Addiction: Things You Need to Know

Addiction to drugs and alcohol and other substances can tear families apart and ruin lives. It is really difficult to see loved ones consumed by addiction and eventually end up wasting their lives. However, before you can truly help an addict, there are certain things you need to know:

Recovery is Hard but Possible

It is not just about willpower. Addiction is a disease of the brain that involves compulsive use of a substance. This is a complex condition that is influenced by multiple factors that include, but not limited to, genetics, childhood history, stress, and brain function itself. Recovering from it means overcoming both compulsion and craving.

Understand that treatment is not the same as cure – relapse is very common. Addiction is like a chronic illness that requires a lifetime of change, because it involves the physical, emotional and social aspects of a person. It’s not going to be easy, but with commitment, patience and support, recovery is very possible.

Treatment is Not Just for Those Who have Hit Rock Bottom

In most cases, a person will seek help if he has already undergone or is going through sufficient discomfort from the addition. However, this should not be the case. If you think that a loved one is suffering from addiction, seek help immediately and do not cover up or make excuses. The earlier the problem is treated, the higher chances for a fast recovery.

It is not an Indication of an Underlying Character Disorder

While a person’s behavior and personality can drastically change with addiction, these are not an indication of a character disorder. These are a result of the addiction and not the cause of it. With treatment, such behavioral changes may improve and likely go back to normal.

You are Not Alone

If you are an addict, you are just one of the millions of people around the globe who are facing the same problem. That does not make it any less of a problem. It just means that you are not alone, that this can affect people from different walks of life. Also, there are several support groups which help people who are trying or are undergoing recovery. They can also be a good source of encouragement, motivation and resources.

For the purpose of helping you understand addiction more as a problem and how you can be of tremendous help to your loved one or to yourself, here are several other helpful resources:

FreeResources
JournalOfSubstanceAbuseTreatment

Special Section: Defining and Measuring “Recovery” Special article

What is recovery? A working definition from the Betty Ford Institute
The Betty Ford Institute Consensus Panel…

WhatCausesDrugAddictionAndAlcoholism

The Cycle of Addiction - What causes drug addiction and alcoholism?

In medical terms, a drug is any substance that when taken into a living organism may modify one or more of its functions…

RootsOfAddictionInFreeMarketSociety

The Roots of Addiction in Free Market Society by Bruce K. Alexander

This paper argues that dislocation is the necessary precursor of addiction, and uses examples from Canadian…

ScienceOfAddiction

How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Dr ug Addiction

Throughout much of the last century, scientists studying drug abuse labored in the shadows of powerful myths…

TheBigBookOfAA

This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature

Because this book has become the basic text for our Society and has helped such large numbers of alcoholic men & women…

TenTipsForFirstYearOfRecovery

Ten Tips for the First Year of Recovery by Kevin T. McCauley, M.D.

The most important moment of inpatient treatment addiction is the first hour after discharge. Where the patient…

PrinciplesOfDrugAddictionTreatment

Principles Of Drug Addiction Treatment - A Research-Based Guide

Drug addiction is a complex illness. It is characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving,…

BeyondCodependency

B e y o n d C o d e p e n d e n c y - And Getting Better All the Time

This is a book about recovery. Actually, this is a book about continuing our recoveries. I wrote it for people recovering from the…

ViciousEating

Vicious Eating The Food Addict‘s Guide to Redemption

Food Addiction Makes Weight Loss Impossible It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that trying to lose weight while…