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How to Cope With Addiction

Today we want to explore how to cope with addiction.

Addiction is a dangerous and unpredictable road. Drug and alcohol addiction affects people regardless of gender, race, economic standing, location, or culture.  Accepting and understanding your addiction is the first step in coping with your diagnosis.

To further handle your diagnosis, talk with a medical professional, get educated, and seek addiction treatment.

It is important to understand that addiction is often defined by a behavioral pattern that causes challenges in quitting. Regardless of the level or length of addiction, it results in severe and life-threatening problems.

How to Cope With Addiction

Determination and perseverance alone isn’t enough to overcome addiction.

Acceptance, understanding, and treatment can on the other hand.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health disorders (DSM), serves as the main guidebook for the mental health field. Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), their criteria outlines specific guidelines for understanding the main factors of an addiction diagnosis. A lack of control, being unable to limit use, time spent acquiring the substance, addiction urges, problems with work and personal relationships, life-threatening usage, increased tolerance for the substance, and withdrawal symptoms are all factors of addiction.

Addiction is a spectrum disorder

So an individual only needs to meet two or three of the previously mentioned criteria to be diagnosed with addiction. Regardless of the level of addiction (mild, average, or severe), all addicts suffer from the risk of further harm, development of disease, or death.

Understanding the specifics of treatment programs, detoxification, rehabilitation, and the recovery process is essential for minimizing anxiety and fear, and moving forward. Addicts should find reliable sources of information about the details like the symptoms, obstacles, and treatment methods for their specific addiction. Additionally, they should look into recovery centers, their treatment models, core competencies, and culture to understand how they will help them beat addiction for good.

Gathering Information

Preparing by acquiring information will reduce anxiety and fear about entering treatment. Speaking with multiple medical and medical health professionals is another way to cope with your diagnosis.

Drug and alcohol abuse education is important for addicts and their loved ones. This information may include what a diagnosis may mean, warning signs, the details of chemical dependency and how it affects behaviors, withdrawal and detox symptoms, and the struggles of recovery.

Education is essential for coping with a diagnosis or dual diagnosis involving any kind of addiction like food, gambling, alcohol, or drugs. Today’s mental health book offerings, psychology publications, and internet information (from credible and established organizations) can help understand what a diagnosis means in the short and long-term, and how to prepare for it.

Knowledge and preparation can have a calming effect on the person seeking treatment. Finding specific details about an addiction diagnosis can help alleviate other mental health illnesses like depression, anxiety, panic, or fear about what the future holds.

Preparing, listening, and acceptance will help the person seeking treatment choose the best option.

Finding Support

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “addiction is best conceptualized not as an abnormality in substance use, but as an abnormality in the brain’s response when a person with the disease uses substances as a pathological source of reward or relief.” Seeking support from medical professionals is crucial to cope with your medical diagnosis and to defeat chemical dependency.

After a diagnosis and at later stages like detox, intense feelings of guilt, shame, anger, or depression may arise. This makes coping with the effects of a diagnosis increasingly problematic. Leaning on support methods like, trusted family or friends, medical professionals, or a therapist can help develop coping skills for the emotional aspects of a diagnosis.

The Utah Addiction Center cites that, “all positive, addiction healing results from “empathetic, hopeful clinical relationships.” Primary treatment centers have physicians, mental health counselors, client advocates, advisors, and wellness experts who are all equipped to provide round the clock care for substance abusers, both physically and emotionally. Mindfulness, meditation, or yoga experts may also help with emotional awareness, willpower, and transitional phases. This is especially important during the difficult stages of rehabilitation and ongoing recovery.

Continuing To Share

In the beginning, a diagnosis can be scary and isolating. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether before intake or after leaving a sober living residence, structured support systems allow people to find common ground and support at any stage. Additionally, developed friendships among peers (within support groups) also serve as a healing tool for recovering addicts.

A diagnosis is just the beginning of the long path of recovery. Support systems like 12-step meetings, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, mental health counselors, mentorship programs, SMART recovery methodology, or other meetings (based on the addiction and treatment plan) are a continuing way to share experiences. Talking about the challenges of recovery with those in similar stages, and learning to communicate honestly helps develop accountability, bravery, and vulnerability. These qualities are essential toward finding long-lasting, permanent recovery. A consistent support network will help any recovering addict cope with the reality of their diagnosis.

Focus on Healing

Coping with an addiction diagnosis is easier with a clear and outlined plan.

Focusing on healing in a supportive, controlled, and calm environment helps makes goals and plans more achievable.

Sober living facilities or recovery homes with quiet atmospheres and strict rules may help recovering addicts’ focus. Eliminating outside distractions like harmful influences, easy access to substances, triggers (like other people using alcohol or drugs), stressors, or media help the recovering party work on their recovery.

Healing from chemical dependency cannot be achieved independently. With the help of medical professionals once intake, primary treatment, and detox is achieved, other factors can contribute positively to recovery.

Proven holistic methods of healing like talk therapy, spirituality, eco-therapy, mindfulness, or transcendental meditation are supplemental activities that can help recovering addicts cope.

The consistent monitoring of activities, thoughts, and behaviors can help regain post-treatment life organization. House managers, peers, advocates, and mental health professionals help keep people accountable as they continually cope with their diagnosis.