Millions of people in the United States are addicted to some kind of chemical substance or some kind of action that triggers chemicals in the brain’s reward center. Most of those people struggling with chemical dependence or some form of psychological addiction have more than one addiction haunting them every single day. Even more true is that most people who suffer with an addiction have a co-occurring disorder of some kind, usually a mental health disorder that makes it harder to break away from the addiction they suffer from, to begin a sober or addiction free way of life. Something that is really vital to understand is that addiction is a disease that affects the brain’s pleasure center, keeping the person struggling with the addiction coming back for more of what makes them feel safer, or calmer, or like they can keep going.
Not only is addiction a disease, but it is a chronic illness. That means that the addiction will never be cured. The person will deal with the disease for the rest of their lives. Just like asthma, someone may experience a remission of sorts where they do not suffer from the symptoms of the disease, but without consistent maintenance, the symptoms of the person’s addiction will likely creep back into their lives. The remission can and will end without the kind of treatment that is available at rehab and medical detox centers in South Florida.
Without proper treatment, when the person struggling with addiction to the substance or action engages in the activity or consumes the drug or alcohol, the brain releases chemicals like dopamine or endorphins that reinforces the action taken. A person who develops an addiction, is usually, initially, engaging with the activity or substance in an attempt to dampen their stress, anxiety, or other complicated mental health problems. It is also possible that the person is self medicating because they are dealing with or trying to suppress some kind of past trauma. Drug and alcohol addiction are the most common type of addiction but there are many other kinds of addiction.
Some of the most common addictions are as follows:
- Addiction to a drug, multiple drugs, or alcohol addiction
- Addiction to shopping
- Addiction to food
- Addiction to gambling
- Addiction to exercise
Drug and alcohol addiction
Drugs and alcohol are intoxicating substances that people become addicted to by consuming them in various ways depending on the chemical. Some drugs are
- Snorted in powder form
- Injected into the vein or the muscle
- Eaten in food form
- Taken in pill form
- Drunk in some type of liquid form, or mixed with water or alcohol
- Smoked using a pipe, bong, or rolled joint or cigarette
- Used through patches on the skin
- Through suppositories – absorbed by the anal mucous membrane
These intoxicating substances often break down and attach themselves to the reward center in the brain and in turn they give the person suffering from the chemical dependency an incentive to use again. As mentioned above this is by far the most commonly discussed kind of addiction as it can be morbidly devastating, resulting in six hundreds of thousands of deaths world wide last year alone. Treatment for substance abuse and addiction is usually conducted at drug and rehab centers in Florida like at FHE Health recovery houses in Florida. To effectively and sustainably detox from a drug or from alcohol, a person addicted to an intoxicating substance should seek out medically supervised alcohol detox or drug detox as opposed to trying detoxification on one’s own. Self detoxification can lead to any number of medical complications or even in the worst of situations, medical emergency or death. Withdrawal symptoms vary by substance, by the fitness and mental wellbeing of the person suffering with the drug or alcohol addiction, and by many other variables. Understanding those variables is one of many of the important reasons to allow a medical staff to supervise a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. If detoxification does not succeed, there is no hope for someone addicted to drugs and alcohol.
The next step in recovery for the person struggling with this kind of addiction is rehabilitation. In drug or alcohol addiction rehabilitation treatment the patient at a FHE Health facility will have a treatment created for them that is fully customized to fit their specific needs. FHE will take into account the way of life the patient needs, their fitness, any trauma they may be dealing with, any dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental health disorders that may make it a more complicated and difficult process for the patient than it might be otherwise.
Consumerism is rampant in this day and age. But a shopping addiction is less about consumerism and materialism and more about a psychological imperative. A person struggling with an addiction to shopping or buying,may sometimes pass it off as “retail therapy” but it is far from therapy. Addiction to shopping is not therapeutic, quite the opposite, in fact, compulsive shopping is a real addiction with real world consequences that can affect the individual with the disease as well as their family and friends. .If someone is addicted to shopping they find some amount of catharsis and stress relief in the action, though in the end it can be an addition to their stress via the guilt or shame they feel in retrospect.
Just like with a drug or alcohol addiction, shopping addiction is often something done in secret. The reason that shopping addiction disorder develops is, again like drug and alcohol addiction, often a way to quell the pain that lies within the person suffering. In this way, the idea of “retail therapy” makes a bit more sense. Just like someone suffering with drug or alcohol addiction may be said to be self medicating. But the fact is that the only kind of therapy that can help the person struggling with this tragic addiction is in a room with one or more people. Group therapy with others addicted to shopping, and individual therapy with a behavioral therapist or other type of therapist are the solutions to dealing with this kind of addiction. Untreated, this addiction is one that can create rifts in family relationships.It can engender distrust and create trauma including between spouses as well as between children and parents.
Food addiction is in a fine line between addiction and eating disorder. It is confused by society as being a choice that those addicted to food, or suffering from an eating disorder called binge eating disorder make. Eating to excess is a psychological side effect to addiction or an eating disorder, not a choice that a person makes, and not a personal failing. Our society forgets sometimes that if someone is addicted to food, or suffering from a mental disorder, that addiction is indeed a disease like any other disease.
The people suffering from these diseases and disorders do not want to suffer. They usually feel compelled, or dependent on the actions or substances that drive their choices and moves in life. If someone is addicted to food they find catharsis or comfort in the consumption of food and often consume it in binges. Usually people who have a food addiction are overweight but some people who are addicted to food are within a healthy appearing weight in spite of the disorder. This kind of addiction is very often the result of trauma and should be treated through mental health rehabilitation with a therapist. There are twelve step programs like Overeaters Anonymous that provide a group setting for someone to go and deal safely with their addiction.
