When times are bad, it is understandable you may try to find an escape.
To use substance abuse as a way to block out all the bad around you and just ignore it as long as possible.
When a person experiences trauma, it changes the way the brain reacts to stress. It can cause it to become hypervigilant and treat any negative stimulus as high a threat as what caused the original trauma.
So yes, it is understandable why many who struggle with their mental health will have turned to substance abuse as a way to cope.
However, the danger is that just numbing the pain doesn’t actually solve the problem and will just cause it to get worse.
When a person relies on substance abuse as a form of self-medication, it opens up the doorway for a drug or alcohol dependency to be developed.
This is dangerous and will only negatively impact both your physical and mental health.
There are a few ways to know if your substance abuse has grown into a full-blown dependency.
The first is for you to examine your relationship with drugs or alcohol.
Do you find yourself craving your substance of choice and even experience trouble sleeping because of this?
Do you ever hide your drug or alcohol use or the amount you have used from people you love and trust?
Have you experienced mood swings such as bouts of depression, anxiety or anger when you have gone without abusing any substances?
These are all good early warning signs for the development of dependency.
But the best way to know without a doubt if you are living with a drug or alcohol dependency is if you have experienced withdrawal symptoms after going an extended period of time without drugs or alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous if experienced alone. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms after not using any drugs or alcohol, then contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
These accrue because substance abuse changes your brains chemistry.
For example, when you first start using, you create a rush of dopamine in your brain. As this is the feel-good chemical, your brain wants it to happen again.
However, over time you will need more and more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same effect.
At this point, your brain believes it needs drugs or alcohol in order to produce dopamine at all. So your brain makes you experience cravings.
When those cravings are ignored, your brain makes your body react violently, resulting in withdrawal symptoms.
Suppose you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms. In that case, it is undeniable, your substance abuse has developed into a drug or alcohol dependency. In order to overcome this, you will need professional help.
The kind of help best found within a rehab centre.
To put it simply, a rehab centre is a building where you stay and work through a series of treatments.
These treatments are designed to help you work towards long term recovery.
Within any rehab centre, all drugs and alcohol are prohibited unless they are prescribed by staff at the centre.
This prevents you from giving in to your cravings while you work through your withdrawal symptoms in a process known as a detox.
A detox is simply the process of weaning your body off all drugs and alcohol over the period of about ten days.
During this time, you will be monitored 24 hours a day by fully trained medical staff who can keep you as safe and comfortable as possible.
Detox should never be attempted outside the safety of a rehab centre, as the withdrawal symptoms can easily prove too much for a person to handle.
In order to avoid the same thing happening in the rehab centre, the medical staff are able to administer various medications to relieve the symptoms.
Once the detox has been completed, your body should be weaned off, and you won’t experience withdrawal symptoms from not abusing substances.
By handling the chemical dependency your body experiences, it frees you to concentrate on the rest of your treatments without the distraction of your cravings.
As we already mentioned, substance abuse is often the result of trauma and someone trying to numb the pain that comes from it.
Because of this, rehab centres have to do more than just wean people off drugs and alcohol. They also had to address the issue that led to substance abuse in the first place.
This will usually be done through group therapy. Here you, along with others staying at the rehab centre, will sit with a therapist and work through your trauma together.
You will also work to develop coping mechanisms to replace your substance abuse with a much healthier alternative.
In some cases, you may be referred for private therapy sessions. This is still perfectly normal and simply means that you require a more one to one approach to best unpack your trauma and improve your mental health.
Finishing your stay at a rehab doesn’t mean you have finished with your treatments.
When you leave, you will be given a relapse prevention plan that will include tools to help you avoid triggers for your cravings.
It will also refer you to a local support group or further therapy sessions. This is so a professional can monitor your progress and check up on your mental health from time to time.
This accountability allows you to have the freedom to make your own choices but know that there are people there to support you when you struggle and need help.
It’s perfectly normal to struggle. Everyone working towards long term recovery and even those that have reached it need help and support now and again.
The best thing you can do now is pick up your phone and give us a call at 0800 140 4690.
At Rehab 4 Addiction, we use our years of experience to match you with your perfect rehab centre. We put your safety and comfort at the top of our priority list.
We make sure to consider your preferences when we refer you to a rehab centre in the Highworth area.
Nothing is more important to us than finding you somewhere to aid in your recovery journey.
So just give us a call and let us handle the stress of finding a rehab centre so you can focus on your treatment.