According to the National Institute of Health, addiction recovery centers are starting to embrace models of service that closely resemble service models used to address chronic conditions. Researchers indicate that this change is due in part to the fact that drug use, recently characterized as a chronic condition as well, has been found to drastically alter quality of life for even the most casual of users. According to the NIH, substance use disorders are most often characterized as degenerative patterns of substance use that lead to “clinically severe impairment or distress” and have the potential to affect “physcial or psychological functioning; personal safety; social relations, roles and obligations; work; and other areas.” These disorders can be as severe as chronic substance addiction and increasing tolerance to illicit substances, or as seemingly innocuous as a craving for a fix.Within this definition, those that regularly abuse substances often seek a means to stop these consequences and gain a better quality of life, as opposed to quitting because they inherently know the substance abuse is inherently wrong. This, in part, is also why it’s comparatively harder for a user to quit “cold turkey,” or to quit at all without professional help.While quality of life can be measured by a number of factors, studies seem to indicate that the issue for many addicts is even more extreme than ranking low on a few happiness surveys. In fact, the overarching problem for drug users is the sheer fact that they seem to simply have more problems than everyone else– specifically when it comes to social and professional categories. Things like “ability to find and keep a good paying job” and “intimacy with family and friends” are two such categories, but findings show that addicts even rank low in categories like morality and empathy.As with most things in this world of medicine, treatment, and care, however, all is not lost for those suffering from substance abuse. With the programs that addiction recovery centers are implementing all over the country, drug users looking to kick their habits can learn strategies that will allow them to drastically improve their quality of life over time. In fact, here at Anchored Recovery, we offer resources that include peer-to-peer services and coaching, support groups, relapse prevention, and even education and job training. For continued support and integration into healthy communities and groups, we also encourage recovering users to surround themselves with new and supportive friend groups that champion positive socialization and activities.
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