Although thousands of professionals struggle with addiction, many are ashamed to admit their problem. To people in high-pressure work environments, addiction can seem like a character flaw or sign of weakness. Their family and friends often share this view, thinking less of the addicted person for not having the willpower for overcoming addiction. It’s important in drug addiction rehab, then, to understand that addiction is not a personal failing, but a real disease medically proven to alter the victim’s brain.
Substances like drugs and alcohol create a mood altering euphoric state caused by the release of pleasure-causing chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. The brain adapts to this euphoric feeling by lowering the natural production of these chemicals in an attempt to reestablish equilibrium. If this goes on for long enough, the brain will become unable to feel pleasure normally, because it does not produce enough pleasure-causing chemicals—only drugs or alcohol will be able to make the addict feel pleasure, even if they know they are harming themselves and they should quit. After enough use, the brain will reduce the number of receptors for these chemicals, too, requiring increasingly larger dosages of drugs to feel the same effects. This vicious cycle can trap anyone and takes more than willpower to break.
Does this resonate with you? If you want more information on drug treatment, click here to speak with one of our trained staff.
Learning the truth about the nature of substance abuse and drug addiction rehab is an essential step to recovery. Addiction is not something that can be turned off with the flip of a switch—treatments like the 12-step program will inform patients and their families that recovery is a daily challenge. There will never come a day, no matter how much treatment one receives, that a recovering addict won’t want in some way to abuse substances. Like diabetes, addiction is an ever-present disease that must be managed daily. Even in the face of constant desire for drugs, addicts have to reaffirm their commitment to sobriety every day and undertake the difficult task of abstaining from a substance that once controlled their life. Only with a strong focus on education, for both the addict and their loved ones, can there be a true understanding of the struggles of living with and overcoming addiction.
The families of recovering addicts can be a crucial factor in determining whether their loved one stays on the path of sobriety or falls back into addiction. If they attend family education meetings, like those offered at the Ridge, they will learn that their addicted loved one is not a burnout, not a disappointment, and not a lost cause. While it is understandable to feel disappointed or betrayed when a loved one becomes addicted, an educated person will realize that addiction is a disease of which addicts are victims. What is most essential is acceptance, and love. If a family can accept their recovering loved one back into their hearts without judgment and with a willingness to help them recover however they can, their support will go a long way towards making sustained sobriety a reality.