More than 22 million adults in the United States have struggled with substance abuse or addiction. 

The numbers continue to grow while communities are drifting further apart.

Now more than ever, it’s time to ban together in support with friends, families, and neighbors to address this pervasive, manipulative battle. 

Those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction, and their families, deserve proper education, support, and guidance as they navigate this debilitating disease. Plus, fantastic support makes a world of difference in the overall outcome. 

What causes Addiction Issues?

Frankly, anyone can fall victim to substance abuse and addiction. From simply falling into the wrong crowd of friends to self-medicating due to a mental illness, substances may be a cover for the user not to feel or deal with daily struggles. 

Studies have shown that individuals with drug use disorder are 1.3 times as likely to experience clinical depression, 1.6 times as likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 1.8 times as likely to have a borderline personality disorder when compared to people without drug use disorder. Those numbers are staggering!

Rather than receiving proper treatment, those struggling often take medicine into their own hands. Getting out of that habit takes more than saying, “I’m done with this.” Ending the cycle of addiction takes an understanding of the effects of substances on your body and brain, support from your closest people, and a willingness to do the more profound work. 

Having said that, when it comes to substance abuse and addiction, an individual needs to be ready to make the life changes necessary to be substance-free, healthy, and happy; it is not something another person can force.

Why is Substance Abuse so challenging to overcome?

Overcoming addiction must be a holistic process. Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is one of the hardest things a person can do. A person may wholeheartedly want to feel better, get sober, but the addict must address cravings, triggers, and more profound problems. 

When a person uses a substance, the brain floods with chemicals that take over the brain’s reward system. And who doesn’t want to feel rewarded? The reward is what we’re all after, and this is what makes habits stick. 

While being rewarded, the brain becomes tolerant of the drug and needs more to continue providing the same result. The user is now chasing that “feel good” or numb feeling; hence, addiction takes hold. Having an addiction is similar to any other habit we humans have. It just so happens that abusing substances is often more harmful and even deadly

But, there is hope. Addiction is treatable.

How Can I Support Someone Struggling with Addiction?

Substance abuse, addiction, and knowing how to help are challenging.  

As much as you want to be a knight in shining armor, galloping in and saving the day, you can’t. The first way to help is by understanding what’s happening psychologically and physically with the user. Unfortunately, none of us are mind readers, so starting by listening will make a world of difference. 

Offering your loved one counseling and recovery resources will plant a seed for your loved one. It may even give them the confidence to follow through with those searches. It is less intimidating when you feel loved and supported.

Substance abuse and addiction are brutal for everyone involved. At I Choose Change, we recognize these difficulties and are passionate about guiding the person struggling with substance abuse and the whole family. Connect with one of our counselors and see how, together, we can start paving the way for a healthier, happier life!