Addiction Studies

Understanding Addiction

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October 2019

Are You A Potential Addict?

 

Presenting the primary risk factors that are needed to be acknowledged to know whether you’re chances of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs are high.

 

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What’s Wrong With Society

 

While people are slowly adhering to the existence and prevalence of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, there’s still a lot of work that should be done for de-stigmatizing the perseverance of alcohol and substance abuse. Although a lot of open-minded people are now more understanding of the history and causes of mental illnesses, people who have a dependence on alcohol or drugs are often accused of personal illnesses. This notion is due to the belief that anyone who can “turn on” their addiction can turn it off.

 

This kind of conviction is immensely damaging because it suppresses an essential dialogue about addiction which then results in people not being properly educated to the fundamentals of the illness. Lack of understanding and awareness can lead to ignorance of the fact that you’re slowly succumbing closer and closer to becoming an alcoholic or a drug addict.

 

Primary Risk Factors

 

There are three discernable risk factors which can upsurge the likelihood of alcohol or drug dependence to develop and be a full-blown addiction.

 

  1. Pre-existing Mental Illness

 

To numb the pain and to silence the voices inside your head, you quickly pop a few pills or open a bottle of whiskey. People who have PTSD, depression, and anxiety sometimes divert their attention to negative coping mechanisms as a quick fix for their extreme mental and emotional distress. Depression is a mental illness frequently co-occurring with substance use,” says Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC.

 

If you currently have a mental disorder, you should be very mindful about the dosage of your pills and avoiding alcohol consumption. Studies show that people who have depression are three to four times more likely to become alcoholics than those who don’t have the condition.

 

  1. Impaired Stress Management Routines

 

Turns out, substance abuse, alcoholism, and chronic stress are all linked. Chronic stress can severely cause changes in the brain, making people more susceptible to addiction. Keep in mind that people manage stress differently, while others are swinging it, others may have a hard time keeping up that, for stress to be relieved, they result to excessive drinking and increased substance intake. According to Abby Aronowitz, PhD, the director of SelfHelpDirectives.com, “The key is how often you are feeling this sense of distress, how bad it gets, and how long it lasts; that is what can help determine the seriousness of your situation.”

 

Sometimes, it goes on immediate instinct to reach for a bottle of wine and drench in its goodness. Though this may not mean indulging in a glass or two of delicious chardonnay will automatically qualify you as an addict, but if you find yourself doing so in inopportune hours of the day, you have a high risk for getting addicted to its comforting, numbing feeling.

 

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  1. Family History

 

Heredity is not the only determinant of who has the highest tendency of leaning towards substance abuse; however, genetics is being accounted for relatively half the risk for addiction and alcoholism. While no particular gene has been pointed out to prompt addiction, researchers have indicated the significance of biological and genetic factors like a huge game-changer whether a person is likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.

 

Kids who grew up with members of the family suffering from addiction are potentially vulnerable to get addicted later in life. But this does not mean that you automatically get transformed into an addict just because you have siblings or parents who have been a substance or alcohol abusers. Your coping mechanism and healthy mindset still play a considerable factor in veering away from the condition.

 

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The bottom line is if you were able to pinpoint one or more risk factors currently occurring in your life and you feel like you’re slowly reaching for more pills or alcohol more often than you used to, talking to a healthcare professional is advised. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D., Drug addiction and alcohol addiction is usually not easily overcome on one’s own. Most people who face an addiction to a substance or alcohol need additional help.” Always be mindful of what you take and never be ashamed to ask for help.

 



Implicit And Insidious Signs That You’re Giving Into Prescription Drug Addiction

 

You don’t know what hit you before you’re too far gone.

 

Prescription drugs abuse and misuse are defined as the unintentional or intentional use of medication without a doctor’s prescription for wanting the feeling or experience it generates. According to data posted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there has been a significant rise in prescription drugs abuse, which leads to the increasing number of emergency cases mainly caused by drug overdose.

