Each year, millions of Americans deal with drug abuse. Most of these people struggle with their drug abuse alone, never seeking out professional help. But for those who do get help from a professional treatment center, life begins again in many ways. The recovery process is long and challenging, but it is also rewarding. And compared to drug abuse, recovery provides a person much more potential to live a successful and fulfilling life. For these reasons, a person struggling with drug abuse should seriously consider receiving professional drug treatment so that she can begin a new life in recovery.
What Is Addiction?
A lot of people view drug abuse as evidence of a flaw in a person’s character, or a weakness in physical and mental health. The truth about drug abuse, though, is that it is complex and develops from multiple factors in a person’s life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” It goes on to explain that while a person struggling with drug abuse normally makes a voluntary decision to use drugs at first, over time, the person becomes increasingly unable to stop the drug use.
Getting Rid of the Stigma of Drug Abuse and Addiction
When a person thinks that she will be judged negatively for her struggle with substance use, she is often much less likely to seek out help. The suggests that one way to get rid of the stigma associated with substance use is to change the language used to talk about drug abuse and addiction. Specifically, it recommends avoiding words like “addict,” which suggest that the person is nothing more than her addiction, and “substance abuser,” which ignore the fact that substance use problems are actually disorders that affect the way the brain functions.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
Changing the stigma associated with drug abuse and addiction is an important step to take towards helping people struggling with these conditions to get the help they need. Another way to encourage recovery is to understand exactly what recovery looks like. As the NIDA explains, recovery is a long-term process that often involves several rounds of treatment. Most doctors recommend that rehabilitation last at least three months in order to help the person reduce or stop drug use. Additionally, the NIDA points out that many people experience at least one relapse in recovery, but that these relapses can be addressed and successfully overcome when the person is willing to return to treatment.
Once a person successfully completes drug abuse rehabilitation, she will need to know what to expect in long-term recovery. Mentalhealth.gov explains that recovery involves a person making changes in her life in order to:
- Develop her health and wellness
- Live an independent and self-controlled life
- Seek to reach her full potential
It also lists the following four components of successful recovery:
- Health: the person makes knowledgeable and positive choices in her life that support her physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.
- Home: she has a safe and stable place to live.
- Purpose: she engages in meaningful activities every day, and works to acquire independence, income and resources with which to actively participate in society.
- Community: she creates and develops relationships and social networks that offer support.
Life in recovery has many difficulties, but ultimately it is much better than the alternative of continuing a lifestyle of drug abuse. Although the stigma attached to drug abuse and addiction makes it difficult to seek out help with drug abuse, getting help is often the only way for a person to begin recovery. Without recovery, a person struggling with drug abuse will continue to miss out on the full potential of her life, as well as put herself at risk for the many negative physical and psychological effects of drug abuse.
Where to Learn More about Drug Abuse and Recovery
If you or a loved one is thinking about beginning the drug abuse recovery process, please call our toll-free helpline at 615-490-9376 right now. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to give you more information about the benefits of recovery and assist you in getting you or a loved one the help that they need.