How To Overcome An Addiction? Tips And Treatments To Stop Addiction

Overcoming an addiction, whatever type it may be, is a difficult process and requires a lot of effort and will. If you are wondering how to quit an addiction, this article may interest you.

Keys to overcoming addictions

The addiction It is a complex disorder since it involves the interaction between multiple biological, psychological and social factors. Therefore, contrary to what many people think, addiction is not a choice but is the result of a genetic predisposition along with multiple factors.

Currently, the most common addictions They are addiction to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, gambling and new technologies. Although each addiction has characteristics that may be different, there are certain factors that occur in all of them. Here we explain what they are and what you can do if you have this disorder.

What is addiction?

The addiction It is considered a disorder in which a dependence on an activity or substance develops while pleasure is lost from other activities that previously provided satisfaction. Although there are different types of additions the mechanisms involved in maintenance are tolerance and withdrawal syndrome:

  • Tolerance: Tolerance, as the word indicates, occurs when a person repeatedly consumes a drug or repeats an activity. This ends up causing the activity or drug to lose its pleasurable effect, that is, a tolerance to the effects is created. For this reason, the person must increase the doses or activity to obtain the same effects that he previously obtained with less.
  • Abstinence syndrome: The characteristics of the withdrawal syndrome vary depending on the addiction. However, it is characterized by the presence of physical and/or emotional symptoms that are contrary to those generated by the drug or activity. These are, for example, insomnia, agitation, anxiety, irritability, difficulties in experiencing
    experience pleasure (anhedonia), depression, etc. Withdrawal syndrome, therefore, is a factor in maintaining addiction since when the person does not consume or do not carry out a certain activity, they feel bad physically and emotionally.
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What are your symptoms?

In general terms, the symptoms suffered are the following:

  1. Loss of interest in other activities: The person no longer feels pleasure in the activities they previously enjoyed, not because they have chosen that way, but because addictions produce brain changes that end up causing the person to only enjoy the consumption of a drug or the performance of a certain behavior.
  2. Inflexible and compulsive search: In order to achieve the effects, the person will compulsively and inflexibly seek out the drug or perform an activity regardless of the consequences that this may entail.
  3. Loss of control: People who suffer from addiction have a loss of control; they cannot control the activity or consumption of a certain drug.
  4. Dependence: Addiction is not a choice, the person has a high dependency. In fact, the body has become accustomed to a certain dose of neurotransmitters associated with addiction, so non-compliance or non-consumption generates a body imbalance and therefore, uncomfortable symptoms that are difficult to bear.
  5. Increased tolerance: As I have already mentioned before, tolerance implies that the person has to increase the doses of a drug or the dedication to an activity to obtain the same effects that they previously obtained with less.
  6. Problems in different aspects of life: Addiction is characterized by a high interference in the daily life of the person who suffers from it since their routine focuses exclusively on the addiction. It is for this reason that they usually present couple problems family, academic and work.

How to quit an addiction? Tips

Taking into account that addictions generate an alteration in brain functioning and that the withdrawal syndrome causes intense discomfort, it is best to not quit the addiction on your own However, these tips (along with psychological treatment) can help you in this process:

  1. Don’t blame yourself for having an addiction: The feeling of guilt is usually present in most people who suffer from an addiction. Symptoms such as compulsive and obsessive searching and loss of control lead people to engage in behaviors that they are not entirely proud of and they end up feeling guilty for not being able to stop them. However, guilt can negatively influence the treatment process, so it is advisable to treat it and replace it with a feeling of responsibility.
  2. Ask your loved ones for help: Overcoming an addiction requires a lot of perseverance, effort and will. Relapses are usually frequent and it is advisable to surround yourself with those people who can provide us with emotional support.
  3. Avoid situations that can make you relapse: Sometimes, activities may appear that may be directly related to the addiction and that, therefore, may favor relapses. The most advisable thing is that at the beginning of this process, this type of situation is completely avoided and as progress is made in overcoming it, it is advisable to keep in mind what you are going to do, how you are going to act, etc.
  4. If you relapse, don’t beat yourself up but don’t minimize relapses: Relapses are very common in this process but that does not mean that it has failed or that all the work done is no longer useful. However, it is important that you do not minimize them and that when they occur you communicate it with the professional who is accompanying you.
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Treatments for addictions:

Treatment is not an easy process so how long it takes to overcome an addiction It is variable and depends on each case and circumstance. However, there are certain treatments that have shown good results:

Psychological treatment:

The main psychological therapies that have demonstrated the most scientific evidence for the treatment of addictions are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy focuses mainly on the development of strategies focused on increasing the control that the person has over themselves. In addition, you are helped to identify the causes of addictive behavior such as those situations that may involve relapses.
  • Interactional-strategic therapy: It focuses on identifying the individual’s resources and strengths, using past successes to boost confidence. Therefore, this therapy focuses more on capabilities than on pathology.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the search for those conflicts and/or dysfunctional relationships that would be maintaining the addictive behavior. Therefore, the objective of this therapy is for the patient to know how her past influences her addiction.
  • Family therapy: Sometimes, there are certain family dynamics that promote, maintain or aggravate addiction. This type of therapy is used when the patient expresses strong family conflicts or addictions in other members that end up causing it to persist. Therefore, family therapy focuses on working on communication between members as well as working on those dysfunctional areas.

Pharmacotherapy:

In the case of the drug addictions Along with psychological treatment, drugs are usually indicated to treat both drug addiction and withdrawal syndrome. In the case of alcohol, for example, a drug called Antabuse is usually indicated, which must be taken when the person drinks alcohol. What this drug causes is very unpleasant sensations such as vomiting, nausea, etc. Therefore, it helps the person stop associating pleasant effects with the consumption of the drug.

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Remember that having an addiction does not make you a weak person and you have no reason to be ashamed of this situation. However, it is necessary that you ask for professional help so that a psychologist can help you individually in this process.