Overcoming addiction is a difficult process. It requires self-discipline, determination, and motivation. It doesn’t matter what your addiction is; whether it’s to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex, gambling, or even lying, it’s hard to break patterns we’ve grown accustomed to. However, admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery.
On that note, if you’re ready to make a change, but don’t know where to start, here are 9 effective tips you can take to overcome your addiction.
1. List The Effects of Addiction
Firstly, write a list of your addiction’s negative effects because this will help you stay motivated once you have quit. You’ll want to be reminded of all the stress, trauma, agitation, and affected relationships due to your addiction. Describe what made you start this habit and how it deteriorated your physical and mental health. If it has caused depression or anxiety, make sure you don’t leave that out.
2. Think About Why You Want to Quit
Consider why you want to quit. Are you looking to retain a sense of freedom? Do you feel trapped by your addiction? Does it cost you too much money? Do you want to improve your overall health? Whatever your reasons are, keep them in mind throughout the process.
3. Focus on The Life You Seek
You always want to have your long-term and short-term goals are written out so that you can refer back to them on tough days. Focus on the immediate changes you will experience after quitting and then think about the long-term impacts these will have on your life and well-being.
4. Devise a Plan
It’s vital that you devise a plan rather than winging it because you’ll want to prepare for any and all changes that arise. So, decide when you’ll quit, how you’ll quit, and what implementations will make this transition period easier.
5. Set a Day to Quit
It’s good to set a day to quit so that you can slowly wean yourself off. Perhaps you’ll choose a date that’s significant to you and slowly try to cut down on your addictive habits on the days and weeks leading up to your quitting date. Either way, giving yourself time beforehand will help you come to terms with the change, so by the time the day arrives, you’ll be ready to say goodbye.
6. Seek Help and Support
You must first alert the loved ones of your decision so that they can form a support structure. They will be your rock and create the emotional support you need to be surrounded with as you progress, so it is important to inform them before seeking professional help.
The Alberta, Canada-based medical professionals at this facility suggest you consider a medically supervised detox to start; this is a great way to wean yourself off your addiction and ease yourself into a program. Many addiction victims tend to feel overwhelmed by the thought of seeking medical treatment, and the fear can trigger a relapse. It’ll be easier for the patient to adapt to a smooth transition, especially if they are prone to seizures, agitation, or other conditions due to their addictions.
7. Start Decreasing the Use of Your Addictive Habit
As mentioned above, decreasing your use of the addictive habit will help you when the quitting date comes around. Moreover, these little accomplishments leading up to the day act as motivation to help you see that you can and are indeed making positive changes, so it won’t feel as bad as you initially thought it would be.
8. Upgrade Your Environment
You must consider the ways you’ll improve your surroundings to aid in your recovery. Upgrade your environment by removing anything in your house that reminds you of your habits. For instance, if you are overcoming alcohol addiction, make sure there’s no alcohol in the house.
9. Change Your Lifestyle
The last habit to break is the lifestyle you are used to. You’ll want to be prepared for settings that might provoke your habits to creep back up. However, you’ll also want to avoid triggers, so reduce your stress and keep busy. Fill your time with activities that enhance and encourage your new lifestyle, like exercising.
It’s important to bear in mind that you will experience triggers as you begin the process. It’s not going to be easy to change patterns of behavior, especially addictive behaviors. However, with the right emotional and social support groups around you, you will be reminded of the positive effects of the changes you’ve made. Hang in there because you’ll quickly see improvements soon after you quit.
Different Types of Addiction
Despite the fact that addiction is a complicated disease, over a century of scientific investigation has helped experts get a better grasp of how it functions.
This discovery has led to a significant shift in the way we think about addiction: Addiction is now viewed as a brain illness, rather than a human failure or decision.
When most people hear the word “addiction,” they often picture drug or alcohol abuse, but there are other types as well. Patterns of compulsive behavior like gambling and shopping are analogous to how chemical addictions operate.
Most professionals now distinguish between two categories of addiction:
- Chemical addiction. This is a reference to substance-related addiction.
- Behavioral addiction. This is a reference to obsessive behavior-based addiction. Even if they do not actually help you, you continue to engage in these persistent, repetitive actions.
How Addiction Generally Works
It is essential to comprehend a few fundamental aspects of addiction before delving into the various varieties of addiction.
The Reward System
Addiction disrupts regular brain activity, especially in the reward system. This reward system releases dopamine and other chemicals whenever you do anything you find delightful, whether spending time with your closest friend, chugging a bottle of wine, or doing cocaine.
Dopamine does not seem to genuinely produce emotions of pleasure or euphoria, in contrast to common assumptions. Instead, it strengthens your brain’s connection between particular stimuli and pleasurable emotions, encouraging you to seek out similar stimuli in the future.
Cravings and Tolerance
Cravings for the substance or activity might be sparked by the want to relive this exhilaration, especially when you come across the same triggers (like a party where people are drinking, for example). Intense desires are sometimes the initial indication of addiction.
The brain continues to manufacture more dopamine as long as you use, it eventually realizes this and produces present in your brain already, it eventually realizes this and begins to produce less in response to common stimuli.
