According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction cannot always be cured, but it can be treated. Excessive drug or alcohol use causes chemical changes in the brain. As a person consumes drugs, the drugs produce an influx of dopamine – the “feel good” chemical of the brain. The NIDA states that the levels of dopamine released from drugs can be 2 to 10 times as much as typical pleasurable activities such as eating or sex. As this continues, the brain’s hippocampus, responsible for memory and retrieval, stores the information that drugs produce good feelings. For someone with an addiction, the brain’s memory of this pleasurable feeling is one that takes a lot of time to overcome as the “wanting” behavior ensues.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System states that treatment is the best way to stop the cycle of addiction. They claim that 70% of those with alcoholism achieve lifelong sobriety after staying engaged in treatment for at least a year. What makes it so difficult for us to reverse addiction and achieve recovery sooner rather than later? Psychology Today notes that with addiction, the brain is hard-wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, both of which guide people to drugs. However, those with addiction experience drugs differently than others – they seek the high, but they enjoy it much less, causing them to continue seeking out the pleasure feeling even after having stopped using. This war between the mind, body, and spirit requires time.
Just as a person with cigarette addiction cannot always stop “cold turkey”, a person who has substance abuse most often must take the time to taper down, especially if they have been using for a long time and are experiencing severe symptoms of dependence. Professional treatment is needed for substance abuse recovery due to the dangers of withdrawal; stopping “cold turkey” at home could lead to painful symptoms such as fever, extreme nausea, diarrhea, delirium tremens (DT), and even death. Appropriate treatment can provide the person with a healthcare team that can prescribe medication if needed and can routinely check in to make sure the person’s health is still intact.
If you or a loved one are seeking a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery treatment program, call us today at 888-743-0490. Simple Recovery believes in providing clients with the resources they need to succeed. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to develop the tools needed to restore and rebalance your mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for a consultation.