Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease the has an effect on the entire family. It never stops its destruction with the addict themselves. Addiction often goes on to claim the relationships, security, and innocence of those who love and depend on the addict. No one is isolated enough to prevent their addiction from hurting those that they care about. It will happen, and when it does- everyone will need professional help to pick up the pieces. One of the most terrifying aspects of this disease is the way that it can slowly creep into someone’s life under the guise of something else altogether. It doesn’t discriminate. There’s no special test that can determine whether or not that first recreational drink will turn into twenty years of alcohol addiction.
Addiction can also be a slow process. No one wakes up one day and decides that they’d like to be desperately dependent on drugs and alcohol to feel normal. Yes, they may choose to try the drugs or to take that drink- but no one wants it to take over their lives. There are many different physiological and psychological factors that go into creating an addict. There is no single combination of factors that guarantee that someone will be unable to stop using. No two people are alike, and no two addicts use for exactly the same reasons.
Genetics play a factor to some extent. Infants born to addicted mothers are more than 60% more likely to become addicts themselves. Their brains have been trained in the uterus to respond to the effects of drugs and to regulate their internal cycles around it. It can take months for the baby to be comfortable without the drugs, and they may suffer permanent impairment. Nature and nurture are often contributing factors to the cycle of addiction that spans over generations. Early detection of addictive behaviors paired with early intervention at a rehab for drug and alcohol dependence can help many people go on to live full and happy lives.
There are only two options for addicts- freedom from the drugs and alcohol or death. Many addicts who are still in the grip of their disease will justify these consequences away or find ways to ignore them. They can be extremely convincing, and can often fool friends and family into believing that they don’t have a problem. Sometimes, it can take a devastating event triggered by the addictive behaviors to open anyone’s eyes to the depths of the real problem.
There are small changes that can indicate a growing dependence on drugs and alcohol that friends and family should look for. The addict will display behavioral changes that may be dependent on their drug of choice. Mood swings, excessive energy or drowsiness, more time alone, changing their peer group, a shortage of money, weight loss and obvious intoxication are only a few of the more apparent signs.
An addict will lie. This is true of almost every person who’s become dependent on any substance. Their greatest fears and their greatest joys will revolve entirely around whether or not they have access to their drugs. Nothing else matters, and they will lie to be able to keep using. That becomes the entire motivation behind their actions, and addicts get very good at finding ways to stay high. At this point, the drugs have taken control- and the addict will no longer be thinking about their own well-being. This is when is becomes imperative to step in and to attempt to get that person some sort of professional help. This can be a terrifying time, but no one has to do it alone. A rehab center can provide the necessary support that everyone needs when entering recovery.