Addiction to any sort of drug has devastating physical and mental consequences. Since being dependent on any drug can greatly alter brain chemistry, it can be difficult to fight this addiction. Though breaking free from the cycle of addiction is difficult, it is not impossible. If you or your loved one has an addiction to drugs, the best way to fight addiction is to follow these steps.
Decide to Fight Addiction
People often say that the hardest thing about recovering from a drug addiction is deciding to seek help, and this statement is definitely true. Drug addiction in men makes this step particularly difficult, because many men worry that asking for help will make them look weak. Many addicts do not think they have a problem, because they are under the illusion that they can control their desires for a drug and think the drug is not hurting them. Even if an addict does realize that the drug dependence is harming their life, they may not think they are capable of recovery. In order to successfully recover from a drug dependence, desiring to get clean and stop using the drug is absolutely essential.
Seek Treatment From Professionals
Depending on the drug a person is addicted to and the length of time they suffered from addiction, they may need varying levels of treatment. Certain drugs have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, so medical monitoring may be needed during detox. Once an addict has gone through detox and gotten the drug out of their system, they still need to learn how to break free from addiction. Addiction treatment programs can be a lengthy stay at a facility that provides medical and psychological support, or they can be an outpatient program that provides counseling and support. Programs often focus on discovering and overcoming underlying issues that cause addiction, and they also provide healthy coping strategies for dealing with cravings. There is no standard type of treatment that works for anyone, so it is beneficial to talk to both mental and physical health care specialists to find a treatment plan that will work for you.
Have a Support System
Support from friends, families, and other people struggling to overcome drug addiction is essential to recovery. It is very difficult to recover without people around you who can be a positive influence. Support groups are a great way to provide accountability and encouragement when a person is just learning how to live a sober lifestyle. People who understand what recovering addicts are going through can be excellent mentors.
Avoid Things That Trigger Relapse
Sadly, even people who have been clean for years struggle with the temptation to relapse into old habits. Part of the recovery process will be identifying triggers that encourage a person to use drugs, and finding creative ways to avoid those triggers. If you do succumb to relapse, do not let negative feelings encourage you to give up on your hard won recovery. Instead, it is important to realize that you can learn from your mistakes and find better ways to avoid addiction. Drug addiction in men is often triggered by the following things, so many recovering addicts find it helpful to avoid:
- Old friends who use drugs and may encourage you to try drugs again. Even if your friends do not try to encourage to relapse, seeing them use drugs can make it hard to fight cravings.
- Clubs, bars, and other environments that encourage bad decisions and mind altering substances.
- Prescription drugs can be a milder form of a drug that you used to use, so be up front with your doctor about your former addiction. Health care providers can help you find a better alternative
- Stress is one of the biggest relapse triggers. If it cannot be avoided, find healthier coping methods for stress, such as massage or exercise.
Build a New Life Without Drugs
The people who are most successful at fighting addiction are people who create a new life that revolves around meaningful activities instead of self-harmful behavior. Instead of replacing an addiction to drugs with any other obsession, people who remain sober tend to interest themselves in healthy and beneficial actions. A few options that many recovered addicts enjoy include:
- Taking classes or joining an activity club
- Getting a pet
- Volunteering at local charities
- Mentoring other addicts
- Starting to exercise or play sports