Recovery from Addictions
Individuals who are struggling with an addiction are not alone. According to research from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 40.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 14.5 percent) had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year.
This included 28.3 million who had alcohol use disorder, 18.4 million who had an illicit drug use disorder, and 6.5 million people who had both alcohol use disorder and an illicit drug use disorder.
Addiction Treatment at Turning Point of Tampa
For over 35 years, we have been helping people recover from many types of addictions. At Turning Point of Tampa, we believe that the daily application of a 12-Step program is the answer for alcoholics, addicts, and those suffering from eating disorders.
Our treatment center offers the structure and guidance of a 12-Step program, plus the addition of therapy, psychiatric evaluation, and care, as well as other disciplines of treatment. We are committed to providing high quality care and continually evaluate industry research, as well as our own data, so we can improve and develop the most effective programs available today.
What is Substance Use Disorder?
Substance use disorder (SUD) is a condition in which a person struggles to control his or her use of a substance despite negative consequences. These substances may include alcohol, opioids, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs.
People with SUD may continue to use the substance even when they know that it is causing harm to them or those around them. SUD may also affect one’s ability to function in daily life.
What causes Substance Use Disorders and Addiction?
There are many factors that can influence whether or not someone develops a substance use disorder or addiction. Having more than one risk factor can also increase the likelihood of addiction. Some common triggers that influence substance abuse include:
- Family History Individuals who come from families with addiction problems are more likely to also develop an addiction. Genetics can influence the development of an addiction and can speed up the progression.
- Mental Health Conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can influence whether someone may become addicted to drugs. People with mental illness may use drugs as a way of coping with painful feelings, such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Repeated use over time can lead to addiction.
- Stressful Home Life including family conflict, lack of bonding with a family member, and lack of parental supervision can increase risk of substance use. Stressful situations can lead an individual to rely on drugs or other substances to cope.
- Peer Pressure can influence one’s use of drugs or alcohol and can contribute to one starting drugs or misusing them. Peer pressure is especially common in young people.
- Early Use can change how drugs affect someone. Drug use at an early age can cause changes to a developing brain and can increase the possibility of addiction.
- Addictiveness of Drug can affect whether a person becomes addicted. Some drugs, such as stimulants, cocaine, or opioids, are highly addictive and more likely to lead to an addiction.
How do Drugs Impact Health?
Drug addictions can significantly impact a person’s health and lead to the development of other chronic diseases. Drugs can lead to not only negative mental and physical consequences but also to decreased quality of life and relationships.
Substance abuse can lead to chronic diseases such as lung disease, heart disease, stroke, or overdose. Some long-term physical effects of drug addiction include:
- Heart damage, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, and heart attack caused by stimulant use.
- Respiratory problems such as chronic infections and diseases from drugs that are smoked or inhaled.
- Slowed breathing from opioids.
- Kidney damage or kidney failure from heroin, ketamine, or synthetic cannabinoids
- Liver disease, inflammation, scarring, and liver failure from chronic drug or alcohol abuse
- Stokes and high blood pressure caused by heavy alcohol consumption, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or other drugs
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use and other mental health conditions often co-exist. Sometimes, mental issues may occur prior to the start of drug use and some people may use drugs as a way to alleviate their symptoms.
However, whether concerns arise before or after drug use, the use of drugs can often worsen mental disorders and create more problems. Some mental disorders that can be triggered or worsen with drug use are depression, anxiety, panic, paranoia, and suicidal ideation.
Impact on life and relationships
Drug use can significantly impact people’s lives and relationships. Drug use can lead to poor work or school performance, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, lack of motivation, and increased impulsivity or risk-taking behaviors.
Drug addiction can also negatively impact family relationships and other personal relationships. People with addiction may become overwhelmed with drug cravings and the need to obtain and use the drug. This can lead to less time and energy put into maintaining relationships.
