Strictly speaking, an addiction is a chronic dependency on that the body develops towards a substance, drug, food or chemical in order to simulate the feeling of normalcy. At times this is not as simple as it sounds; what the body deciphers as necessary for life may itself be the very thing that destroys it. Take for instance; drug addiction (which sometimes clinically differs from drug dependency) happens when the body craves the ingestion of a drug in order to diminish its heightened sense of anxiety and when this drug of choice is ingested, inhaled or injected into the blood stream, a sense of calm and serene satisfaction blankets the body and the craving subsides. Drug addiction to such potent drugs as heroin, opium, cocaine and methamphetamines, is one of the most dangerous and potent killers in today’s society and there are various ways in which it can be treated but before we examine that, let us explore why it starts.
Most drug addicts get into drug use after experiencing some traumatic experience such as the death of a loved one, an accident, the loss of an important relationship or even after learning of the existence of a terminal illness. The addict then goes into a state of denial where he or she needs an additive in order to “cope” with life. Initially, the addict rationalizes that he or she is able to keep the drug usage under control. Sometimes the drug, such as methamphetamine, will promise the user an ecstatic high that blankets the present pain of living and offers a thrill that surpasses all else that the addict has ever known and in so doing attempts to numb reality. Once the addict has solidly settled into regular drug use, the body chemical balance is altered to where it needs the drug in ever increasing amounts in order to produce the same high. At this point, the addict is overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness and no longer has any control. It is at this juncture that he or she needs immediate help. Let us examine the treatment for drug addiction.
Rationally Coping with Cravings
Many rehab clinics use cognitive-behavioral therapy to help patients stay sober once they leave their treatment facilities. These therapies teach addicts to relieve their negative emotions with logical thinking. This is a crucial skill, since emotional problems are so often the cause of drug abuse, addiction, and relapse. Addicts’ abilities to determine their own emotions are also important because control issues are often the root causes of addictions.
Avoiding Addiction Triggers
Every addict has personal addiction triggers – people, places, and physical objects which exacerbate their drug cravings. One of the best ways to avoid relapse is to avoid these triggers altogether.
For many addicts, the difficulty in avoidance lies in determining their personal triggers. During individual counseling sessions, addicts work with rehab specialists to make these discoveries so that they can successfully manage their cravings throughout life.
For other substance abusers, avoidance can be difficult to practice because of certain life circumstances. Rehab patients may have friends who still use drugs, stressful careers which induce cravings, or tough financial situations which produce chronic anxiety and compulsions to drink. Large lifestyle changes are often necessary to avoid these triggers.
Rehab patients often find their recoveries frustrated by anxiety, paranoia, and other high-stress emotional states. It is essential that addicts learn to calm themselves to mitigate the craving-inducing effects of these emotions. Meditation, prayer, and venting to close friends are useful relaxation techniques encouraged during rehab. Even vigorous exercise can provide relaxation because it signals the body to produce.