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The Journey to Sobriety

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Addiction is a complex disease to treat and cure patients of it permanently. Researchers in the last century have come up with ways to trace the root cause of addictions and treat them. Globally, many reputable treatment centers ‘read more’ have helped millions of people recover from addiction. Addictions are; chemical and behavioral. The causes of addictions are;

Genetics 

Researchers have found that between 40-60% of addiction cases are due to genetics. Children of addicted parents have a 25% chance of developing an addiction than non-addicted parents. Gender is also another factor to consider when looking for addiction patterns. Men are said to have more cases of addictions than women. Nonetheless, women start with small doses and then escalate to more enormous amounts, more so they are prone to relapse due to their constant mood change.

Environment 

The environment is a massive contributor to the possibility of individuals developing an addiction. The environment one is raised in, lives in, and works in can influence their addiction patterns. In the home environment, children see firsthand the negative results of drug abuse like violence and unemployment. They might develop an addiction as a coping mechanism.

Happy man jumping from cliff of alcoholism to sobriety

The Effect of Drugs on the Body and Brain 

 Whenever our bodies engage in anything pleasing, dopamine, a natural chemical, is produced by the brain to signal it wants a repeat. When individuals engage in drugs repeatedly, dopamine is released unnaturally. The more one forms an addiction, the more the brain produces less dopamine. It creates a physical dependency pattern that the drug addict cannot survive without the drug. Withdrawal of the body is also a root cause of the addiction. Once an alcohol addict takes the last bottle, the withdrawal will begin after 8-36 hours and last for weeks.

Treatment Centers and Support Systems

This factor is more of a fuel to relapses than a root cause. Drug addicts need genuine support systems in their journey to recovery. Lack of this leads them to fall into depression and see drugs as their only friend. Also, negative experiences with treatment centers in failing to get help in recovery cause many drug addicts to see there is no hope for them and fall back into the addiction cycle.

The stages of recovery from addiction can vary depending on the treatment mode and the individual. They involve the following;

  • Pre-contemplation- at this stage, the drug addict is aware that he/she needs help but is justifying the addictions. 
  • Contemplation – an addict here becomes more aware and open to recovery. He/she has not yet taken the step to seek help and might give valid excuses like, ‘once I resign from my stressful job, I will go for treatment.’
  • Preparation – the addict, is aware that the adverse effects outweigh the benefits of drug abuse. At this stage, the addict gathers information about the recovery process, and he/she may have a verbal or written commitment to recover fully.
  • Action – as the name suggests, the addict immerses themselves in a recovery plan. At this stage, the addict has fully committed to recovery. 
  • Maintenance- after learning a craft or a skill, one must practice it not to forget. Similarly, a drug addict must commit to practicing sobriety after the recovery treatment period. Many drug addicts relapse at this stage. There are many resources an ex-addict can access to remain sober, such as support groups and aftercare.
  • Termination – most individuals have no desire to go back to the active addiction side. The individuals have retained their careers and gained the social life they had previous to the addiction. At this stage, the recovery plan is complete.

Maintaining a sober life is a lengthy endeavor that individuals have to sustain. It is not an easy process, but with the right help and resources, one can avoid a relapse and live healthily.

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