Four Addiction Facts that May Surprise You
Addiction is characterized by three qualities: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing its use despite the consequences. This applies not only to substance abuse, but also activities, such as gambling. All types of addiction can completely disrupt your life and cause devastating results.
Most everyone knows that addictions are harmful. However, the following facts about addiction may surprise you:
- Addiction is unpredictable; it can happen to anyone at any time. Most people believe that addiction only occurs in people who are weak-willed or in people who have family members who struggle with addiction. The reality is that anyone can develop an addiction. For example, many individuals become addicted to prescription medications while taking them under the supervision and advice of a physician, including high school and college athletes, healthcare professionals, babysitters, and senior citizens.
- Many addicts suffer from co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are defined as having two or more mental health conditions at the same time. Several examples of co-occurring disorders include addiction along with: anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression.
- Relapse happens to many people during recovery. It is not uncommon to have a rough start or a stop and start beginning to addiction recovery. Addiction relapse does not mean that a person has failed, but rather that their individual treatment plan needs to be monitored and potentially revised. Many people, for example, go to residential treatment too short a period of time to get a good hold on recovery or stop doing their aftercare plan once they start to feel better. No matter what the reason for relapse, it’s important to quickly get back to your recovery plan to minimize the negative consequences of relapse.
- Addiction is not simply a disease that can be treated. Addiction is not like a cut that’s completely gone once it has healed. The recovering addict will learn to control triggers and make better choices, but once the brain has been changed by addiction, there is no undoing those modifications. Recovery is a lifetime of rebuilding the brain and improving the decision-making process.
It takes courage and strength to face up to any type of addiction. Recovery is a process that takes time, but help is available at all points in the process. With determination and effort, recovery is possible. Seek help now to build the life you knew you were always meant to live.