Many alcoholics claim that alcohol is “the cause of and solution to all of the life’s problems.” While the line is humorous, it also reveals a profound truth about life: We sometimes use the same thing to deal with our problems that caused our problems in the first place. This isn’t just true of alcohol, but substance abuse and addiction in general.
When we use substances, usually we are trying to create a solution to our problems. But what ends up happening is that the problems grow ever larger, and we use more substances to solve them — until, like a house of cards, the whole structure comes falling. In fact, the World Health Organization recently found that an estimated 2.5 million deaths occur annually just due to alcohol abuse.
Signs of Substance Abuse and Addiction
Some of the signs of substance abuse and addiction include:
- Higher and higher tolerance for substances
- Using substances to counteract withdrawal symptoms
- Trouble at work or home resulting from substance abuse
- Sudden weight changes
- Erratic behavior, anxiety, aggression
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Depression, suicidal thoughts
- Failure to meet responsibilities
- Secrecy, isolation
And if you’re like many people who are wondering if substance use has become an addiction, you may be aware of many of the reasons and signs why this might be the case. Perhaps substances at one time provided a mode of relief that other areas of life did not. Perhaps they had an effect which caused you to put problems on the back burner, but sooner or later, the substance takes over, and your problems get bigger and bigger.
When We Need Help
This is the point at which many people find that things are out of control and that can initiate admitting that help is necessary. For individuals who value self-reliance, this can be a difficult step. But the truth is, substance abuse and addiction operate in our minds in a way that necessitates the input of others and their ability to help us see where the right path is.
Substance abuse acts on the brain to mimic how we respond to rewards. This can mean a lot of things. For one, it can mean that our brain will do anything to continue that feeling long after it isn’t even possible to attain it. Secondly, it is common to engage in a belief that the substances aren’t causing the problems even when it seems that the world is falling apart all around us.
How Treatment Works
How exactly does treatment help us to grow as human beings, especially beyond the grip of substance abuse and addiction?
- When you participate in inpatient treatment for abuse, you will have help from professionals who are trained to manage a safe transition from addiction into sobriety. This means that if you have difficulties while coming off of the substance, professionals can help you with any problem that may occur. It also means you can speak to them directly about what is going on and learn how to overcome it.
- Inpatient treatment also allows you to benefit from years of experience of helping addicts. It may be difficult to accept trusting others, but the value of this interaction can’t be overstated. When you are around others who’ve experienced similar situations hundreds of times, you can rely on their ability to see the problem from every angle and every possibility, and that means you can focus on your needs to change into the person we want to be.
A Transition into Better Health
Most importantly, the shift that this allows you to maintain as you grow and learn how to cope with life with long-term solutions and options that truly solve your problems, rather than put them off. This can open a remarkable chain of events in your life in which things you thought were permanently holding you back no longer restrict you.
Imagine for example the length of time in which substance abuse and addiction have played a role as a way to minimize problems. Now, suppose you had instead dealt with those issues in a way that truly allowed you to complete them and move on. Your life might look very different — less stressful, with more time to enjoy the things you are passionate about.