While much of the mechanics of addiction to drugs, alcohol, or any kind of substance occur largely behind the scenes, in the interactions of biology and chemistry within a person’s body, gambling addiction is a behavior that is acted out externally. Because of this there are more quantifiable facts to note than someone might be able to see with most other addiction disorders.
The fact that casinos and lotteries even exist proves that there is profit to be made by offering people an easy way to gamble. For some people suffering from gambling addiction, it’s the thrill of “beating the house” that draws them in more than the idea of making a ton of money. Other gamblers dream of one single, life-changing jackpot. On a long enough timeline, the fact that businesses like these gain such enormous profits shows that if a person continues to play they will eventually lose everything, rather than ever coming out ahead..
Many gamblers think that they have some special knowledge of the way the system works that allows them to get a higher dollar outcome, or have a superior strategy. But the truth of the matter is that casinos and lotteries have to follow and adhere to a strict law regarding the probability and payouts of devices used for gambling. If someone could predict the outcomes of a gambling game it would bankrupt the owners of the gambling device, and they would also find themselves in trouble with the law.
Addiction lends itself to irrational behavior. Despite the persistent harm it causes on lives, someone suffering from gambling addiction will still go for their big win just like someone with an addiction to drugs and alcohol wants a drink even though they know it is killing them. Sometimes the anticipation of a win is just as addictive as the win itself.
Many people are surprised that exercise addiction is in this list since exercise is usually considered one of the most healthful things a person can do, but like so many other things, it can be taken to unhealthy extremes. Everybody, from professional athletes on down, has limits and regularly pushing past those limits is exceedingly dangerous.
Substance addictions hijack the body’s reward system, convincing it that it is doing things that are really good for it. If you consider that strengthening your body is one of the things that the reward system is actually supposed to reward, it’s not surprising at all that some people get caught in that positive feedback loop and become dependent on it. Runner’s high is a very real and literal thing – the same flood of dopamine and endorphins that is triggered by other addictions such as an addiction to amphetamines is released when you push your body to the limit. In the case of exercise addiction, the chemical reward comes at the cost of stress and danger to your physical body.
After Inpatient Addiction Treatment
Rehab is an inflection point in your life. You came because you knew you needed changes in your life, and that process starts in rehab but it does not end there. It will be necessary to reexamine your whole routine and consider how interrelated each aspect was with your problem, and how you can modify it to come into alignment with your new vision of yourself. This is a road that has been walked many times, and there are a lot of time honored tips and methods to help you rebuild your life. Practicing intentionality about the struggles you are likely to face and the strategies you have to overcome them can help you affirm your choices and make each subsequent trigger a little easier to deal with. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you reenter life after addiction treatment.
Accentuate The Positive
It is vital that you remain alert and receptive to the things that help you to feel hopeful or positive. Practice recognizing moments of joy and memorializing them – writing them down or taking note of all of the circumstances to create a holistic memory. These are your tools and materials to build a life of positivity and the weapons and armor you have to combat triggering thoughts or events. Know where your positivity comes from, and set yourself up to take advantage of it – build it into your schedule as an inflexible obligation. You are doing this work in order to live your best life. You owe it to yourself to wrap yourself in the things that bring you joy.
Eliminate The Negative
Rehab gives you a distance and perspective rarely possible in your day-to-day life. It is possible you noticed some self-destructive or counterproductive behaviors in your life, and it’s possible you’ll become aware of even more as you reenter your life outside of rehab. Make a note of these things. Be as specific as you can. Remembering them and recognizing them when they occur is one of the best skill sets you can come out of rehab with. Once you’re conscious of the areas in your life that lead you into negative mental or emotional spaces, it will be much easier to recognize and avoid them. Premeditation also provides you with an opportunity to make a plan when you find yourself in a negative place. Know yourself well enough to know when you need help, and never be ashamed to reach out.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Bored
There’s a good reason behind the adage “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. Allowing yourself to get bored is a gateway to many dangerous places – loneliness, depression, anxiety, or restlessness – and all of these can end up dredging up old cravings or triggers. Try to build a schedule for your day so that you can always have an immediate responsibility, and keep a list of long term goals on hand as well – the kind of things you can ship away at little by little. You only get one life – fill the hours with things you care about and want to see come to fruition.
Let Yourself Rest
There’s a happy place between too busy and too bored. You don’t want to become sedentary but getting too busy and never stopping to rest can be equally as damaging to a person who is striving to maintain a new way of living. Embrace the in between. If someone is trying to recover from drug or alcohol addiction and they have just come home from an addiction recovery treatment center, it is important that they fill their lives and their time with the people and activities that make them feel safe, loved, supportive.
If an activity or person makes them feel anything less than confident mentally, physically, and emotionally cared for then it’s an activity that the person trying to maintain their sobriety should rethink. The quality of people and types of ways you spend your time will have a great impact on your success moving forward. But you also must allow yourself time to reflect, and care for your own emotional needs. If you are an introvert, allow yourself the time you need to rest and recoup your energy from the time you spend with people around you.
Regardless of if you are an extrovert or introvert be sure to get enough sleep. If someone isn’t resting enough they eventually begin to suffer from depressed cognitive functions. Create a dedicated bedtime and waking time in your schedule. Though this feels like such an elementary school child’s schedule, there is a reason we force this type of organized time blocking on a child. It makes the body well rested. A biological system wants to work on a clock, giving it the consistency it needs will make your body function better and will help you be in your right mind when temptations, triggers and cravings come knocking.
To get started down the path of ending an addiction with the help from a professional, contact us today – we’re ready to help as soon as you’re ready to quit.