The stakes are against your loved one if he or she does not attend a drug rehabilitation program for a drug use disorder. Drug use disorder is known as a “relapsing” disease because the drugs permanently changed your loved one’s brain so that he constantly feels as if he must seek his drug of choice. This makes it so that even if people manage to stop using drugs for several years, there is always the possibility that they could go back to using them again.
Drug use disorder is the type of condition that rarely allows people to stop using the drug even if they desperately want to do this. This may be what is happening to your family member. You can understand this if you think back to your first drink. You took one sip and decided that you didn’t like it, so you decided never to drink again because you aren’t addicted. In the same vein, if you tried heroine and didn’t like how you felt, you could easily decide not to take heroine again. This is not how is it when you are addicted.
The Definition of Drug Addiction
A drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes you to seek your drug of choice even though you know that it is harming you. That is because you can no longer control your use of the drug. In the beginning, you were able to control when you took your drugs, but repeated drug use gives the substance a chance to change your brain so that you cannot resist the urge to use the drug.
It may seem hopeless, but it really is not. Relapse is a very common thing. It doesn’t mean that the treatment didn’t work. It is like any chronic physical disease. For example, diabetes must be treated and monitored throughout the person’s life, and this is how it is with drug use disorder. Your loved one’s circumstances will change throughout the years, so his or her treatment regimen must also change.
The Making of a Drug Addiction
When you take a drug, it targets the reward circuit in your brain, and it is the cause of the euphoria that occurs when the brain receives an avalanche of dopamine. This action encourages you to seek those pleasurable feelings again and take more of the drug.
During this process, the brain adapts to your drug use, and it keeps the cells that respond to the drug from being able to do so. When this happens, you cannot feel the same as you did the first time that you took the drug. This means that you are becoming “tolerant.” At the same time, your loved one cannot derive pleasure from the things she used to enjoy.
Drug use also causes additional changes in the brain that affect the following:
- The person’s behavior
- The person’s memory
- The feeling of stress
- The person’s ability to make a decision
- The person’s judgment
- The person’s ability to learn
The Definition of Withdrawal
You can take drugs regularly for several years, months or even for several weeks, and you may find it difficult to stop suddenly. When you do this, you begin to experience physical and mental symptoms that can make it difficult for you to continue your quest to stop taking drugs. This is known as “withdrawal.”
Withdrawal symptoms depend on the type of drug that your loved one is taking, but the following are a few that occur after your loved one stops his or her drug use:
- Difficulties sleeping
- A runny nose
- Pain in the muscles
- Mood swings
- Changes in eating habits
Several drugs can cause withdrawal symptoms, including the following:
Treatment Is not a Cure
A substance use disorder can be treated, but we can never say that we can cure the condition. We can treat it so that your loved one will be able to manage his or her addiction. The possibility of a relapse will be with him for his entire life, but the best chance for someone to live with a drug addiction without going back to using the drug is to enter into a program that offers a medical detox program and behavioral therapy afterwards. The treatment plan will be tailored specifically to your loved one’s needs so that she can advance toward recovery.
If you are ready to get started, we are here to help. Call us today at 833-762-3739. Our counselors are waiting to hear from you.