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What is Addiction
What is addiction? Addiction is a chronic disease that alters the chemistry of the brain. Restoration of proper brain biochemistry helps to break the cycle of addiction. Our program is a three phase approach to treat brain restoration, Release/Recover/Restore™. By releasing the hold on the brain receptors, replenishing the necessary brain nutrients, and allowing for long-termed restoration of the brain patterns, patients have reported significant reduction of cravings and desire to use. Our treatment restores focus, stabilizes moods, and reduces cravings.
Using a substance may be by choice in the beginning or as innocent as filling the doctor’s prescription. Either way, for most, the intent was never to become an addict. Yes, some people can use drugs without becoming addicted and yet others are instantly “hooked”. The potential for addiction is more than simply no will-power. Factors such as genetics, environment, trauma, family issues, being impulsive, stressful job, and emotional stability play a role. Addiction is a disease with marked changes demonstrated in the brain itself. Addiction is not something chosen, but rather a physical shift in brain pattering. And, these brain changes caused by repeated substance use make it extremely difficult to stop. Thus relapse is predictable and frequent to the addicted brain.
Many people, including family and loved ones might think that the addict could just stop using, that they are choosing to use the drugs and/or alcohol over them. Thoughts like “If he loved me, he’d stop” or “If she really cared…..” Truthfully, watching an addicted person make choices can be confusing and devastating to the sober mind. It’s common to assume that the life of an addict is by choice. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as an enduring condition that triggers the user to compulsively search out and use substances. And, their use is not tied to potential negative repercussions. Whether it involves loss of friends, family, job, etc., the powerful grip of chemical addiction persists. In addition, when dependency exists, the addict’s body will require the drug to just feel normal and fight back with symptoms of withdrawal when trying to stop. Withdrawal can be painful and potentially dangerous without medical supervision. Addiction is not about will power at all.
People addicted to substances exist in every walk of life. There is no stereotype for addiction, and addiction impacts everyone. Misinformation and lumping addiction into a predictability pattern is incorrect and short sighted. Your child’s grade school teacher, your co-worker, your doctor, your plumber, your friend, or your family member may suffer from addiction.
From people using marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine, the rate of addiction varies from 8%-10%. There are warning signs of actual addiction like, changing relationships and mood, argumentative behavior, loss of sleep patter and lethargy. And, all drug users aren’t necessarily addicted. Addiction is different for everyone and relates specifically to the individual.
Many prescribed medications have the potential for abuse and addiction. Doctors mean well, the challenge being how to balance the need for medication and the potential for addiction and abuse. Abused medications include Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Sleeping medications, Adderall, and more. Prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl are well known to cause addiction. More than 115 people in America die every day due to accidental misuse of these drugs–that’s one person every 12 minutes. The DEA goes on to state that nearly 26 million people admitted lifetime hydrocodone abuse in 2012.
Addicts would like you to believe this nonsense. The truth is that “highly functioning addicts” are in severe denial and ultimately will pay the price with lost productivity, absenteeism, and deteriorating health. And yet, many addicts do hold down jobs for long periods of time. The work supplies funds for their habit and often is one of the last areas to show signs of addiction. Families, children, parents, and friends will be affected long before the symptoms of addiction show up at work.
There are “serious” drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine with a reputation for being highly addictive and dangerous. Although these drugs carry a perceived risk, they are not alone. Alcohol, to include beer and wine, is widely used recreationally and not considered a “hard” drug; however, its dangerous nature is easy to track. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 88,000 people die each year in the U.S. from alcohol-related issues. The effects of any alcohol can impair judgment, decrease coordination, and bring about unwanted physical and mental health issues. Even a substance that has a low risk of addiction like beer, wine, and hard liquor can be very problematic depending on the individual.
Not only is this untrue, this type of attitude and response can be detrimental to the addict trying to recover. Recovery is a path requiring support and non-judgment. Families often respond incorrectly to the cry for help. Consistency, boundaries, positivity, and affirmative action, when appropriate will help in the recovery process. Inconsistency with expectations, being negative and shaming, and looking to the addict as the sole cause of the problem, can possibly trigger a relapse. Families could be supportive and encourage accountability for the situation to encourage recovery.
Acknowledging rehab as a long-term approach rather than a quick fix is important to the recovering addict. Effective life-changing results depend on the attitude of the addict, the support of the family, and a proven path to sobriety that is workable and attainable. Life style changes, counseling, medication, and brain recovery with synchronization offer a new brain pattern and lifelong approach to living clean. The entire body must be addressed as the effects of abuse will physically alter the brain and body chemistry for years to come. Brain restoration takes time, often years.
A relapse is just that, a relapse. It doesn’t return the addict back to square one necessarily. Brain chemistry can be quickly reset in the few days immediately after a relapse. Time is of the essence. Once the pattern is reset to subdue the cravings, the brain will continue to heal and cravings will subside. Relapse is just an opportunity to learn and to change a brain pattern. Feelings like shame, anxiety, hopelessness, and guilt tend to flame the fire of relapse. Remember, relapse is simply a part of the entire recovery process and not uncommon. It can open the door to new and different approaches to the recovery cycle. Adapting and changing to the current situation can offer new hope and clarity.
Addiction & Myths
Addiction is a slippery slope coated with misinformation and confusion. When non-facts are treated as facts, feelings get hurt, families destroyed, and the potential for relapse is almost a given. By better understanding the addiction cycle of relapse, sobriety, relapse, sobriety, etc., and the truth about addiction, science and evidence based recovery is the best and safest approach. Sobriety and restraint from all addictive substances is simply the start to regaining a whole life. With the end game meaning complete brain recovery, brain chemistry and synchronization is at the forefront. NAD supplementation, nutrition, counseling and lifestyle changes further promote a healthy brain….a healthy life. At Total Regenerative Medical Health, we help you take back your life. We help you “change your story” to a clean life free from addiction. Taking back your life helps repair damaged relationships and your damaged body. It’s not a quick fix, but a path to the life you deserve to enjoy to its fullest. The steps to long term sobriety are Relief-Repair-Recover-Wellness ….for life.
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