If you have a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse, you may feel frustrated, angry, or downright hopeless. “How could they have gone this far?” you may ask yourself. Many friends and family members of loved ones with addiction feel the same way – it’s hard for someone looking in to truly understand all of the factors that play in addiction. First and foremost, it’s important that you and your family members attend family therapy so that you can develop important tools for recovery and family dynamic; addiction affects everyone, and you deserve help as well.
The best way to gain an understanding of addiction is to first look at the stages:
- Initial Use – this could be different for each person. For some, it all started in middle school or high school, when peer pressure and social influence were important to adolescents for socialization. For others, substance use began as an effortless way to wind down or a fun way to go out with friends – in many cases, “addiction” is not intended.
- Abuse – a person typically enters this phase when they begin using substance for the “high” they experience rather than the social aspect of using.
- Tolerance – as the person’s drug use becomes more habitual, they begin to develop a tolerance – meaning they need higher doses of the drug and/or more frequent doses in order to achieve or maintain the same “high”
- Dependence – at a certain point, a person’s mind and body begin to crave the drug because they’ve gotten to used to receiving it over a longer period of time. This could take the form of cravings, withdrawal symptoms when not using, and more.
- Addiction – there are various criteria that fit the diagnosis of addiction, but a few of those are: being unable to maintain daily responsibilities due to drug use, continuing to use despite various consequences in life, and more.
- Relapse – a normal part of recovery, relapse occurs when a person temporarily returns back to using as they did before. Relapse does not mean that a person has failed, but rather they need certain aspects of their treatment reinforced or a change in their treatment needs to occur.
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about addiction recovery and what you can do for your loved one.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.