The reward system in your brain still requires the same quantity of dopamine to work properly, which is the only issue.
Sooner or later, you will need to utilize more of the chemical to compensate for the lack of release from your brain. Tolerance is the name for this result.
A Lack of Interest in Other Activities
Losing interest in hobbies and other past interests is a frequent symptom of addiction. This occurs when natural stimuli like having sex or creating art no longer lead your brain to create as much dopamine.
You can believe that you still require a drug or a habit even though you desire to quit using them in order to feel good about anything.
Loss of control
Addiction often implies losing control over certain habits or drug usage. Among other things, this may lead to a loss of employment, health problems, or relationship problems.
In reaction, you could decide to stop using the substance or engage in the habit, only to discover that despite your best efforts, you keep failing.
Because there is a frequent misunderstanding over what constitutes substance abuse, dependence, and addiction, talking about chemical addiction can be challenging.
This is one of the reasons the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) supports the term “substance use disorder,” since it provides additional diagnostic criteria to aid healthcare professionals in differentiating between mild, moderate, and severe instances.
In addition, it avoids terminology like “abuse,” which can further stigmatize addiction and discourage individuals from getting assistance. This is why many professionals prefer it.
Substance use disorder symptoms frequently include:
- Urges that are so strong that they interfere with your capacity to think clearly
- A requirement for more of the drug to provide the same effects
- If the drug is difficult to get, you may feel uneasy or uncomfortable.
- Dangerous drug usage, such as consuming it while driving or working
- Drug usage causes problems in managing job, school, or domestic duties
- Challenges in friendships or relationships caused by substance abuse
- Putting off pursuits you once found enjoyable
- An inability to give up using the drug
- Signs of withdrawal while attempting to stop
Among the more prevalent addictive chemicals are:
- Opioids, such as heroin, and pharmaceutical painkillers like oxycodone and morphine
The idea of behavioral addictions and whether they actually include addiction are subjects of significant debate. Nevertheless, the DSM-5 now acknowledges two types of behavioral addictions:
- Gambling addiction
- Internet gaming disorder
Although the majority of medical professionals concur that certain behavioral patterns might develop into problems over time, there is still some disagreement:
- The time when some actions turn into addictions
- Certain habits that are susceptible to addiction
For instance, some could concur that sex, exercise, and shopping addictions exist but disagree with the notion that Facebook addiction is a real possibility.
The absence of scientific, peer-reviewed evidence required to provide uniform criteria for diagnosis was the reason given by the APA for their decision to exclude certain behavioral patterns from the DSM-5.
There are no recognized diagnostic standards as a result.
General indications of possible behavioral addiction, however, include:
- Putting in a lot of time practicing the habit
- Impulses to indulge in the habit despite how it may negatively impact relationships, everyday obligations, or daily lives
- Use the action to control undesirable feelings
- Keeping the activity hidden or lying to others about the time spent engaging in it
- Having trouble stopping the behavior
- When trying to quit, irritation, restlessness, anxiety, melancholy, or other withdrawal symptoms
- Being motivated to carry on with the activity despite how distressing it is
People frequently seek therapy and other forms of professional assistance to manage the following behavioral addictions:
- Purchase addiction
- Fitness addiction
- Food addiction
- Sex addiction
- TV addiction
- Addiction to social media like Facebook
Treatments for Substance Use Disorder
Without assistance from a skilled expert, quitting or controlling substance use is frequently very difficult.
For some types of drug use disorders, such as those caused by alcohol, benzodiazepines, and heroin, medically supervised detoxification is usually the initial step in therapy. Although it will not cure the problem, this can assist those going through the withdrawal process.
From there, one of the following is typically advised (or a mix of them).
Rehab, sometimes known as residential therapy, entails residing at a facility where skilled treatment professionals offer medical attention and support. While some programs may last for only a few weeks, others may go on for several months or even a whole year.
The following therapy philosophies are also used in many rehabilitation programs.
Recovery can be aided by psychotherapy and addiction treatment, particularly if a person began abusing substances to cope with upsetting feelings.
A therapist can assist them in examining some of the causes of their substance abuse and in developing fresh coping mechanisms for dealing with difficulties.
In some circumstances, medicines can make those battling addiction more successful in their efforts to rehabilitate.
When coping with an alcohol, nicotine, or opioid drug use issue, can be very beneficial in reducing relapses. Although these drugs have various mechanisms of action, they often aid in lowering cravings for the substance and withdrawal symptoms.
To address underlying problems, healthcare professionals frequently advise combining medicine with additional treatment modalities, such as counseling.
Many people find recovery with the aid of 12-step organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The therapy techniques used in these programs are self-help techniques, while other participants in the recovery process provide anonymous group support.
It may be quite beneficial to receive support and advice from people who are also on the road to recovery. These programs often do not offer enough assistance on their own, though. The 12-step program is not effective for everyone, too.
For those seeking a more methodical approach to group support, other programs, like SMART Recovery, could be a better choice.
Millions of individuals worldwide have benefited from SMART Recovery’s assistance in overcoming addiction and leading fulfilling, joyful lives. Everyone with an addiction issue can get help for FREE.