Addiction recovery stories are always encouraging to hear. They all share one common trait – no two are alike. Everyone has a different path to recovery.
Addiction is a disease – that’s a fact that’s no longer disputed, but taking that first dose, that first hit, was a choice – and that’s all people seem to focus on sometimes. As mindsets have started to change, people are starting to understand the grasp of addiction. In the video below, Brandon Novak tells his story. To us, it sounds very similar to the stories we hear every day at TDRC. So what’s so different between humans who suffer addiction? The biggest difference is what finally triggers them to seek help. For some, they have to hit a low – a point at which they are triggered to take measure of their situation and seek help. Unfortunately, many addicts who finally do accept help fail to recognize that their addiction has changed how their brain functions. An addict’s brain needs to be re-trained to fight the cravings of addiction and that can only happen over time. A person who has been addicted for 20 years is NOT going to be cured after 90 days in Rehab – the statistics don’t lie.. In reality, a successful addiction recovery program means Rehab/Detox, followed by outpatient treatment and/or sober living for 9 months to a year, followed by weekly meetings, sponsor phone calls, support groups and so on. The recovery process can take years before the cravings subside to a point where only light maintenance is required. New developments in medication assisted treatment continue to show promise in breaking the cycle of addiction. While many in society tend to look as those who are afflicted with these addictions as perpetrators rather than victims, this does nothing to help convince addicts that help is available if they were to ask for it. It might be hard for a friend or a loved one to ask for help, but when it’s needed, it’s a life or death situation. It ends up being a lifelong monkey on one’s back, one that is always there, hiding, waiting for a moment of weakness. Rehab centers and substance abuse treatment centers also agree that no single treatment model is appropriate for everyone, which is why The District Recovery Community places so much weight on an individualized program for drug and alcohol addiction treatment plan for every client. We believe effective treatment should address the client’s addiction history, as well as his or her current:
- Physical and Mental Health conditions
- Social Situation
- Pre-existing medical or emotional trauma
- Physical, mental or sexual abuse
- Family Dynamics
- Home/Living Conditions
- Vocational Needs
Addiction Knows No Socioeconomic Boundaries
Rich or poor, young or old, addiction can effect anyone. Some addictions start innocently enough, through prescriptions of needed pain killers. In some cases, from anti-depressant medication. Antidepressant dependence is a state of adaptation caused by regularly taking a medication where a specific withdrawal syndrome can be produced by abrupt discontinuation of use or rapid dose reduction. Antidepressant addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors that influence its development and manifestation. It is characterized by behaviors that include at least one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. Drug addiction is a treatable disease, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, but relapse is common. Doctors generally do not consider antidepressants to be addictive in the traditional sense. Antidepressants can absolutely can cause physical dependence as evidenced by the withdrawal symptoms stopping or reducing antidepressants can cause. People who suddenly stop taking antidepressants often have withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, hand tremors and depression. However, very few people give up their daily responsibilities to find anti-depressants because the reward is not big enough; there is no euphoric rush of dopamine from taking antidepressants. There are no cravings, no hazardous behaviors, no examples of prolonged addictive behavior for antidepressants.
Signs of Addiction
If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs, it’s time to take action. It’s time to confront the issue and examine just how deep the problem goes. In many cases, a person who is showing even one sign of addiction is probably hiding many other signs of addiction.
- You keep taking a drug after it’s no longer needed for a health problem.
- You need more and more of a substance to get the same effects (called “tolerance”), and you can take more before you feel an effect.
- You feel strange when the drug wears off. You may be shaky, depressed, sick to your stomach, sweat, or have headaches. You may also be tired or not hungry. In severe cases, you could even be confused, have seizures, or run a fever.
- You can’t stop yourself from using the drug, even if you want to. You are still using it even though it’s making bad things happen in your life, like trouble with friends, family, work, or the law.
- You spend a lot of your time thinking about the drug: how to get more, when you’ll take it, how good you feel, or how bad you feel afterward.
- You have a hard time giving yourself limits. You might say you’ll only use “so much” but then can’t stop and end up using twice that amount. Or you use it more often than you meant to.
- You’ve lost interest in things you once liked to do.
- You’ve begun having trouble doing normal daily things, like cooking or working.
- You drive or do other dangerous things (like use heavy machines) when you are on the drug.
- You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs.
- You hide the drug use or the effect it is having on you from others.
- You’re having trouble getting along with co-workers, teachers, friends, or family members. They complain more about how you act or how you’ve changed.
- You sleep too much or too little, compared with how you used to. Or you eat a lot more or a lot less than before.
- You look different. You may have bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakes or tremors, frequent bloody noses, or you may have gained or lost weight.
- You have a new set of friends with whom you do drugs and go to different places to use the drugs.
- You go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same drug or problem.
- You look in other people’s medicine cabinets for drugs to take.
- You take prescribed meds with alcohol or other drugs.
Brandon’s Story is like many addiction recovery stories we’ve heard – too many, in fact. The scariest part is when he discussed the three possible outcomes of addiction.