Addiction is a complex disease that is chronic, progressive, and often fatal if left untreated. One of the defining characteristics of addiction is a lack of power over drugs and alcohol, or an inability to stop using despite negative consequences. There is no “right time” to seek help for addiction, as our disease has often progressed much further than we thought by the time we recognize it as a problem. Harvard Medical School, in a 2011 Harvard Mental Health Letter, explains, “The word ‘addiction’ is derived from a Latin term for ‘enslaved by’ or ‘bound to.’ Anyone who has struggled to overcome an addiction — or has tried to help someone else to do so — understands why. Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. While overcoming addiction is possible, the process is often long, slow, and complicated. It took years for researchers and policymakers to arrive at this understanding.” We often experience these three manifestations of addiction before recognizing it as a problem for which we need help. The progression of the disease means that, at some point, we will pass a threshold where our using become chronic, compulsive, and we have lost the power of moderation entirely. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “When they first use a drug, people may perceive what seem to be positive effects; they also may believe that they can control their use. However, drugs can quickly take over a person’s life. Over time, if drug use continues, other pleasurable activities become less pleasurable, and taking the drug becomes necessary for the user just to feel ‘normal.’ They may then compulsively seek and take drugs even though it causes tremendous problems for themselves and their loved ones. Some people may start to feel the need to take higher or more frequent doses, even in the early stages of their drug use. These are the telltale signs of an addiction.” The earlier we come to realize that drugs and alcohol are having a negative affect on our lives, the better chance we have of recovery.
Your story doesn’t have to be one of pain and suffering as a result of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with experienced and compassionate professionals who understand the disease of addiction and are dedicated to helping clients develop all the tools necessary to live full and happy lives, free from substances. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777