Three Common Addictions and How to Overcome Them

Addiction affects millions of people in the United States each year, and it does not discriminate between class, profession or gender. Psychologists still don’t understand everything about how and why addiction occurs, but they do know that it is a mental and physical disease that can affect anyone who drinks, smokes or takes drugs.

Some people may be genetically predisposed to addiction, while others may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them with physical or emotional pain. Either way, this kind of dependency dramatically alters both the brain and body, creating a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break. Here are three of the most common addictions and the steps to take to overcome them.

Nicotine

We all know that smoking is detrimental to our health, yet it’s rarely as simple as just giving up the habit. You may be psychologically addicted to the act of smoking, as well as physically addicted to the nicotine, so quitting cold turkey will cause dramatic withdrawal symptoms.

You need to tackle a nicotine addiction one day at a time. Get your physician onside and ask about nicotine alternatives such as patches and gum. Alternatively, you could switch over to e-cigarettes, which are considered less harmful than traditional cigarettes due to their lack of chemical toxins. You can purchase e-cigarettes and liquids here. Exercise is also considered an effective way to combat nicotine cravings and reduce stress during the withdrawal process.

Alcohol

If you find yourself reliant on alcohol to get through the day, or you turn to drink as an escape from emotional problems, then you could have an alcohol addiction. As any recovered alcoholic will tell you, getting sober is not easy, and there may not be a “one size fits all” treatment, but there are many different paths to successful recovery.

Recovery may include going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, avoiding “high risk” environments like bars and restaurants, seeking psychological therapy and even checking into rehab. However, before you attempt to stop drinking, it’s vital that you consult a healthcare professional, as sudden withdrawal can pose serious health risks.

Prescription Drugs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 20% of the U.S. population has taken prescription drugs for non-medical reasons during their lifetime, and that number is on the rise. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids for pain relief, benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax, and stimulants such as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

It’s important to realize that although you took the drugs voluntarily, to begin with, addiction of this kind is considered a chronic brain disease. In other words, over time the drugs will affect your brain chemistry and cause strong impulsions to take more, so you will lose control of your habit very quickly. Drug addiction is difficult to combat, but it’s not impossible. You will need to seek support from friends and family and attend an outpatient drug treatment program referred by your healthcare professional.

Conclusion

If you’re worried you may have an addiction, there is no need to feel ashamed. Dependence on drugs or alcohol can arise from mental illness or difficulty coping with life events, and it could affect anyone at any time. It’s important to remember that however hopeless it feels, there is always a chance of recovery, and there are people out there who are willing to help you. Speak to your primary care physician, or call the Substance Abuse National Helpline free on 1-800-662-HELP.

Thanks to Lauren

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