 

Furthermore, one in every five Americans has abused or misused prescription medicine at least once in their lives, but only one out of three will recognize the manifestations of the seething problem, which is extremely dangerous. Know more about the implicit and insidious signs to know if you have a pill problem.

 

 

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Intolerable Mood Changes

 

Experiencing irritability and depression due to controlled access to medications are some of the signs you have to watch out for. Depending on the substance being abused, you may begin to notice marked hyperactivity or extreme happiness followed by a “crash” where the mood becomes just the opposite,” says Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP. In the midst of struggling for more drugs, you are finding yourself not just yearning for the sake of physical relief but acquiring emotional stability as well. Your reasoning is now attuned to the idea that you are getting more than relief from pain, thereby significantly altering the way you perceive pain medications.

 

At this stage, you become so eager and excited for the next dose, finding yourself anticipating and counting down the minutes and hours until you take your pill. Your mind starts to fantasize about the euphoric feeling once you take your meds.

 

Aggressive Denial

 

The trouble with people is that we can easily see what’s wrong with others but are quick to turn down observations given to us. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D., Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist.” When people are oblivious to medication abuse, it becomes a breeding ground for addiction. The National Institute of Health has reported that Americans who are 12 years and older have abused prescription drugs which accounts for approximately 54 million of the entire population. However, not everyone seems to efficiently identify the manifestations of getting sucked into medication addiction even if the signs are quite distinct. Therefore, denial plays a massive role in the constant misuse of drugs. After all, how else are you supposed to accept something that you think does not exist?

 

Increased Tolerance Level

 

A person who still suffers from pain regardless of taking the maximum, medically-acceptable dose, is said to have reached his or her peak tolerance level; thus, causing the rise to a certain degree of obsession. One of the primary signs that a person is extending its dangerous tolerance level is when he or she has already depleted the pills even before the expected time of refill. Once you’ve peaked, you will feel giddy and anxious whether you will still be given more pills and are enraged by your doctor’s unwillingness to prescribe more than the acceptable dosage.

 

It is especially advised that teens be put under observation because they easily can gain access to leftover pills of their parents or grandparents and will go to great lengths just to suffice their addiction needs.

 

Doctor-Hopping

 

Because your physician refused to increase the number of pills or rejected your request to get an early refill, considering you’ve stretched to the maximum dosage, you will resort to “doctor-hopping.” Doctor-hopping or hospital-hopping involves visiting other doctors or emergency room hospitals with different make-believe complaints involving pain to obtain a sufficient amount of pills that your body demands just to feel satiated.

 

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Addiction can happen to anyone – whether you’re someone with a history of mental disorder or have gone through severe physical injury leading to chronic pain.  According to Steve Bressert, Ph.D., Abuse of alcohol or a substance (such as cocaine, nicotine, marijuana, etc.) is generally characterized by a maladaptive pattern of alcohol or substance use leading to significant impairment or distress.” Check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you notice that you have one or more signs stated above, it is best to talk to someone about your medication abuse before things get out of hand.

 



Recognizable Cautionary Signs That You’re Becoming An Alcoholic

 

 

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When everybody else is pointing out that there’s a brewing problem concerning your alcohol consumption, it’s high time to assess yourself with classic signs that can determine if you’re becoming addicted to the booze. Johnna Medina, Ph.D. said “According to the DSM-5, a “substance use disorder describes a problematic pattern of using alcohol or another substance that results in impairment in daily life or noticeable distress.”

 

Asking The Right Questions

 

  1. “Am I Becoming An Alcoholic?”

 

Probably the first question that would pop out from your head is if you’re getting hooked on the sultry, endearing taste of liquor. If somehow you’ve asked yourself countless times if you are an alcoholic, chances are, the answer is, “Yes.” People who bask in the company of one beer every night would ponder about it, similar to those who have “occasional drinks” but would end up crawling out the door or becoming a total mess.

 

The thing is, being an alcoholic has nothing to do with the amount of liquor that was consumed. Instead, it’s more on how a person’s affair is with drinking. When talking about alcohol abuse, there’s a continuum involved, and it’s not black and white. According to Mark Jacob, M.D. , You should know that while alcohol often causes a “good mood” at first, it is a central nervous system depressant. Its depressant effects can carry over into one’s mind, being a contributing factor to a person’s continuing depression.”

