WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF ADDICTION RECOVERY?

Recovery is a continuous action relating to addiction because addiction is a chronic disease hence, there is no cure. Recovery does not happen at once; it takes a varied period per individual and is in stages.

It requires effort, discipline, time, support, and determination to be inculcated in a person’s lifestyle so he can be healthy and sober.

If you want to give up substance use, you should be ready to see your treatment as an investment that you will see its returns.

You should be able to understand, make changes within, and learn how to love yourself. Recovery is not limited to overcoming addiction over substances but it extends to a transformation of the mind, body, and spirit. 

Addiction recovery is in stages and the National Institute on Drug abuse has developed four stages which are:

  • Initiation of Treatment: 

This is the starting point of a recovery where the patient chooses what treatment he should use or in situations he is forced to receive treatment where he does not want it willingly.

It comes after the patient has spent quite a while contemplating if he is an addict or not or if he needs treatment. At this stage, it is mostly very challenging health-wise due to withdrawal symptoms that accompany the non use of drugs.

  • Early Abstinence:

It is the second stage of recovery, and it can be the most challenging stage to cope with because of some treatment outcomes.

For instance, Cravings, Psychological dependence, triggers, and continued withdrawal symptoms can encourage alcohol consumption. This stage involves education about coping mechanisms needed to remain sober.

  • Maintaining Abstinence:

This stage comes after approximately 90 days of continuous abstinence. It involves focusing on the steps to be taken by the addict to help remain committed to abstinence. It is at this stage that an in-patient is released to continue counseling on an outpatient level. 

  • Advanced Recovery:

It is the final stage of addiction recovery in which you are to put into practice all that you learned during your treatment program. 

5 SIGNS THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS ADDICTED

Addiction is like a slow poison, you do not know you have fallen victim until something grievous happens or if you are lucky, a loved one figures it out for you.

Perhaps, it is not for yourself that you suspect addiction but for a relation or a friend. Either way, like any other illness, it is of great advantage when it is detected early enough because treatment is easy and the consequence managed.

It is not as easy as it seems to figure addiction out because the signs of addiction vary per individual and the substance used.

There are, however, some general pointers that would indicate that you or your loved one is suffering from addiction. Although they might not come into view in every case of drug addiction, you should give attention to them when you notice them often enough.

These signs are:

  • Cravings:

Cravings are a central feature of addiction. When you have or notice a conscious and unconscious experience of wanting to use a substance, then addiction is not only at your door but has made itself at home with you. As it develops, you experience intense urges for the substance you use.

  • Physical Dependence:

When you feel the need to take a substance to function effectively, then you’re likely addicted to that substance. Beyond the need, if indeed, your productivity level is low, and you operate sub-optimally without a particular substance, please, check-in for addiction.

  • Tolerance:

Naturally, in most individuals, the more a drug is used, the more the body builds tolerance to it. It implies that you find out you need more of the drug than you would usually need to feel its desired effects.

  • Withdrawal Symptoms:

At the point when you decide to reduce your substance intake or stop altogether and you have withdrawal symptoms. Kindly seek help because withdrawal symptoms are a sure sign of addiction.

  • Poor Judgement:

Addiction causes an individual to go any miles to get drugs or avoid restraint from them. It could include committing crimes, stealing, or harming a loved one. 

FOUR REASONS WHY PEOPLE GET ADDICTED

Most people believe that the addicted are those who lack willpower or the basic moral principles, every human should have in society.

They lack the understanding that addiction is more of a psychological problem, a disease that requires treatment. Frequent substance use affects the brain and changes the systemic pattern, challenging the self-control of the user.

Addiction is a disorder often characterized by an uncontrollable urge to use certain substances despite harmful consequences.

It doesn’t come with a first or second use as those are often voluntary however, the more the intake, the closer the risk. Although there is no specific generic reason why people get addicted, some factors have been linked as influencers of addiction.

