Addiction is a chronic mental disease affecting millions around the world. It is a relapsing brain abnormality that is often linked with pain and trauma, abuse, and guilt. The addict feels a compulsive need for drugs despite having knowledge of their harmful effects. This is due to the change in brain chemistry produced by drug abuse. The addiction cycle affects one’s health, relationships, finances, and life goals and causes him emotional, physiological, and psychological dependence on others. In the worst-case scenario, it may lead to death. The American community is largely hit by the opioid epidemic that has caused around half a million deaths since 2015. Other than opioids, the dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin has vitiated the lives of millions. The addicts become delirious until some intervention occurs mainly from himself, his family, or any community welfare centers such as sober living homes and drug rehabilitation centers.
Cycle Of Addiction & Its Stages
Addiction takes time to develop its effects. An addict takes time to build up the substance abuse disorder in several stages. To start with, it may be just casual drinking or any drug immoderation once or twice and one may think that initial use of any substance would not do any harm until it starts affecting the motivational, pleasure, and rewarding memories of the brain. And with some frequent repetitive moves, you may find a sober soul dwelling into the cycle of substance abuse. There are other drugs that are potentially strong enough to have immediate effects. Nonetheless, an addict suffers from these stages of addiction that may end up in a continuous relapse or complete sobriety. Let’s have a look at the table of contents.
A new drug prescription, family history, a night out with friends conforming to fit in, any mental disorder, neglect, or abuse, any situation can initiate the contact. Be it the first time, the person is at risk of substance abuse especially if he is experiencing any past trauma, failed relationship, or anxious future. In that case, the initial use may be deliberate and anything can act as a triggering event. Substance abuse relieves mental stress and anxiety and gives consolation. That’s how a person gets into the vicious cycle of drugs and the prime reason is to shut down the troubling emotions and traumatic memories.
Next comes the abuse in which a person feels an overwhelming desire and need for substance use. This is the stage where the addict, knowing the evidence consequences and risk factors of drug abuse, seek out to manage his emotions. The chemical response of using the substance would soothe the pain and alter the rewarding hormones of the brain. The abuser would seek the drug of choice on an improper basis to alleviate his carvings.
With the repetitive moves and ritual behaviors, a person’s body gets used to taking the drugs. And the body conditioned itself in Tolerance. This happens when the brain transforms its chemical effects and reduces the effects of substance thus a person experiences inadequate mental and physical relief or euphoria as compared to the initial effects. This agitates them to take a higher dosage of the substance, leading them to severe substance abuse.
In the addiction cycle, there comes a time, when the addict loses control over his body and mind, and in order for them to function properly and to satiate his carvings, he takes an excessive amount of drugs. This leads him to the next stage of the addiction cycle, which is dependence on illicit drugs. This condition generates unpleasant effects called anhedonia, and a person feels insatiate until his craving is met. In the case of long delays, the drug dependence and its inaccessibility would cause intense withdrawal symptoms in the addict, which may include fever, nausea, muscle cramps, and depression.
Addiction can be diagnosed when a person uses substances and it develops into cravings when recovering seems difficult and his participation in relationships reduces. When the abuse hinders his daily business and mental stability. These behaviors help in identifying the addict. What leads to addiction is the compulsive behavior of substance, drug, and alcohol abuse that turns into a chronic and degenerative mental disorder that is highly deceptive in nature. A person who is trapped in the repetitive cycle of addiction finds himself in the ritual behavior of pain and relief.
When the emotions of guilt and shame overcome the consciousness of an addict, he attempts to withdraw from the addiction cycle. There come withdrawal symptoms that may cause nervousness and anxiety, insomnia, body ache, depression, fever, suicidal thoughts, lethargy, hallucinations, irritation, and psychotic episodes. The severity of withdrawal symptoms can trigger a series of relapses which takes the addict back into his compulsive behavior of addiction.
This stage comes with mood swings, isolation, destructive thoughts, and other unhealthy behaviors. With the help of loved ones and substance abuse treatment programs, it is possible to interrupt the cycle. And the sober living house can make the transition even better. Let’s dig into how these facilities can help you return to your life effectively.
Sober Living House
The halfway houses or Sober living homes have worked for decades to bridge the gap between a rehabilitation center and the world outside of it. It helps addicts-now-sober to make necessary adjustments in their lives to make their transition easier in the real world.
When the professional help ends and a person returns to his normal life, there is a lot to adjust to. And there is always a chance of relapse and anything can derail the recovery and trigger the move. The Sober living homes accommodate a person to continue his path of sobriety by reinforcing the teachings of inpatient facilities.
Working With An Actionable Philosophy
The main philosophy of Sober living homes is to reinforce the residential and rehabilitation facilities treatment programs to avoid any proliferation by creating new social support systems. That includes a self-help group called 12-step, where attendance is mandatory. The group allows you to obtain a sponsor, provide your services to run it, and practice its 12 steps that encourage sobriety.
Making the Transition Easier
There is no doubt that destructive and negative living environments with no check and balance can be highly vulnerable for a person who is trying and taking help from a professional to come back to his normal life. The SLH’s are the facilities that provide peer support and gatherings to understand the psychiatric symptoms of a now sober person in the social gatherings. It also involves 12-step group attendance of people who are in the same line, so as to maintain that no one is alone in his struggles.
Provide A Safe & Healthy Environment
It also requires you to attend the living house meetings that need you to stay drug and alcohol-free. The facility offers no formal treatment programs but monitors your safety, health, and quality of living. It encourages a social model approach, a model of recovery that is peer-oriented, under efficient house rules that are managed by the resident council. It empowers residents with leadership positions to manage the house, run forums, take decisions and provide their input for better management. It allows you to create a social network to give mutual support to each other and avoid visits from any such relatives or friends who may take them back to their old habits.
Cycle of addiction might look like a constant loop but with proper care and treatment, it’s easier to break!