Holding them accountable for their actions both during and after active addiction is important. Blaming yourself for working too much or too late is not the answer.
Who is to Blame for Your Loved One’s Substance Abuse Problem?
No one begins using drugs planning on becoming addicted. Because of this, no one is at fault for your loved one’s addiction, and there’s no one to blame. People from every different background fall into addiction. Some start by experimenting, while others are in pain and end up self-medicating, all without realizing that their drug use could turn to addiction.
You may want to blame yourself, but addiction can happen to anyone. Drugs like heroin, meth, prescription opioids and even Adderall exert a powerful physical hold over the body, more powerful than your loved one ever expected.
Breaking free of addiction is very difficult, and nothing is gained when you look for someone to blame. No matter how your loved one’s addiction began, the path to recovery still lies before them. It’s time to look for solutions rather than looking for someone to blame.
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Over 23 million people are in need of substance abuse treatment for illegal drugs.
Why Can’t They Just Stop Abusing Drugs & Alcohol?
Those who struggle with an addiction can’t stop until they inherently want to stop abusing drugs & alcohol. For many people, drug use is actually a poor solution to a deeper problem. They often don’t know how to deal with the other problems of their life, and the drugs allow them an escape. It’s easier to enjoy the pleasurable feelings that drugs can induce than to face up to their lack of coping skills or other problems in the real world.
In active addiction, they want to believe they’re in control and that they are doing drugs and alcohol because it makes their life fun and better. They often are able to successfully fool themselves into thinking that no one is aware of their addiction, and that they can handle it. The addiction itself fools them into believing that they’re not addicted.
Denial takes over: denial that they’re addicted, denial that their addiction is a problem, denial that they’re causing pain to their loved ones, denial that they’re actually out of control. On top of all that, the physical grip that drugs have in addiction can make it seemingly impossible to stop.
The Addicted Brain & the Disease Model of Addiction
In the past, most people assumed that only people whose character was inherently weak would become addicted. However, advances in science have shown the powerful physical hold that chemical dependence can have on the brain. This understanding is known as the “disease model” of addiction, under which addiction is rightfully studied as a disease.
Under the disease model of addiction, scientists agree that certain genetic and environmental factors can result in physical changes to the brain. Study of these factors has shown that the addicted brain suffers from a desensitization of its reward circuits; this results in the addict needing more and more drugs to get the same effect.
The addicted brain also suffers from a decline in the functioning of the neurological areas that govern decision-making and the ability to regulate one’s own behavior. As a result, addicts become trapped in their own inability to take positive steps regarding their addictions.
The disease model of addiction has opened the way for researchers to develop psychopharmacological solutions to drug addiction, with medical professionals now able to prescribe nonaddictive medications to help reduce the cravings that addicts have for drugs, thereby facilitating their treatment.
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Co-occurring Disorders and Self-Medicating: Getting to the Root of an Addiction & Treating it with Quality Care
Many addicted people actually suffer from mental health disorders in addition to their addictions. In many cases, the mental health disorder — whether it’s depression, anorexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety — is often at the root of the addiction.
When this occurs, the mental health disorder and the addiction tend to make each other worse. It can be hard to unravel which symptoms are caused by which disorder, in part because those with mental health disorders often turn to drugs in an attempt to self-medicate the underlying disorders
Self-medication can seem effective initially, but this only causes the patient to go deeper into drug addiction in an effort to escape from the symptoms of the mental health disorder. For example, someone experiencing clinical depression may take opioids to try to deal with the depression, only to find themselves dealing with even worse problems as they become tolerant to the drug, requiring higher doses and experiencing cravings for the drug.
Self-medication can also make the mental health symptoms worse or cause episodes to last longer.
People experience both mental health disorders and addiction are said to have co-occurring disorders. These dual disorders must be treated intensively at the same time to allow management of symptoms and to make recovery possible.
Continued Care for Success in Recovery: ABTRS’s IOP Aftercare
Once a patient has finished treatment, the journey to recovery is only beginning. Addiction is a chronic disease, and even those who have completed treatment successfully are subject to relapse. Staying well requires a long-term commitment to recovery and an enormous amount of perseverance.
The recovery journey is more effective when your loved one has people will come alongside them to help. At A Better Today Recovery Services, we are as devoted to aftercare as to our inpatient treatment programs, because we know how crucial it is to facilitating success.
Success, of course, looks different to each person. Does your loved one want to return to school or land a good job? Does success mean getting their children back from Child Protective Services? We help each patient develop their own concept of success, then provide them the tools they need to thrive as they work toward their new goals.
During our aftercare program, we focus on relapse prevention by providing the life skills needed to communicate in healthy ways, to set priorities and fulfill responsibilities, and to cope with the stresses that can lead to relapse. We have sober living facilities available for those who need them, and we provide both one-on-one and group therapy to help those in recovery walk through challenges and celebrate victories together.
How can we help your loved one conquer their substance abuse problem? Contact us today at A Better Today Recovery Services to help your loved one to take the next steps toward recovery.
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Sources You Can Depend on, Answers Worth Trusting In
At A Better Today Recovery Services, we believe that the research you do will directly impact you or your loved one’s future. That is why It is important to us that we provide our patients and their families with reputable resources to make these types of important decisions. We have crafted all our information, individualized treatment plans, practices, and reported substance abuse data on reliable resources. Our sources are not funded by organizations that could benefit from favorable outcomes, and proven or tested to be effective in the psychology or scientific community.
Below are the sources that we used, and we hope it helps you and your loved one just as much as it helped us. We want to continue to provide our patients and their families with reputable sources that are up to date and relevant.
NIDA. (2018, July 20). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction on 2019, February 20
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 47. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 06-4182. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 42. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 133992. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005.