Acknowledging The Problem
Nobody wakes up one morning and decides to become an addict. Addictions start out as single acts or behaviours which then become habit. By the time this habit has become a dependency, most people haven’t even realised that they have developed an addiction.
For many people, they believe that taking part in an addictive behaviour or substance is something that they have full control over, and that they can stop anytime they want, or they think that they aren’t ‘the type’ to become addicted.
In reality, anyone can become addicted to something and it isn’t always easy to tell when you have. This is especially true with behavioural addictions such as eating, exercise, sex and shopping. These are all seen as ‘normal’ everyday activities and it can be hard to establish the difference between habit and addiction.
Addiction can be broken down into four stages: Trigger, Avoidance, Substitution and Repetition.
The trigger of an addiction is either an external action or internal thought that triggers strong feelings. These actions or feelings are most likely negative, and can be difficult to face or resolve alone. Some triggers could include stress from work, a traumatic experience or a hard breakup.
Instead of facing up to these hard-to-deal-with triggers, the feelings or actions will be pushed aside or avoided.
The positive feelings evoked by substances or behaviours will be used to replace those negative emotions. This is of course a quick fix and does not solve the problem long term, but rather takes the focus away from it for a short time.
If these actions are repeated as a way to keep putting off having to deal with the negative emotions or actions and they start to become a dependency, then an addiction begins.
If someone has had an addiction for a long time, their initial trigger may no longer affect them but by the time they have learned to cope with it, the repetitive behaviour is ingrained and it becomes too hard to stop. New triggers may even be developed, such as the sight of an attractive looking bar or seeing other people enjoying the effects of drugs.
If you believe that you have an addiction, you have already acknowledged the problem which is the first step towards overcoming it.
Making the Decision to Get Help
Once you have acknowledged that you have an addiction, you can make the decision to begin the process to stop. Usually, those struggling with an addiction realise they need to make a change when it begins to impact them financially, puts strain on relationships or puts their work at risk. Unfortunately for some people with more serious addictions, these factors aren’t enough to make them want to change.
If you find yourself struggling financially, emotionally and/or physically as a result of your addiction, you should set yourself a goal. Whether this goal is to quit cold turkey or to get help from a treatment centre such as Acquiesce, they should be realistic and achievable. Setting yourself the goal to quit overnight is not realistic nor a healthy expectation. Understanding the way your addiction works is important in knowing what you can manage.
Beating an Addiction Safely
If you are addicted to a substance such as alcohol or cocaine, going cold turkey could result in failure or, in some circumstances, be harmful. This is because of the withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting addictive substances. These can include:
- Low mood or mood swings
- Sleep deprivation
- Aches and pains
- Delirium Tremens (rare)
Due to the way in which your body can become dependent on drugs and alcohol, cutting off the supply too quickly could result in more extreme withdrawal symptoms including seizures and even life threatening syndromes such as Delirium Tremens. Not only are these risks harmful, but you are also more likely to start using the substance again if the withdrawal symptoms are too intense and you are unsupervised. This is called a relapse.
How to Get the Right Help
It is recommended by the NHS that you seek professional help from a treatment centre when quitting something you are addicted to. At Acquiesce, we can arrange a detoxification placement for you which supervises the quitting process and the withdrawal that follows, helping you to manage the symptoms and avoid a relapse.
We also understand that overcoming a drug addition isn’t always about battling the physical difficulties, but that addiction can derive from a psychological trigger that a detox alone cannot resolve. That is why we have different programmes to help target the physical, psychological, spiritual and social sides of your addiction using the latest evidence based interventions, alternative therapies and activities, delivered by our highly trained and experienced team. These include a combination of the 12 Steps and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which compliment each other excellently.
The 12 Step Programme has introduced long term support to many people. It uses 12 steps that allow individuals to learn and live by a new code of behaviour to aid their recovery. The steps support the person to accept that they have a problem and recognise that there is a solution. It helps them look at mistakes made in the past and how to make amends for them.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy includes SMART Recovery, psychological interventions and positive psychology. These support an individual to gain skills, tools and resources to manage their addiction practically in the real world on a day-to-day basis.
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