Drug addiction is a form of substance abuse where you get hooked on repetitively using harmful drugs. It can start as fun and games due to peer pressure but soon turn into a full-blown addiction. Some people use drugs as a coping mechanism for a traumatic event. Once you get the pleasure or ‘high’ from the drugs, you become completely dependent. You can barely function without them.
What is Drug Addiction?
Nowadays drug addiction is described as a chronic illness and users need treatment to help them get it under control. As with other chronic illnesses, there is no cure for this addiction but you can learn to manage it. It affects the function of the brain changing how you normally behave and react to different events in your daily life.
At first, it can be possible to function while taking drugs regularly but with time the addiction consumes your whole life. All you can think of is getting the next hit. It might start with weed then advance to stronger drugs like cocaine. This happens when you build a tolerance and want something stronger.
There are a variety of reasons you can start taking drugs which include feeling good about yourself. You get a feeling of pleasure after every hit and other outcomes depending on the drug you are taking. Drugs can be a way of coping with everyday life. Anxiety and depression can lead you to take drugs to feel better and get temporary stress relief.
Drugs can make you feel better for a little while but the long term consequences are the problem. Starting out you might be in control but the more you take and increase how much you use, the more out of control you become. Your behavior and demeanor changes and soon you can’t function without taking them. Most drugs taken on a regular basis even those prescribed by doctors like opioids are addictive.
Symptoms of Drug Addiction
There are certain symptoms used to diagnose a person who is addicted to drugs.
- You can’t stop
In your mind, you believe you can stop taking drugs at any time but that is far from the truth. Whenever you try to stop you find yourself back in the clutches of drugs. The withdrawal symptoms are one of the main reasons most people can’t stop taking drugs on their own.
- Stop Feeling Better
You might have started taking drugs like weed to feel better and cope with stress. Depression and anxiety are some of the main reasons most people turn to regular drug use. The minute you stop taking, you stop feeling better and those feelings of anxiety and stress flood back.
No matter how bad you want to stop using, you can’t and every day must start with getting high. This dependent behavior is a clear indicator you are addicted to drug use.
- Behavior Change
How you act and behave completely changes the more addicted you become. Some users tend to get violent if they can’t get the drugs they depend on and even steal to feed this habit.
- Broken Relationships
It’s hard for addicts to keep close relationships due to changes in their behavior and life. Every waking minute is filled with thoughts of getting and staying high. You can’t care for those you love and end up neglecting important relationships in your life.
Tips on How to Stop Drug Addiction
Drug addiction can consume your whole life and affect how productive you are. Instead of letting it take full control, once you realize you are addicted, take action. Start by admitting you have a problem and need help.
- Admit you Have a Problem
You can’t fix what you can’t see. That is a fact of life. If you can’t see and acknowledge that you have a problem then you stand no chance on stopping addiction. Many drug abusers are in denial and that affects how effective helping them can be. They tend to manipulate those who love them into believing they need help only for them to use again.
Start by admitting you have a problem and need help. Getting to a point where you acknowledge this is the first step to recovery and stopping drug addiction. If you don’t admit you have something that needs changing then no one can convince you to stop. Even after attending rehab, you are more likely to relapse. The conversation that gets you here will be uncomfortable and might bring about painful realizations.
- Support Groups
Drug addiction support groups are spread in every town and city in the country. More and more people are recovering addicts and one effective way of staying on track is joining a support group. Addiction in any form had no cure. What you can learn is how to manage it and prevent a relapse. Still, with everyday stresses of life, it’s easy to fall back into old habits. This is where a support group comes in handy. You become a family who supports each other every day and shares your experiences. It gets easier once you realize you are not alone in this battle and have people to lean on.
As much as family and friends might want to help, it’s hard for them to fully grasp what you are going through. Those people in your support group are in a better position to understand you and offer the best assistance and guidance. Joining a support group is one of the recommendations you get after leaving rehab to continue with your recovery.
- Know your Triggers
What triggers your drug use and how can you cope with that. At times triggers are not easy to avoid. It might be a stressful living situation with abusive relationships. Other triggers include traumatic events in your past or depression and stress. Get to know what triggers you and causes drug abuse. If you don’t find a way to cope with your triggers then you are more likely to relapse. Remember drug addiction is a chronic illness and chances of relapse are high.
