This article has been medically reviewed by Dr Robert Lefever, a world-leading addictions specialist.
Addiction has a way of disrupting your life since, more often than not, you have to sacrifice essential relationships, time and money to satisfy the urges and cravings that come with it. Once you keep repeating a behaviour, it becomes a part of you and is usually difficult to stop because your brain picks it up as well. Trying to drop the behaviour means rewiring your brain to make it function differently. The situation is further complicated when substances are involved, and your body is used to having those substances within it. You may decide to stop, but your body will react, which will make it close to impossible. So then, is it possible to break an addiction?
If you or anyone you know is struggling with Addiction and you are not sure what to do, please feel free to contact us at 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you. We at Help4addiction are determined to help our patients achieve life-long recovery using evidence-based methods.
What is an Addiction?
An addiction is technically defined as a chronic, complex disorder mandated by compulsive abuse despite having harmful consequences.
Addiction is described as chronic because it continues over a long period, and without appropriate help, the individual may never get over it throughout their lifetime.
It involves the compulsive abuse of a substance also means that the individual may continue to use a substance, usually drugs or alcohol, because they feel powerless to decide otherwise. This sometimes is more than a behavioural thing and may have something to do with the rewiring of the brain, especially when the individual has abused it for a long. It may also have to do with becoming dependent on it so that specific stimuli will always trigger the individual into the act.
It is also described as a complex disorder because it involves a variety of factors. There is usually more than one that keeps the individual in the act. The individual may have a fixation so strong that they may continue in the addiction despite the harm that it is bringing to them. The individual is usually aware of the damage that is coming to them, yet, they are unable to do much about it, which eventually leads to it ruining their life.
Millions of individuals in the UK alone live with various addictions ranging from illicit drugs, alcohol to general prescriptions. Globally, the situation is much worse, yet there is not much education on the subject, and many individuals end up living in shame with whatever addiction they may have. This is usually because there is a stigma attached to mental illness that is not present with others. So, for example, people have no problem reporting that they have said the flu or even a stomach problem but would gladly go through the addiction in silence.
Once many find themselves in addiction, they feel like that’s the end, and they are probably stuck with it for the rest of their lives. If you or someone close to you has an addiction, then you can probably relate to this. But what if we told you that you do not have to live in with the obsession? What if we told you that you could win the battle and be in control? What if we told you that you could actually beat this addiction and have your life back? Yes, it is possible.
Barriers to Beating An Addiction
Although it is possible to beat an addiction, there are usually barriers that stand in the way of making it possible. If not dealt with, these barriers will keep an individual in a cycle of addiction for much longer than is necessary. Some of these barriers include
Although this might not seem like a problem at first glance, it has the power to keep an individual in an addiction. Making excuses for one’s dependence will keep the individual trapped because no conscious effort will break the addiction.
This is just like making excuses. This is where the individual denies that the addiction is a problem and believes that he is still in control and could stop. The truth, however, is that the individual is usually not capable of breaking the addiction. This is generally seen with individuals abusing alcohol or drugs.
Shame and Guilt
This is another barrier to breaking away from an addiction. In addition, some individuals experience intense shame and guilt about their addiction which stops them from going out to the appropriate individuals to seek help or even make efforts towards breaking the addiction.
Believe it or not, ignorance of one’s condition, as well as how much of an effect it is having, can serve as a barrier to breaking one’s addiction. Therefore, it is crucial to get as much information on one’s condition and the most effective dealing methods. Once this is absent, one will end up trapped in the addiction.
These might not seem like much, but they can affect the ability of an individual to break free from addiction. Once these are dealt with, the individual going through the habit, it becomes possible to break free from the addiction.
How Can an Individual Beat An Addiction?
There are various ways an individual could handle an addiction. Still, the best policy when facing a situation that overwhelms you or is beyond your natural capacity to handle is to employ the help of individuals who have expertise in the field or are trained to handle such circumstances. When it comes to addictions, the experts in the field will be the doctor, psychologist or therapist, depending on the nature of your addiction. They are the best individuals to help, especially if the addiction involves substance abuse which you may have become dependent on.
Employing the help of these experts is more than a sure way to deal with addiction. Based on your condition, the severity of the addiction, how long you have had it, and if you have developed a dependence in the period. Employing the help of professionals comes with advantages such as:
- Understanding what the root cause of the addiction is and how it can be dealt with
- Possibility of a full detox where substance abuse and dependency is involved
- Personalised treatment plans are designed just for you.
- Accountability enhances the chances of beating the addiction.
Aside from employing the help of professionals, the individual seeking to break from the addiction must make some personal decisions and adjustments as well. Some of these include:
- A personal decision to stop
The individual attempting to break away from addiction must make an internalised and intentional decision to stop. This is important because a lack of personal resolve will make the process fall apart along the way.
- Working with Professional/Rehab Center
Although we have emphasised getting professional help, if the individual does not collaborate or work with the professionals, it will frustrate the process and make it unfruitful. Therefore, it is essential and advisable that the individual does all that is asked and takes the suggested meds and treatments to help break him out of the addiction.
This is very important, especially when the individual relapses in the process of therapy. The individual must come clean with the therapist, rehab centre, or family and friends assisting with recovery. This will help facilitate the process.
Involving a therapist and employing some of these points will go a long way to assist and help an individual beat an addiction.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with Addiction and you are not sure what to do, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.
Treatment options for handling/dealing with Addiction
When you seek professional help, there are various ways by which the therapist or the rehab centre might handle the addiction problem. The major way by which most addiction problems are handled by experts or rehab centres is through therapy. Some of these therapies might include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This therapy helps reshape the individual’s thoughts and make amendments that will help him not turn to their addictions during stress and periods of extreme cravings. It will also help the individual know how to handle withdrawal symptoms during such times.
Activity Engagement Programs
Some rehab centres have programs that engage individuals struggling with addiction by helping them develop new skills such as writing, dancing and acting, among others. The focus of these programs is usually to help them develop new social experiences and give them skills that will serve as alternatives to addiction behaviours.
Sometimes having families and significant others develop healthy and enabling relationships with individuals going through addictions is therapeutic. This is most especially the case where unhealthy relationships are the cause of addictions. These types of therapies work best in such circumstances.
Sometimes, after all these therapies are set in motion, a residential treatment program may be recommended for individuals who have more severe addictions and have become dependent on whatever substance they are abusing.
Aside from therapy, medication may be given for individuals with a strong dependence on the drugs depending on the severity of their withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction is not something anyone would willingly want to experience, albeit it doesn’t spell all gloom and doom, and neither is the person powerless against it all their life. It is challenging to manage and beat, yet it is not impossible with the proper support or help. If someone you know is going through an addiction phase, encourage the person out of it. If that person is you, we encourage you to seek help. If you are unsure where to start, please feel free to call us on 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I genuinely break free from addiction?
I have developed a dependence on the substance I am addicted to, is there hope?
I had a substance addiction in the past that spontaneously started when I got pregnant. Is this normal?
I think my addiction stems from childhood trauma. Can I still break free?
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Addiction is described as chronic because it continues over a long period, and without appropriate help, the individual may never get over it throughout their lifetime. An individual with an addiction may continue to use a substance, usually drugs or alcohol, because they feel powerless to decide otherwise. This sometimes is more than a behavioural thing and may have something to do with the rewiring of the brain, especially when the individual has abused it for a long. It is not easy for such a person to overcome an addiction just by willpower alone, thus require external help and support.