by Restorations Therapy Center on Thursday, April 15th, 2021
Individuals that have never gone through addiction most likely don’t understand what it’s like to have the disease. Addiction is perpetuated by stigmas surrounding the disease, causing people to believe that addiction is a choice and relapse is due to lack of willpower. By understanding what it is like to struggle with addiction, people can understand what their loved ones are going through and support them properly without making harmful assumptions.
Stigma surrounding addiction often portrays the disease as a choice. When individuals hear about cravings, they often think that these are simply the person wanting the substances. They may also believe that individuals lack willpower and cannot resist drugs and alcohol — they must just be “weak.” However, cravings stem from the body’s dependence on substances, meaning it functions as though it can’t live without them. This dependency causes the person to seemingly need the drugs to survive.
Despite the common belief that addiction is a choice, it is a chronic disease that “hijacks” the brain’s reward system. The person experiences pleasure when they consume drugs and alcohol, and any pain they experience prompts them to continue using to feel that pleasure again. The brain will also stop producing certain chemicals such as dopamine in normal quantities — it relies on the drugs to provide it. This process in the brain is how individuals become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Remember, no one would choose to struggle with addiction.
When a person stops using drugs or alcohol after developing an addiction to the substances, withdrawal symptoms set in. These cause mental and physical pain, including symptoms such as sweats, headaches, insomnia, depression, nausea, chills, and more. It is enough to make those that want to get clean cave just to stop the pain. It is not a lack of willpower but rather an attempt at getting rid of the pain.
Struggling with addiction is something that only individuals that go through it will understand. However, explaining the mental and physical pain that comes with the disease can help loved ones understand what others are going through. Restorations Therapy is aware of the stigmas surrounding addiction, and we want to help fight against them. We offer educational programs for friends and families of loved ones with addictions as well as programs for those struggling. Through our wide range of treatments and personalized care, we believe that anyone can find recovery and learn to maintain it. Call us today to learn more at (720) 446-6585.