By: Shannon Persad
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How to Break the Cycle of Addiction
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is defined as a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.”
As a person becomes addicted to drugs, they become obsessive and compulsive, developing “drug-seeking” behaviors. Addiction becomes a problem when there is an impairment of a person’s chemical balance in the brain. Once a person establishes a tolerance to a drug, the withdrawal becomes a negative experience, resulting in relapses or destructive behaviors.
The path to addiction has three phases:
- Misuse: as a person casually tries a drug or drinks alcohol, they begin to enjoy the effects and use it more than once after.
- Abuse: a rush of euphoria takes place as an individual continues to find relief from the drugs or alcohol; continuous use occurs.
- Addiction: the person can’t do without the feeling of relief, thus going into a cycle that is hard to break.
Symptoms of an Addiction Cycle
It’s hard to know whether or not if you are in a cycle of addiction that needs to end. Some symptoms include:
- Obsessing over drugs or alcohol.
- Demanding relief from anxiety or depression, turning to drugs.
- Destructive behavior, leading to negative consequences.
- Using drugs to alleviate any type of discomfort.
- Feeling guilt or shame, feeling dissatisfied, only to use drugs again.
Once you know you are in a never-ending loop of addiction, you can break the cycle, but it’s not easy.
How to Stop the Cycle
The best thing you can do to break the cycle of addiction is to be more self-aware. For many, this is in the recovery process, beginning with the idea you want to change your behavior.
Once you make up your mind you want to change, prepare yourself on how you’re going to change. Then you decide to take action, going through with your plan on becoming a better you.
As the change occurs within yourself, you have to maintain your new lifestyle. For instance, engaging in sober activities and staying out of trouble. Preventing a relapse will also be vital to staying sober.
If you feel you or a loved one is stuck in the cycle of addiction, seek help by finding a treatment center or speaking with a professional.
Sometimes admitting you have a drug problem and seeking help is the best thing you can do to break the cycle of addiction.