How to Overcome Substance Addiction
Drug addiction has quickly become an epidemic in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans use illicit drugs or prescription drugs improperly on a regular basis. People tend to abuse opioids most of all. Many assume that only irresponsible people become addicted to drugs, but that isn’t the case. In fact, people often don’t know how to overcome substance addiction.
Doctors prescribe opioids with noble intentions. After an accident or a surgery, their patients take these medications to ease their moderate-to-severe pain. Eventually the original dose stops working as effectively as it did at first. This is when patients commonly start to take more of it or taking it more often than they should. This leads to a drug addiction that can seem uncontrollable.
Fortunately, there are effective evidence-based treatments to help patients overcome substance addiction. It’s important to do it the right way, so you’re physically and mentally stable throughout the process. The following guide explains what you need to know about overcoming substance addiction.
You Should Not Try to Overcome Substance Addiction Alone
Many people feel shame and embarrassment over a substance addiction. They don’t want others to judge them for becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. So, they commonly try to overcome substance addiction on their own. This can be dangerous, as there’s no way to predict how the body will respond to the detox process.
In other words, it can be physically dangerous to detox on your own. That’s because detox often causes major withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms typically start occurring within 24 hours of you last using. They often include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, muscle cramps and more. There are many people who become dangerously dehydrated as they detox because their body loses so much fluid when they get sick.
Psychological withdrawal symptoms occur when you detox, as well. They include aggravation, anxiety, hallucinations, and insomnia. Many people find that when they go days without sleeping, they start to see things that aren’t there. Consequently, hysteria can kick in, which often results in one hurting himself or someone else. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek professional help when you’re ready to overcome substance addiction.
Medicated Detox Can Make It Easier to Overcome Substance Addiction
A drug treatment facility is your best option when you are ready to detox. There are medications that a qualified addiction doctor can prescribe to make the process easier.
- Methadone – Methadone minimizes the withdrawal symptoms to make detoxing more manageable. Patients can take it for weeks, months or even years, if needed. It is designed to not only help with the withdrawal symptoms, but also to reduce the powerful cravings that come with detoxing. This can make it easier to resist relapsing in the future.
- Clonidine – When you are in the treatment facility, the staff can administer Clonidine to make you more comfortable during detox. Clonidine eases the muscle aches, cramping and sweats that you may experience. It has no effect on the substance cravings, though. Doctors often prescribe it in conjunction with other medications to better the chances of success.
- Buprenorphine and Naloxone – Buprenorphine is designed to help minimize the length of time you have to endure withdrawal symptoms. Doctors prescribe it with naloxone to decrease the chances of addiction to the medication or an overdose. Naloxone significantly reduces the risk of abuse of the medication because it only allows so much to be absorbed at one time.
Continuing Care is Essential to Sobriety
Detox is just the first step for someone who wants to overcome substance addiction. In fact, it’s a chronic disease that one needs to manage for the rest of his or her life. Adequate time spent in an evidence-based treatment program is where the work and healing truly begin.
While you are in the treatment program, take advantage of the tools that are available to you. Use therapy sessions to discover the root of your addiction and your triggers. As a result, you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms for when you feel the urge to relapse after treatment.
Your addiction therapist can also help you develop an aftercare plan for life in recovery after treatment. Build healthy friendships with others in recovery and stay active in support groups, such as the 12-step program.
According to the MayoClinic, joining a recovery group can help because you have others to talk to regularly. You can discuss what is going on in your life in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. The group can also serve as a practice in accountability. If you’re ready to overcome substance addiction and build a life in recovery, contact us today.