As of 2019, over 5.6% of Americans were suffering from dependence on alcohol or difficulties related to alcohol. A more startling statistic shows that 1.7% of youths aged 12 to 17 have already developed alcohol use disorder. The statistics of drug use are just as concerning, with 11.2% of adults and 2.2% of youths using illicit drugs in the past month.
While not all users of drugs or alcohol end up with a dependence or addiction, many do. Though people living in impoverished conditions have a greater likelihood of developing such conditions, this can still happen to anyone. You might already even know someone with an alcohol abuse problem who needs help.
If you have questions about how to deal with addiction in yourself or someone you know, read on. We have made this guide to help people navigate this complex and difficult situation.
The First Step is Learning
Education is the first step in the process of recovering from substance dependency, as it can help assuage any misconceptions about a person’s addiction. For example, addiction should never be attributed to character flaws like weakness, willfulness, stubbornness, and so on.
Multiple studies have proven that addiction is more of a physiological phenomenon that stems from chemical changes within the brain. More and more research is showing that addiction is more about how certain substances interact with the brain, in addition to surrounding socio-economic circumstances.
By recognizing that addiction is not a choice someone makes, you might be able to better deal with the resentment or anger that comes from your relationship with a person who has an opioid addiction or alcohol addiction and needs to seek substance abuse treatment.
Find the Right Peers
No matter how supportive you might be, the person in your life suffering from an addiction will likely feel isolated and alone at one point. This is not your fault nor the fault of your loved one— it’s just that people will sometimes need the company and advice of others who are going through the same things they are.
Getting them help at a substance abuse treatment center can serve this goal. They would likely be put in contact with people who have gone through similar situations. While the goal might seem too far ahead for them at times, being around people who are successfully handling their condition might give your loved one hope.
Managing Your Expectations
Kicking an addiction is no easy task. Going through the process of recovery might be difficult for the family as well as the loved one with a problem. After all, addiction rarely stands alone in the list of problems that have been caused by substances. Years of hurt will be unpacked and dealt with, and this involves unearthing painful emotions for everyone.
Not only that, but the risk of relapse is ever-present. It is likely to happen at least once in the attempt to recover, and can be disheartening for everyone involved. Addiction, after all, is a chronic disease that can come back if you let your guard down.
Given the lifelong recovery process associated with alcoholism, it is important to manage your expectations. Even with substance abuse treatment, recovery rarely ever goes smoothly for anyone. It is important to remember that relapsing is not necessarily an end to progress, and that progress isn’t always linear.
Have the Professionals on Standby
Working through addiction is a long and arduous process, one with many obstacles and opportunities for backsliding. In some cases, withdrawal might be dangerous, and even life-threatening in certain cases. Before embarking on a recovery journey, drug rehabilitation and medical professionals should be consulted about the process.
Seek Treatment at American Treatment Network
Schedule an appointment with us now at American Treatment Network. We specialize in substance abuse treatment, and have a tailored program for helping patients live meaningful and dignified lives free from drugs and alcohol.