When a person uses substances or behaviors to excess, changes changes occur in brain function, cognitive thinking, and behavior. These changes in the brain and behavior are just as dramatic as the way diabetes, heart disease and cancer change the human body. Addiction also changes the behavior of people around the sufferer.
Substance use changes the thoughts, feelings, and actions of family members and friends. So addiction recovery has to encompass all those factors. Physical, mental, family, relationships. I could go on for a long time about this.
Addiction Recovery Is Not Rocket Science
In rocket science, there are some irrefutable principles required to achieve blast off. Not so in recovery. The Surgeon General's report on addiction (Nov 2016) is based on 25 years of research and shows there are many paths to recovery, but all require a lifetime of commitment since SUD (Substance Use Disorder) and AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) are chronic, relapsing brain diseases. When you think of it as a medical illness like diabetes or heart disease, you can deal with it more effectively.
How To Treat
Some people need a lot of treatment help to start their recovery journey (in-patient, intensive out-patient, sober living programs, therapy, etc.). They also need daily support when their primary treatment has ended. And this professional support and monitoring are needed to insure long term recovery. Others are determined to recover and find ingenious ways of their own to get healthy. Whatever works for you can be deemed good treatment. When searching for treatment, always get assessed by an addiction physician or addiction specialist to determine what kind of treatment you need. Addiction has been designated a medical specialty by the AMA. It makes sense to go to a medical specialist for a medical illness.
Addiction Recovery Is Like Any Chronic Relapsing Disease
Addiction needs treatment like any physical disease. That we do know. But the world of recovery is full of possibility, where each person can find a way to reclaim his/her life. So much about addiction recovery seems like a mystery. Some people seem to get better; others flounder no matter what they try. It’s confusing. But a few things are self-evident. Those who can envision a different kind of living and are attracted to the sober life can find ways to get there, and people to help them.
You Can Always Try Again
Other good news about recovery is that resolutions don’t come around once a year. In recovery every single day offers new possibilities. Most diseases don’t have that feature. You can always come back and try something else. You never know what person, program, or philosophy will do the trick. Another great feature of addiction recovery is that people who achieve long term recovery feel they are better than better. They have become better than they were before they got the disease. No other disease has that positive element.
To browse mental health and addiction recovery professionals everywhere, visit Recovery Guidance.