What is Addiction?
Addiction is the compulsive use of a substance or behavior, in spite of any detrimental effects. An addict feels compelled to engage in the addiction, even as he or she suffers its negative effects. Addiction can be broken down into two categories: substance addiction and process addiction. Substance addiction includes addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even legal substances such as inhalants. Process addiction includes addictions to behaviors such as gambling, sex, shopping, or even routine behaviors such as eating, working, or cleaning. Whether a person is addicted to a substance or behavior, the illness manifests in the same way: uncontrollable behavior that interferes with daily responsibilities such as work, interpersonal relationships, or one’s own health. The addiction may also affect the health and welfare of others, especially if the addict is a parent or other caregiver who neglects his caregiving in favor of the addiction.
How to Help an Addict
While it is challenging to overcome any type of addiction, it is not impossible. Addiction help such as a Christian rehab is available to people who are ready to commit to change. Most addiction treatment programs utilize a similar approach of detoxification followed by counseling and therapy. Treatment begins with detoxification, in which the addict stops taking drugs or alcohol and waits for all traces of it to leave the body. This can be very uncomfortable, and for some drugs, requires medical supervision. However, it is critical to remove all drugs from the body before moving on.
Once the addict has successfully completed the detox process, he or she can begin counseling and therapy. Here, a counselor or therapist can help get to the root of the addiction–why did the person begin abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place? What caused that initial downward spiral? Did they have a chronic medical issue that led to substance abuse? Treating the underlying causes of the substance abuse and addiction can help to prevent relapse.
Some treatment programs include aftercare to help the addict readjust to life without substance abuse. This may include reorganizing the person’s life to avoid friends who continue to abuse drugs or alcohol, prepare for social situations that include temptations to use and learn stress management techniques to utilize instead of relying on substance abuse.
Help for Drug Addiction vs. Enabling
As a bystander, it can be hard to know how much help to offer someone struggling with addiction. We want so much to help the people we love that we may end up enabling their addictive behavior. The addict has to accept responsibility for his or her behavior before treatment can be truly effective because, in the end, he or she is the only one who can stop the abuse. How do you know how much help is just enough and how much is too much?
If an addict asks you for help–for example, to enter a treatment program, or to remove their stash of drugs or alcohol –help! It takes courage for a person to admit they have a problem and reach out for assistance. Christian drug recovery programs are extremely helpful. Relapse is not uncommon, so you may go through this process more than once before the addict is really ready to change. However, if the addict you love repeatedly asks for help, but never follows through, it may be time to say no. You may be enabling their addictive behavior by helping them out before they feel the true repercussions of their behavior. Let them know you are ready to help when they are ready to commit to change. A Christian drug rehab could be a great treatment program for them to begin the road to recovery.
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