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4 Best Ways to Educate Yourself About Addiction

4 Best Ways to Educate Yourself About Addiction

Search the Internet for the latest information about addiction in general, as well as the specific type you are dealing with

Once you realize you or someone you love has an addiction, you are going to want to know as much as you can about it.  You will want to know how it has been affecting you and why, and of course, what you can do about it.

First you need to understand that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so.”

Addiction is a “chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her,” NIDA reports. The Institute points out that the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but because the brain actually changes over time, it compromises self-control and the ability to resist impulses to take drugs.

Research and Teach Yourself About Your Addiction

There is a lot of help for addiction, but you need to find what is right for you and your situation. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to find help.

  1. Talk to others who have been through what you are going through. You can find helplines and referrals from SAMHSA, or ask trusted friends and family members.
  2. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on how and where to get help. That help can include various types of treatments and therapies, which may help you understand how you got started toward the addiction in the first place.
  3. Go to a meeting. There are group meetings for specific types of addictions where you will find people who understand, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

In your research it is important to remember that what you do with that information will make all the difference. “What we need to do is caringly and carefully investigate people’s actual experiences using their substance of choice in a way that assumes there are real needs and intelligence built into the person’s compulsion to use the substance,” David Bedrick writes in Psychology Today. Only through this approach … can we can discover the deeper reasons and meaning behind people’s use and abuse of substances.” He also notes that only when a person finds alternative routes to addressing those legitimate needs will sustainable treatment be reached.

Dr. Ben C. Fletcher writes that even when people know they need to change and they know what they need to do to set the problem straight, sometimes they still don’t do what needs to be done. You need to educate yourself so you know what would help you, and you also have to want it, too, Fletcher writes. “We have all sorts of drivers and habits that keep us doing what we do and prevent us from doing what we need.”

Why Is it Important?

It is important to know as much as you can about your addiction so that you will understand what is happening to you. You also must know about it so that you will notice and be aware of “red flags” in your recovery. You do not want to be blindsided by a behavior – for instance, if you are in recovery for alcohol abuse, you should know that all other types of addictive substances will take you down the same destructive path. Just because you stop using one thing, does not mean that you are able to partake in another substance, which has similar addictive attributes.

Also you should be aware of related behavioral addictions that can intrude on your actions. You may not realize that something as seemingly innocent as eating, using the Internet or sex could be related to your original addiction. But these things can themselves turn into addictions, as your brain searches for a way to achieve a similar high that it had during the time of substance use.

Find Help Today

Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patient. The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services, NIDA says. It provides many resources, including answering questions about every aspect of drug and alcohol abuse, addiction and treatment.

If you or a loved one in San Diego is struggling with addiction and needs help locating resources, admissions coordinators at our toll-free helpline can answer your questions. They are available 24/7 and can direct you in your search for knowledge.