Addiction Explained: How to Identify, Treat, and Understand Addictive Behavior in Individuals
Unlike a monster creeping under a child’s bed late at night, drug addiction is one of the most cunning, seductive, and paralyzing forces on the planet in our current era. But, it doesn’t badger a person with fear or crippling anxiety. Instead, it entices them by playing off of their weaknesses and promises nirvana that seems never-ending.
However, the individual soon begins to realize that the party is coming to an end. Getting intoxicated isn’t fun anymore and certain aspects of life have begun to fall apart. Taking a look at the damage, the person often wonders how he or she got to this point. From an outside perspective, people don’t know what caused this bout of drug addiction, or how to treat it going forward.
For those individuals that want to understand the root of addiction and how it plagues the lives of addicts, the following information should be illuminating.
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Addictive behavior, by definition, is when the desire for a substance is so strong that harmful consequences are ignored in order to attain a specific state of euphoria. In alcoholics, this may present itself as the need for a drink even when the user knows that their health, finances, and friendships are hanging on by a strand.
Similarly, for those who find themselves in the throes of drug addiction, their life may be put on hold in exchange for their substance of choice. Family, friends, responsibilities, finances and romantic connections are all the currency they use as an exchange for temporary relief from their everyday lives.
Much in the same way that a storm shows a gray sky as a sign of things to come, addictive traits have symptoms that can provide a forecast for a person’s future.
Here is a list of commonly-experienced side effects that come as a result of substance abuse or addiction:
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Increased substance intake
- Stealing money, items, and valuables
- Loss of responsibility
- Bouts of paranoia
- Shady behavior
Each of these is indicative that something may be going wrong in someone’s life. If the person can begin to notice a change in their behavior within a short period of time, it may be time to reach for help. Failure to acknowledge these warning signs can be a crucial mistake that can lead to devastating consequences.
Thousands are Fighting this Common Enemy
When a person realizes they are an addict, the sense of being alone in the world is overwhelming. The reality is that the opposite is true. There are thousands of individuals that are fighting day in and day out against this common enemy.
In fact, the population of people that are struggling with addictive behavior and substance abuse has grown in the United States by 500% over two decades. Not only are addicts not alone, but they stand within a realm of people that are putting on a brave face every day and tackling their addiction head-on.
Of these, over 20 million say that they’ve developed an addiction to marijuana. In a sense, these users rely on the substance as a means of combating certain elements of their day or easing anxiety, but they’ve lost themselves within the consumption. Sadly, every year, over 500,000 individuals die from their addictions.
What Can Be Done?
With statistics like this, it’s easy to think that trying to become clean is a hopeless cause, but there is hope. Awareness of the precursors to addiction helps a person discover whether he or she is predisposed to addictive behavior.
For instance, abused children are at risk of substance abuse to deal with mental anguish derived from the experience. According to Psychology Today, people that have experienced sexual abuse in the past are 1.5 times as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Similarly, individuals that struggle with bipolar disorder, depression, and personality disorders may also find themselves more likely to turn towards substance abuse as a way to relieve their pain.
Although some people are more susceptible to these problems, it does not have to dictate their fate. When a person understands their weaknesses, they can turn them into strengths. With the help of a treatment program such as Caring Hands Recovery, a person can develop the skills and confidence to tap into their inner strengths. Then, they learn how to use those skills to maintain a lifetime of freedom from drug addiction.