Other factors of addiction that may affect relationships include secrecy about the drug use, potential trust issues, development of anger or aggression, enabling of loved ones, and codependency.
Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction
Recognizing some of the signs of drug addiction can help determine if the person suffers from addiction and needs help. Some common signs of addiction include:
- Continued use of drug after it’s no longer needed for a health problem
- Increased tolerance and need to take more to achieve the same effects
- Having intense cravings for the drug
- Maintaining supply of the drug
- Spending money on it even when the person cannot afford it
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies or lack of responsibility to work or family
- Continuing use despite problems it may be causing
- Failed attempts to stop use of drug
- Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea, chills or fever
Recovery from Drug Addiction
Drug abuse can create changes in the brain that cause intense cravings and a strong desire to use that may make sobriety seem impossible. But addiction recovery is not an impossible goal. Many people relapse and struggle with addictions, but recovery is always possible with the right treatment and support.
According to the Recovery Research Institute, recovery is defined as “a process of improved physical, psychological, and social well-being and health after having suffered from a substance-related condition.”
This definition shows the importance of looking at the whole person in the treatment and recovery process because drug addiction affects not only the physical aspects of one’s life but also the mental and social aspects.
The First Step to Recovery
The first step towards recovery is recognizing the addiction and deciding to make a change. This is often one of the hardest steps and it is normal to feel conflicted about your decision. Recovery takes time, dedication, and support but by taking this step you can begin to regain control of your life.
Other changes that a person may need to make when deciding to begin recovery and maintain sobriety include changes to:
- the way stressful situations are handled
- people included in your life
- activities done during free time
- how a person perceives themselves
- the medications taken
When deciding to begin the recovery process, a person should remind themselves why they are doing this and the positive effects it will have on their life.
Drug Addiction Treatment Steps
After making the decision to get help, a person can start to look at treatment options. Treatment facilities can offer help for drug treatment and recovery. Effective treatment for addictions will usually include detoxification, medication, behavioral therapies, and long-term follow-up care.
Detoxification and Medications
Detoxification is usually one of the first steps of addiction recovery in treatment programs. This step involves clearing the drugs from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms.
Medications are often used in addiction treatment to help with withdrawal symptoms and detoxification. Research studies have shown that medication should be the first step when treating opioid addictions (such as addictions to heroin or prescription pain medication). Medication can also be helpful in the treatment of alcohol or nicotine addictions.
Behavioral therapies are another normal part of recovery. They can help a person find the root causes of their drug use, provide tools and coping skills, and help repair relationships with friends and family members. Different types of treatment services include individual therapy, family therapy, and support groups.
Other services may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, and twelve-step facilitation.
Long-term Follow-up Care
Long-term follow-up care can help a person stay sober and prevent relapse. Most individuals find that attending support groups and/or counseling on a regular basis can greatly help with addiction recovery.
Relapse is very common for people struggling with addictions. If the use of the drug is started again, it is more likely for one to lose control and become addicted.
To prevent a relapse, it is important to have a plan and take steps that will help stay sober. Some things people can do to help are:
- Stay committed to the treatment plan. Monitor cravings and continue going to counseling, going to a support group, and taking any medications that a healthcare provider has prescribed to help throughout this process.
- Avoid certain environments and situations. Stay away from places and situations that are more likely to encourage the use of drugs or alcohol. By limiting interactions that may increase the desire for certain substances, individuals can help prevent relapse and lower the risk of addiction.
- Ask for help. People should talk to a doctor immediately if they begin using the drug again. Getting help right away can help prevent continued use.
12 Steps of AA
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a set of guidelines to help people through addiction recovery. These steps help guide people as they recover from their addiction and assist them in rebuilding their lives.
The twelfth step of the 12 steps of AA says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This step refers to helping others who are struggling with addiction.
Behavioral health refers to the way one’s actions and habits affect his or her physical and mental well-being. Types of behavioral issues include substance use or eating disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and marital or other relationship problems.