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Addiction | Health

Understanding Drug Use and Addiction

This is a guest post. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Master Mind Content.

Addiction is a severe illness defined by drug seeking and uses that is obsessive and difficult to control despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to abuse drugs is voluntary for most people. Still, repeated drug abuse can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist the intense urge to take drugs. 

 According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million American adults aged 21 or older struggle with a substance use disorder. At the same time, 80 percent of the individuals coping with substance use disorder struggled with an alcohol use disorder. Drug addiction is an intricate disease and quitting it generally takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Moreover, drug use changes the brain in ways that make leaving hard, even for those who change. 

 These brain changes can be determined, so drug addiction is known as a ‘relapsing’ disease. People in recovery from drug use disorders are at a higher risk for returning to drug use after years of not taking the drug. While with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted depending on how the individual responds. 

 Addiction to anything is quite tricky. At one moment, it can be one of the ways to deal, but after some time, it turns into a problem itself. When you hear stories about how people get into drugs or alcohol, you would wonder that many of them did not intend to use it just because. Many sufferers often get into the habit of using substances because of their inner struggles or other problems surrounding their lives. 

Thus, addiction is stereotyped as a coping mechanism. However, for many people, it does not stay that way. Addiction is like an invisible, lethal tumor, which, when left untreated, can develop and worsens until it becomes life-threatening. Those who go through it need to search for ways to deal with addiction as a problem in itself. So, let’s discuss how a person can manage their addiction, the different coping mechanisms, and how one can find treatment like the Illinois drug rehab center.

drug addiction

What is a coping mechanism?

 Coping mechanisms are strategies that people often use to deal with illness, stress, and trauma in their lives. There are different ways to cope, and individuals can do them consciously and unconsciously. However, the primary thing to remember about coping mechanisms is that some are more effective than others. Some tips for dealing with addiction triggers with drug addiction can be unhelpful or even counter-effective. 

How does stress relate to drug abuse? 

 Stress is the body’s response to outside changes, and it may also be the result of a single event or an ongoing issue. These changes or events can be good or bad, such as starting a new school, getting married, any illness, death of a dear one, meeting with an accident, or getting separated from a partner. There are mainly three types of stress:

  • Routine stress
  • Stress from sudden negative changes
  • Stress from a traumatic event 

 When an individual feels stressed, changes occur in the mind and in the body too. In some cases, these changes can be life-rescuing as the brain engages its ‘fight or flight reaction in times of chronic stress or when it feels itself to be in danger. 

 Everyone struggles with stress in different forms, and some may resort to maladaptive measures of managing stress, which may include abusing drugs. Pressure can increase the odds that a person will use drugs; in fact, those exposed to stress are more likely to use mind-altering substances. 

Stress, drugs, and the brain:

 Drugs can attain chemical changes in the brain by activating some of the brain’s chemicals involved in emotional regulation, memory and learning, decision-making, happiness, and stress management. 

People suffering from a high level of chronic stress can use these drugs to manage these signs. Individuals who may have difficulties managing stress, inadequate coping mechanisms, and an inability to control impulses may be at increased risk of using drugs as a result. Drugs can act as an escape from reality while intoxicated and serve to lighten the stress. 

When someone is stressed, stress levels are elevated, which can increase energy and excitement levels, decrease a person’s appetite, and help them stay awake longer. Stimulants drugs like cocaine, prescription medications have similar effects on the brain and body. 

 Ways to cope with drug use and addiction:

 Following are some of the ways to cope with drug addiction-

  • Have a support system-

Family and friends are always available to help you to succeed in staying sober. Moreover, honesty is essential in sobriety, and talking to your support system can help you feel better.

  • Distract yourself-

Get moving and do something physical exercise to improve your emotional well-being, which can often reduce any targeting feelings. 

  • Self-talk-

Recall to yourself that you are not alone in experiencing triggers, and though it’s tough, you can avoid using them. Motivating yourself to remain sober can be a great motivator to avoid using.

  • Get professional help-

Register yourself with a rehab center, where you can seek professional help. 

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