/alcohol use?
12. Have you overdosed on drugs and/or alcohol?
13. Has your drug/alcohol use hurt your relationships?
If the answers to most or all of the questions are positive, then you or your loved one have drug or alcohol addiction.
If you want to understand the signs of drug use, here are some helpful hints to look for (remember: they can be symptoms NOT only for addiction, so you should carefully talk to the person you think is addicted and consider the options):
· An addict might lose interest in their favorite things
· An addict might be tired and sad
· An addict might be energetic, might talk fast and/or make no sense at all
· An addict might become indifferent to his/hers personal hygiene – don’t bathe, don’t brush their teeth, etc.
· An addict might spend a lot of time alone or with shady people
· An addict might have quick changes in behavior – feeling good and in the next moment – feeling bad
· An addict might have problems in school/work
· An addict might sleep at strange hours
· An addict might miss important appointments
Since these symptoms might be presented NOT ONLY in addiction, but in multiple brain disorders, lets take a look at the 10 most common signs, which can be helpful in finding out whether someone is using drugs/alcohol or not:
· Cravings for drug or a drink
· Physical dependence
· Tolerance – with time, the person needs more and more drugs/drinks to achieve the same effect
· Symptoms of withdrawal if attempt to stop using drugs/drinking
· Poor judgement
· Financial trouble
· Unhealthy friendships
· Drug-seeking – spending a lot of time, energy and money trying to find drugs and/or alcohol
· Neglected responsibilities
So, lets assume that you have already understood that you or someone else have drug and/or alcohol addiction. What are the treatment options?
· Outpatient treatment – when you can stay at home after receiving treatment. It includes:
1. Period of detoxification
2. Medication management
3. Individual therapy
4. Group therapy
5. Relapse prevention education
6. Ongoing support
· Inpatient treatment – when you should live in the facility while the treatment is ongoing. This is preferred by people who want to focus completely on getting clean and sober. It includes:
1. Safe recovery environment
2. Supervised detoxification
3. Support of other patients
4. Medically assisted treatment
5. Individual therapy
6. Group therapy
7. Therapeutic activities
8. Family therapy
Do not remember some of the most important things while dealing with addict:
· The obsessive drug/alcohol seeking and drug/alcohol use is triggered by the disease called addiction
· Addiction can drive the addict to commit crimes, to break relationships, to hurt people
· Relapse is common, still, recovery is always possible
· In the addict’s recovery, family support can make an enormous difference
· The addict’s family will need its own support system
Finally, although there is a huge chance of relapse, you should not be scared to try and recover. It is not very pleasant but so are most of the treatments for other diseases. The most important this one should remember is that there IS ALWAYS A CHANCE TO RECOVER, no matter how hard has your drug/alcohol use been. Take it one step at a time and remember that it is better to live clean and sober, than drugged and drunk.
It is essential that the bed is firm to lie on: a sagging bed provides only poor support for the back and tires the patient over time.
Once one have succeeded with drug/alcohol treatment, there comes the hard path of recovery. Relapse is very likely to occur within the first few months of recovery, so take a
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