Watching someone that you love struggle with addiction is frustrating. You might question why they can’t just stop using drugs or alcohol. It is also common for family members to wonder where they went wrong. People who care about addicts in their life often feel angry, confused and even a sense of loss over how their relationship is changing. For many years, addiction was treated as a personal flaw, and there are still many misconceptions about how addiction works. Exploring the truth behind why are people addicts helps you move forward with understanding why your loved one behaves the way they do and the best ways to help.
No one wakes up one day and decides that they want to be an addict. In fact, most addicts wake up each day hoping to turn their lives around. Addiction typically begins slowly, and a person doesn’t always realize how far they’ve lost control until drastic things happen in their life. Although it is sometimes necessary to separate yourself from someone’s negative behaviors, it is important to reach out and try to get an addict to seek professional treatment that helps them address the reasons behind their addiction.
Do Genes Play a Role?
It often seems that addiction runs in families. In some cases, you might even see several addicts in a family using the same types of drugs. Current research indicates that genes do play some type of role in addiction. Certain genes may impact how a person’s body metabolizes and responds to drugs and alcohol. There might also be genes that influence things such as cravings and the ability to control one’s actions. While genes can impact who is at risk for addiction, it is important to understand that other factors play a role in who goes on to need treatment at a rehab center. Learned behaviors are another reason why addiction happens. Children who grow up watching their family members drink or use drugs might begin to feel like it is normal. It is also common for other social factors to exist within families that contribute to addiction. People who grow up dealing with abuse or poverty may be inclined to use drugs to cope with their emotions.
How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Brain?
The reason why addiction often starts out slowly is that drugs and alcohol change the brain over time. Every time a person uses drugs, the body responds by releasing hormones such as dopamine that send signals to the brain that reward the behavior. Once these hormones wear off, the addict tends to experience cravings. Severe addiction alters the brain in ways that lead to withdrawal symptoms. When the body believes that it needs the drugs to survive, a person might experience body aches, nausea and insomnia. Seizures and comas are also possible if the person has a severe response to trying to quit drugs on their own. This is especially a concern for people with an addiction to opioids or alcohol. Going to rehab is often necessary to help an addict recover without putting their health at risk. In rehab, your loved one is put in touch with people who can help them begin to restore their brain and the rest of their body back to health. It takes time to get the brain to go back to its normal functioning, but every addict has the ability to recover.
Is It Possible to Overcome Addiction?
The cycle of addiction makes it seem impossible to get better, but there is still hope for your loved one. Overcoming addiction is a long process that begins in rehab and continues after your loved one returns home.
In rehab, your loved one receives treatment services that include the following:
- intensive one-on-one counseling
- group therapy
- assistance through the withdrawal process
- family counseling
- relapse prevention care
One of the biggest things that happens in rehab is that addicts finally begin to let go of their negative emotions regarding their habits. Many addicts struggle with guilt, shame and fear regarding their addiction, and these emotions only feed the need to keep using drugs. Walking into a rehab center where everyone understands why someone would use drugs or alcohol is freeing.
Letting go of the guilt and recognizing that addiction has physical components that influence behavior allows your loved one to begin rebuilding their self-esteem and desire to live a healthier lifestyle. Are you still trying to figure out the reasons behind your loved one’s addiction? Give us a call at 833-497-3808 today. We can share ways that you can help them begin the process of recovery.