What is an addiction
Addiction is a chronic disease that, after time, starts to affect the brain and the body. It is most commonly associated with alcohol, drugs, smoking, and gambling, but it’s possible to be addicted to almost anything.
It doesn’t only cause damage to a person both physically and mentally, but it can start to affect their personal life as well as the lives of those closest to them. The most common symptoms of addiction include a complete loss of control, with continued use of the substance despite serious consequences.
Luckily, addiction can now be prevented, treated, and controlled by rehab centres, healthcare professionals, and a supportive network of family and friends.
Why are some people more prone to addiction?
Years of research into addiction have proven that there is no one path to addiction. Rather, it tends to be a combination of biological, social, environmental, and economic factors that all play a part toward a person’s route toward substance abuse. Scientists have discovered a number of risk factors that can make a person more likely to struggle with addiction. These include:
- Genetic predisposition (having an addictive personality)
- Psychological factors (stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders)
- Environmental influences (childhood trauma, substance use or addiction in the family, exposure to popular culture references that encourage substance abuse)
- Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking at a young age
The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to struggle with substance abuse. However, that doesn’t mean that anyone can’t become an addict. Some drugs are highly addictive and using them on a daily basis can lead to addiction.
Can addiction be cured or prevented?
Everyone is capable of becoming addicted to something, but is there anything that a person can do to make this less likely to happen? Additionally, if a person does become addicted to drugs or alcohol, is there a cure?
Research-based prevention programs can reduce the early use of nicotine, drugs, and alcohol. These work to reduce a person’s risk factors. Programs can be delivered in schools, to vulnerable children and teenagers (such as those whose parents suffer from addiction) and to those who have already started using drugs or alcohol at a young age.
Many people who have experienced childhood trauma and mental health problems are likely to turn to illicit substances as a way to cope. Prevention comes in the form of educating people about mental health, thereby removing any stigma that is commonly associated with seeking help for depression, anxiety, and stress.
Managing substance abuse
While it’s not necessarily a cure, substance abuse can be treated. This takes a lifetime of hard work from the person who requires help, as well as those that are closest to them. As long as the person has the right support network, addiction can be managed and will no longer feel like a burden.
Here are some ways that a person with an addiction can improve their chances of fighting it:
- Practicing sobriety
If you want to overcome addiction the only way is to stop misusing the substance entirely, no matter what it is. Even if you feel as though you have your addiction under control, using the substance or practising the addictive behaviour again is likely to lead to relapse.
Addiction therapy is an integral part of recovery as it is almost impossible to battle an addiction alone. Therapy can help you to focus on long-term success and is almost an essential requirement for those who have used drugs or alcohol to cope with mental health issues. This is known as dual diagnosis.
- Seeking the right support
Having support from others is essential to a person’s overall recovery. These people will not only challenge you on potentially harmful behavior but will also be there to cheer you on when your recovery is going well.
A person struggling with substance abuse can find all of these things at a center for drug and alcohol rehab in London. A rehabilitation center is a stable environment that will remove an addict away from temptations, offering to counsel and peer support, and provide an effective aftercare program.