Work on breaking off those relationships that trigger your drug use. Maybe it’s a toxic group of friends that pressure each other into using drugs for fun. You might be in an abusive relationship that you must walk away from. Traumatic memories are another form of triggers to keep in mind. It’s best to cope with what happened in the past and talk to someone about it rather than relapse.
Temptations are hard to live with as a recovering addict. It’s best to stay away from people or situations that trigger you. It’s not easy to say no once you are in those familiar situations again. Will power plays a key role at this point because it might mean saying goodbye to relationships that mean a lot to you. For some addicts, it’s moving away from family members who are drug users themselves.
- Keep Busy
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop as the proverb says which is true. Part of recovery is finding something productive and fulfilling to do. Get a job, go to school, start that business you’ve always dreamt of. Never return to old ways of idleness. Once you have nothing productive to do, it gets harder to resist the temptation and relapsing.
Even when you are not at work, keep yourself distracted and get a hobby. You can start painting, singing, reading, exercising among other things. All this is to keep busy and stay distracted. You can create a distraction list to better manage your recovery. It gets easier with time but you must put in the work.
You can start a home project like spring cleaning or finally building your children that tree-house. Do all you can to keep yourself productive and less likely to be tempted to get back to old habits. Getting responsibilities puts meaning in your life. Get a job, rent an apartment, and start dating. Recovery is not easy but keeping busy is one way to stay on the right track.
- Get an Accountability Partner ‘Sponsor’
Once you join a support group, you are encouraged to get an accountability partner/sponsor to help you with recovery. A good partner is a fellow recovering addict who has done it longer than you. Maybe they have 2 years or more in recovery. He/she is in a better position to guide you.
They know what comes next and the challenges that lay ahead. It’s better to have them guide you through than walk the path alone. Going at it alone can lead to relapse since you don’t have someone to be accountable to. They become integrated into your life and help you through each hurdle you must overcome.
Having someone there when it gets tough or you are tempted to use it again is beneficial. They can talk you down or even offer a distraction that has worked for them. They can help you secure a job and get your life back on track.
- Create a Plan for your Life
In rehab, you are in a controlled environment where all your actions are monitored. You have a daily routine that makes it easier to recover from addiction. But you can’t stay there indefinitely. Create a plan for your life after leaving the rehab center. This gives you a sense of purpose and responsibility. You might decide to go back to school and finally get started on that career path you’ve aspired to.
Having a plan makes life after rehab less scary as you won’t have so many people watching over you. Part of the plan is removing all bad habits that drove you into drug use in the first place. You might plan to get new friends and hang out elsewhere with fewer or no temptations. A plan centers your life and in the event you get tempted to use again, you have more control and can resist.
- Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is one coping method recommended for recovering drug addicts. In it, you write your daily experiences and all the feelings that come with that. Not having an outlet is a huge trigger that leads to relapse. Start writing down how your day was every evening and express all that you feel. It’s normal for some days to be okay and others to be trying. Not all days are sunny and rosy.
Learn how to deal with all these conflicting emotions in everyday life. Writing in your journal is safe and helps especially when you can’t yet open up to someone else about how you are feeling. Write down all the pain you feel and what you view as a problem that might result in relapsing. Once you identify such triggers in your life you are in a better position to handle them.
Keep a clear account of all that you go through especially in matters relayed to recovery. This can be an effective tool to keep you on the straight and narrow. You are accountable to yourself even if you have a sponsor. You can keep track of your progress which is important and helps you see how far you have come.
- Have a Security Item
It might be your recovery chip. Most recovery support groups award recovering addicts chips after they hit some milestones. It might be one month, 6 months, or 1 year without using any drugs. These are huge achievements and those chips can become your security item. They constantly remind you of how far you have come and how strong you are.
Every day is a challenge to stay on the right track and not relapse. Drug addiction has no cure and using again is always a possibility. Every time you feel drawn to these temptations, hold your recovery chip close and remember how far you’ve come. Do this and then get in touch with your sponsor as soon as you can.
Recovery from drug addiction starts by admitting you need help then get the help that you need. The tips listed here will help you on your recovery journey and keep you on the right track.