It is the combination of these factors that determine the chances a person has of addiction. The higher the risk factor, the greater the chance and vice versa. Putting that into consideration, here are four reasons why people get addicted:

  • Genetic factors: 

It relates to the genes a person is born with and it is necessary because it explains half of a person’s risk of addiction. Some genes are more resistant to substance use than others so, with the former, addiction will be less likely than the latter. 

  • Peer pressure:

Peer pressure is an environmental factor that could lead to a person getting addicted. Even though common among adolescents, it is not limited to them because the influence of friends is no respecter of age or status.

Moving with a circle of friends who use substances can create an atmosphere for someone to try indulging.

  • Health factors:  

A person suffering from a health condition could start using drugs as a coping mechanism for the symptoms. In cases where the symptoms prolong, the drugs will continue to be in use with the amount increased to achieve the desired effects.

  • Developmental factors:

Using drugs at an early stage puts a person at risk of becoming an addict in later years. Compared to an adult brain, drug abuse can have a more detrimental effect on the developing brain.

UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN CHEMISTRY OF ADDICTION

The brain and addiction are closely connected such that addiction makes an impact on the brain on many levels. In most cases, substance use involves the chemical compounds in the substance flowing directly to the brain and the bloodstream. 

The direct flow of these chemicals to the brain can cause drastic consequences on the user because it directly interferes with neurotransmitters.

It can cause a user to crave a harmful substance or lose control of his impulses. He begins to crave the reward of the substance because of the brain’s reward system that would have been stimulated extremely. 

Several factors determine the brain’s response to addiction. Some of which are:

  • The type of substance used
  • The amount of substance 
  • The frequency of use of a substance
  • The stage of addiction

The brain is the control system of every individual as it is what determines how a person would respond or react to circumstances. It has an impact on physical sensations, habits, compulsions, emotions, and cravings. Addictions develop due to the reward system of the brain which causes persons to ‘feel good’ each time they use a substance.

This feeling continues by continuous use and gets to a point where the person will not feel normal if he has not used any substance within a period.

He becomes depressed and filled with a desperation that he can go to any extent even when it includes harming loved ones to get the substance. Due to the rewiring of the brain by substance addiction, a sudden stop in the use of substances will have dangerous effects. 

The dangerous effects are known as withdrawal symptoms which vary per the type of drug used.

The symptoms occur because of the high volume of chemicals that have flooded the brain and made it adapt to the mental effects of the substance. Hence, it is required that professional treatment be available to help cope with the symptoms. 

HOW TO HELP AN ADDICT UNWILLING TO SEEK HELP

Addicts are mostly unaware of the critical state they are in because they still feel in control of their substance use. It makes it difficult for them to seek help personally or respond to a loved one’s hand of assistance. Unfortunately, for addiction treatment to be effective, the addict must be willing to be helped.

Hence, there remains that deep eating worry about the state of health of the loved one and the guilt of not being able to help.

To worsen the problem will be a friend or family member, with good intentions, trying to force the loved one to get treatment. If this is your predicament, worry no more here are a few steps that can help you encourage an addict into treatment:

  • Self-encouragement: 

You should accept that the person you are seeking to help is an addict and needs your support. So, you could brace yourself up for the time and emotions, also, the determination to see the addict well. This step is necessary when the addict is a family member or a loved one where acceptance might be difficult.

  • Self-enlightenment:

You may educate yourself about substance abuse, addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and various treatment options. Understanding the state of the addict can help you in your manner of approach and being in control of the discussion. 

  • Words of encouragement:

Be careful not to condemn or use words that could guilt-trip the addict, rather, offer words of encouragement. Let the addict feel like you understand their situation and you are ready to offer support come what may.

  • Avoid enabling:

Enabling involves offering financial aid to an addict or lying to help them hide the problem. If you find yourself doing any of these, it implies you are supporting the addict. Cut those acts, though it could seem tough.

  • Intervention:

Consider the help of a professional intervention counselor if your efforts do not seem to be working. However, be very sure progress was not made before introducing intervention of any kind.