Addiction is a disease, and like any disease, it requires thorough treatment. Many drug and alcohol addicts have trouble battling addiction on their own, but addiction patients can always find help when dealing with the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of the condition. Here are a few tips for battling addiction and avoiding a relapse.
1. Get medical attention
Many addicts try to use the "cold turkey" method, but this can have unintended consequences. Addiction medicine specialists can track dependence with specialized medical equipment and help their patients avoid major withdrawal symptoms like seizures. Insurance carriers typically cover addiction treatment, and as sudden drug and alcohol cessation can have life-threatening consequences, talking to a trained specialist is an essential first step to recovery.
Many addicts also visit psychologists and psychiatrists to develop a comprehensive physical and psychological anti-addiction plan. These professionals often make the battle much easier, and many primary care physicians can refer their addicted patients to qualified local psychiatric offices.
2. Find a recovery program
Recovery programs reduce the chances of a relapse and can provide valuable insight and support for addicts. The most popular addiction recovery programs are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Many addicts avoid recovery programs because of the religious elements in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. While AA doesn't insist on adherence to a particular religion, the program does insist on belief in a higher power.
Alternatives like Save Our Selves (SOS) may provide a better environment for some atheists and agnostics. Unfortunately, these less-popular programs are not available everywhere, so some addicts need to make slight alterations to the rules and literature of programs like AA in order to complete the steps to recovery.
Regardless of an addict's beliefs, some involvement with a recovery program will give the patient essential tools to deal with the psychological aspects of addiction.
3. Involve family and friends
By telling family members and friends about an addiction, patients remove much of the burden of a battle with addiction. Family members are often very helpful in avoiding relapses, especially if they get involved with the patient's recovery program.
Programs like AA and NA offer special sessions for family and friends of addicts. These sessions focus on recognizing the signs of drug use and providing a nurturing, positive environment for recovery. Addicts never need to face addiction alone, and family members can provide some much-needed help on the path to recovery.