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The Basics of Addiction and How to Overcome It

What is the Importance of Relapse Prevention Programs

Addiction is a complex and serious issue affecting millions of people worldwide.

Although many individuals associate addiction with substance abuse, it can also refer to other behaviors that impede someone’s ability to function in daily life.

Keep reading to explore the basics of addiction, including the science behind it and how addiction counseling works!

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a physical or psychological dependence on a behavior, activity, substance, or drug that has become so strong that it interferes with daily life.

When someone has an addiction, they have difficulty controlling their urges and find it difficult to stop using the substance or engage in the behavior even with negative consequences.

What is the Science of Addiction?

When something pleasurable happens, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine that creates feelings of pleasure and enjoyment.

However, when someone abuses drugs, their brain is flooded with excess dopamine, which can lead to a physical dependence on the substance.

The changes addiction causes in the brain can impact a person’s ability to control their impulses, judgment, and decision-making skills.

The individual may continue to use the substance even when they know it is harming their body or causing problems in their personal and professional life.

Addiction Before and After

Before addiction takes hold, the behavior or substance of choice may have provided some enjoyment or temporary relief from stress.

However, over time, the individual relies on the substance or behavior to cope with negative emotions or situations, leading to a loss of control.

Once addicted, the individual may experience changes in their physical, emotional, and mental health.

They may struggle with withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit using the substance, ranging from mild discomfort to severe medical issues.

Addiction can also cause a person to become socially isolated, as they may prioritize their addiction over spending time with loved ones or participating in activities they once enjoyed.

What is the Difference between Recreational Use and Addiction?

Recreational use of a substance is when an individual consumes it for pleasure without the intention to become addicted.

This type of consumption rarely leads to abuse or dependence on the drug.

On the other hand, addiction is characterized by compulsive and continual substance use, despite any adverse consequences of using the drug.

Addiction can lead to physical and mental health issues and damage relationships and finances. Addiction requires professional help to overcome it.

How Common is Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Drug and alcohol addiction is a real problem in the United States, affecting millions.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2020, approximately 21 million people over 12 reported a substance abuse disorder.

Prescription drug addiction is also an issue, with approximately 2 million people misusing prescription opioids in 2019.

Additionally, more than 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year.

This makes it one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States.

What are the Basics of Addiction Counseling?

Addiction counseling is addiction treatment that helps individuals overcome addictive behaviors and establish a healthy, sober lifestyle.

There are several types of addiction counseling, including:

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy addresses the root causes of addiction and develops coping mechanisms to avoid relapse.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The therapist may use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other evidence-based treatments to help individuals change their thoughts and behaviors around addiction.

Group Therapy

Group therapy involves meeting with individuals who are also struggling with addiction.

The group provides a safe space to share experiences, offer support, and learn from one another’s successes and failures.

Family Therapy

Family therapy addresses the impact of addiction on the family.

Professional works with the family to develop healthy communication patterns, set boundaries, and establish a plan for supporting the individual in recovery.

What Other Treatment Programs Are Available?

Besides counseling, several other forms of addiction treatment are available.

  • Detox is a medical process where the body rids itself of the substance and manages withdrawal symptoms.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment treats clients with mental health and substance abuse disorders. 
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) involves managing cravings and withdrawal symptoms during recovery.
  • Residential treatment centers offer structured programs with around-the-clock monitoring for those with severe addictions who need intensive care.
  • Outpatient rehab programs are flexible and typically involve individual or group counseling sessions.
  • Aftercare is essential to addiction treatment, as it provides long-term support for those in recovery. It often includes aftercare meetings, sober living homes, and other resources to ensure continued progress toward sobriety.

Principles Recovery Understands the Basics of Addiction Treatment

At Principles Recovery, we understand the basic principles of addiction treatment.

We provide a comprehensive approach to treating substance abuse, including counseling, detox, partial hospitalization, and alumni care.

Our staff provides life-saving care and resources to ensure continued progress on your journey.

From the initial assessment through aftercare, our team is here to support you every step of the way.

We can help you develop healthy coping strategies, build a robust support system to sustain your recovery, and learn how to handle triggers and cravings.

Contact our admissions staff today to learn how we can help you or a loved one on the path to sobriety.

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