 

  1. “Can I Imagine My Life Without Drinking?”

 

If it has become difficult for you to answer a resounding, “Yes!” then you’re in big trouble. If you’ve considered alcohol to be part of your life and is something that cannot be omitted during special events or even during gatherings with family or friends, this is a statement that you have a drinking problem.

 

  1. “What Is The Ideal Amount?”

 

According to the dietary guideline set out by the US Department of Health and Human Services, moderate drinking for men is two drinks a day, and for women, it’s one drink a day. On the other hand, low-risk drinking can be defined with women not consuming more than three drinks on any given day and not more than seven a week. With men, low-risk drinking is not consuming four drinks on any given day and not more than 14 a week. Therefore, binge-drinking is anything more than four to five drinks within two hours and can last for months.

 

 

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The Signs

 

Whether you’re taking in too much or too little alcohol, if people start calling your attention about your alcohol intake or if you’re experiencing any of the following classic signs, this should serve as a warning to immediately get diagnosed and get treated.

 

You Can’t Stop Thinking About It

 

You obsess about the smell and taste of alcohol to the point that you always look forward to indulging yourself with a glass or two just to satisfy your yearning. When you’re thinking about when the next drink is going to happen while you’re working or spending quality family time, then you’re becoming a viable candidate. People who have established a healthy and normal connection with alcohol do not fantasize about alcoholic beverages in such a manner.

 

You Transform Into Someone You Barely Know

 

“You’ve changed,” is one of the most common observations that people around you would say. Addiction has a way to deviate people from their ethics and morals and can instantly transform them into thoughtless, reckless individuals who have no regard for other people’s feelings. Not acting as you used to when you weren’t in too deep with your relationship with alcohol is a red flag that you should not ignore.

 

You Want More, And You Can’t Seem To Stop

 

Think way back when you started drinking and compare it to your present level of consumption. Did it significantly change? How often are you drinking? The moment you find out that your drinking has gone up in six months or more, and if you’re finding it quite difficult to discontinue the habit, you’re entering a harmful level of alcohol addiction. The repeated broken promises of limiting alcohol intake are just one of the classic signs that you’re far down the rabbit hole.

 

 

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Seek Help

 

It’s never too late to seek professional guidance. But first, you must agree with the people around you while admitting to yourself that you indeed have an alcohol problem and you have to get treated so things won’t get worse. Even if you still have doubts that you have become a full-fledged alcohol addict, there are a lot of options that you can take into consideration to be in control of your brewing problem.

 

Still, if you wanted to assess your alcohol abuse personally, you can take a 30-day off from drinking any alcoholic beverage. If the abstinence becomes a struggle and you find yourself in a rut, is agitated, and is desperate to get just one drink, then it’s best to seek help. “Most addiction treatment is focused on helping a person overcome the addiction through psychotherapy,” quoted John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

 



Tips In Helping A Friend With Addiction

Having a friend who is suffering from addiction can be challenging. There are many things that you need to remember, especially when their personality starts to change. Most of the time, you will have better days together. However, there are also days when you would find it hard to deal with them. As such, you need to equip or give yourself with lots of patience and understanding. Aside from this, it is also crucial on your part to make an effort in establishing a more stable relationship with them. As much as possible, make an ultimate promise to yourself that you will never give up on them.

Build a solid, social-sober support network, and try to include people who also suffer from depressive disorders and are in recovery,” suggested  Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC, SAP, ADS and C.R. Zwolinski

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The Hidden Truth Behind The Reality Of Addiction

 

Counselors reveal secrets that they desperately want to share to those who are suffering from addiction or those who know one. Whether it’s alcohol, substance, or gambling addiction, consider the following crucial information as useful advice to take your life back.

