What is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by distorted thinking patterns and behaviors. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the brain of someone who is addicted to one or more substances experiences significant changes in areas where decision-making, judgment, memory, learning, and behavior control occur. Also known as substance use disorder, addiction can occur in anyone. While some people can use substances without experiencing addiction, others cannot. And, when those who cannot use substances without becoming addicted begin developing a dependency, he or she becomes powerless over the disease.
Addiction is a fatal disease. This means that if the appropriate interventions are not obtained, an individual can lose his or her life due to the effects that addiction can cause. Thankfully, treatment is readily available through a number of outlets so that those who are struggling with addiction can obtain the care they need to obtain recovery.
What Does Addiction Look Like?
The disease of addiction can affect any type of person at any given time. Therefore, not everyone who is addicted to one or more substances like heroin, alcohol, or prescription painkillers is going to experience the same outward effects. However, there are some common, baseline characteristics of addiction that can be easily noticeable. These include the following:
- Behavioral changes – Someone who is addicted is likely to display secretive and disengaged behaviors as they are attempting to cover their addiction entirely, or prevent others from knowing how severe it is
- Problems at work – Addiction can cause once-valued employees to start arriving late, missing deadlines, and experiencing conflict with other co-workers
- Noticeable health issues – Abusing a dangerous substance can cause obvious physical effects, such as weight loss, sluggish behavior, or red, glassy eyes
- Financial problems – Addiction is expensive, especially when an individual is consuming large amounts of the substance in question. Therefore, money can go missing and family budgets can become neglected
- Mental health disturbances – It is not uncommon for individuals who are struggling with addiction to also be experiencing mental health problems, such as paranoia, depression, and/or anxiety
It is important to note that these behaviors are not set in stone, as symptoms of addiction can vary based on the substance that is being abused.
Addiction Treatment Options
The severity of addiction can range from person to person, which is why there are several different options for addiction treatment available. When searching for treatment, it is important to find the right fit in order to receive the appropriate care.
One of the most common forms of addiction treatment is inpatient treatment. This form of treatment requires the individual to reside at the treatment facility, where he or she will partake in many different therapies in an effort to treat the many different aspects of addiction. This kind of treatment is typically best suited for those who have severe addictions, or who have attempted to stop using but have been unable to do so independently.
Outpatient treatment is also common, and it requires the individual to come to the facility a few times a week to engage in therapeutic processes. The ideal candidate for outpatient treatment is someone who is not experiencing full-blown addiction but is, however, struggling to control his or her substance abuse.
Other options for addiction treatment include intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, and detox. Intensive outpatient programs are similar to outpatient programs, however, ask the client to come to the facility daily to participate in medication management and therapy. Partial hospitalization is similar to intensive outpatient programs, however, is often more geared towards mental health treatment. And, last by not least, detox facilities are available for individuals who need supervised detox and recommendations on where to go to next.
It can be difficult to know where to start once the decision has been made to get treatment. However, calling any one of these types of facilities can help individuals begin to determine where their best fit for treatment is.
Getting the Help You Need
Getting help for addiction can save your life. It might be difficult to admit that help is needed, however, once you reach out for help, the rest can begin to fall in place. Treatment can help you to not only end the physical act of using dangerous substances but can also help you understand how and why your addiction developed. Through therapy, you can identify the underlying factors of your addiction, as well as address the issues that have developed as a result of your use. Treating addiction is not as simple as just stopping use – it takes time, effort, and determination to overcome the several different challenges that this disease can cause. However, by obtaining new coping skills, learning more about yourself (including your triggers to use), and connecting with a community of others who are striving for successful recovery, you can put your addiction in the past where it belongs.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, call us today at 844-259-9926 to learn about our treatment options.