When a person you know and love has a serious drug addiction, you may have trouble understanding why this has happened and how to help him or her. Drug addiction is considered a disease, but there are ways addicts can take control of their lives. If you are worried about your loved one, the best thing you could do is encourage him or her to seek professional help through a drug detox and treatment facility. Drug addiction is a disease, and here are several things you should understand about this.
Why It's Considered a Disease
Drug addiction is considered to be a chronic disease for two main reasons:
It is incurable—Most professionals believe that once a person is an addict, he or she will always be an addict. This does not mean the person will always be using the drug, but it does mean that the person will always have the potential to turn right back to it, and this is referred to as relapsing.
It is often a genetic issue—Addictions can occur for many reasons, but experts believe that genetics plays a huge role in this. In fact, genetics accounts for 50% of the risk that a person will become addicted if he or she uses drugs or alcohol.
Trying to convince a person that he or she needs help may be difficult, but it could be the only way to help the addict break free from the drug addiction.
It Takes More Than Willpower to Break the Addiction
Breaking an addiction takes more than making the decision to do so, and it usually takes more than using your own willpower to make it happen, and this is primarily because an addict's brain changes from drug use.
The use of drugs interferes with the brain's transmission of neurons and chemicals. As the brain receives drugs, it often begins to stop making chemicals that control moods, happiness, and contentment. When this happens, the person will often need to use drugs just to feel normal. The more this occurs, the more drugs a person may need to take just to feel like a normal person and to function throughout the day. Drugs basically target the person's reward system, and this is why it is so hard to stop an addiction with willpower alone.
It's also important to realize that there can be major withdrawal symptoms after stopping a drug. Part of these symptoms make the addict feel sad and depressed, and this is due to a lack of feel-good chemicals in the brain, but there are other reasons this occurs. A person that is addicted to drugs has trained his or her body to need them. Without them, the person may feel nauseous and experience headaches. He or she may become very restless, and some people even have hallucinations during this time.
Professional & Lifelong Treatment Is the Best Option
Trying to handle the task of breaking an addiction alone is not the best option for a drug addict. Professional treatment facilities are great at helping addicts make it through the drug detoxification process with as little pain and suffering as possible. They are also great at counseling addicts so they can understand how addictions form, how they work, and how they affect others.
After treatment is complete at a rehab facility, a person will have a better chance of staying clean if he or she continues getting treatment for the addiction. This may involve attending counseling each week, or it might involve taking part in addiction recovery groups.
If you would like to help your loved one break free from the addiction he or she has, contact centers like Evergreen Recovery Centers.