 

 

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Addiction Happens Due To An Underlying Problem

 

When a person becomes an addict, it’s not because of the drugs or the booze but because of issues that are shoved underneath a rug. Although somehow psychological and biological elements are involved, focusing on healing or resolving the underlying problem that caused the obsession in the first place is more efficient. As what Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT  said, Alcoholics drink to ease their emotional pain and emptiness. Some try to control their drinking and may be able to stop for a while, but once alcohol dependency takes hold, most find it impossible to drink like nonalcoholics.”

 

Usually, drug and alcohol dependence are just by-products of a specific personal dilemma. To investigate what these issues are and address them once and for all, seeking the help of counselors is recommended.

 

 

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Telling Yourself That You’re Willing To Be Rehabilitated

 

Initially, the most crucial step towards rehabilitation is proclaiming that you are ready to come clean. After accepting the problematic reality that you are about to go into rigorous recovery, the next thing to do is to let those who love you and care about you know that you’ll be needing help to conquer the journey to self-healing.

 

Furthermore, by acknowledging your fate, you are required to get ready regarding your finances, insurance, and treatment centers. Of course, your counselor will provide suggestions on where you should admit yourself, but the decision is mainly up to you.

 

You’re Not Having A Regular Spa Day

 

For those who think that getting help and being admitted to treatment centers are similar to having weeks’ long relaxation at a luxurious spa, prepare to get disappointed. Getting well does not resemble a spa day. Although yoga, beach walks, and massage therapy are included in most treatments, the overall experience of being managed for addiction is one of the toughest challenges that one has to face.

 

Probably one of the hardest phases of the therapeutic process is when the addicts are asked to explore traumatic experiences in the past. This process will feel uncomfortable, unpleasant, and painful but it’s a process that one has to face. Treatment will only work to its fullest potential if the person is determined to work the path of adversity.

 

Relapses Are Normal

 

As previously stated, the process of getting better is not a walk in the park or for this case, a day at a spa. Just because you’ve decided to get treated doesn’t mean that you won’t be relapsing. A lot of addicts have relapsed not only once but twice or thrice. Don’t worry. Relapses are part of the healing process. There is no shame in accepting that you are gradually falling again and again and again to your addiction. And even if you’ve fallen dozens of times, it does not mean that you lost the battle. Get up, dust yourself, sleep on it, and in the morning, you try again. Stop wasting your time and energy crucifying yourself and instead be even more determined the next time.

 

You Are Only Lying To Yourself

 

Addiction is a pronounced condition that can quickly be pointed out by people around you even before you acknowledge that you do have a problem. Therefore, lying to your loved ones’ faces and denying that you are becoming a drug or substance enthusiast will not help your circumstance at all. The only person you’re fooling is yourself. By being honest that something’s wrong and acknowledging that you have been using prohibited drugs or finishing up bottles and bottles of alcohol because you want to repress what you feel is another vital step in efficient and assertive recovery.

 

You Won’t Be Transformed Into Someone New

 

You will still be the same old person but with better and healthier life choices. The moment you go into therapy and strictly follow the treatment plan, you are tapping into a part of yourself that is more nourishing, vigorous, and lively. Recovering from addiction will reinforce the testing of a person’s spirituality, but instead of emerging as somebody new, you will be more connected to that part of you that insists on becoming healthier. This just means that there is this part of you that has been concealed for a very long time that, yearning for peace and happiness. Engaging in some type of regular volunteer activity on at least a monthly basis, or just spending more time doing loving, kind things for the people in your life, helps get you out of your own head, creates well-being for others, and makes you feel good about yourself,” shares Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D.

 

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The Healing Process Is All On You

 

Remember, addiction is something that you’ve done to yourself and blaming someone else for the problem is never beneficial. Although there are instances that it’s really somebody else’s fault, leaning towards alcohol, drugs, or gambling was your choice.With that in mind, the focus of the treatment must only be on you because you cannot change other people but you can definitely do something about yourself. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D., “Recovery from addiction is more than possible, but requires a person’s strong commitment to change.”

 

It’s not what people do but how you react to what they do. The truth is, people who suffer from addiction usually have a disconnect between one’s self. When people are detached from themselves, they should first find themselves before being saved from addiction.




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