Over 20 million people in the United States who require treatment for drug addiction do not receive it, and that has led to a number of those millions slipping through the cracks of society and succumbing to the ravages of addiction.
The Dependency Issue
Drug addiction is categorized as a diagnosable dependence on a medication or illegal drug. Unfortunately, addictive tendencies are only growing within both the illegal market and the prescription market. The Oxycontin industry in particular has dealt damage on a national level. Excessive use of any drug poses harmful consequences for the health and well-being of the user. As such, true addiction is legitimized when a person is unable to stop or even abate their drug habit regardless of the costs it reaps on personal well-being. Dependency can rear its addictive head from a variety of situations, including early exposure to drugs or meditation, unregulated use of prescription drugs, and even the casual use of many drugs like marijuana that too many people treat with a glibness that disrespects the addictive qualities of every drug and every habit attached to that drug.
What the Contributing Factors Reveal About Addiction
When most people think of drug addiction, they conjure images of Hollywood stars portraying heroin addicts, or reflect back on the cigarettes and tobacco controversies that rifled through the legislation and legalities of prior decades, but the modern face of addiction can oftentimes be subtle and insidious. Functioning addicts are much more dangerous than dysfunctional ones, because the functioning addict can oftentimes mask the obvious symptoms of their addiction and continue unnoticed by friends, family and co-workers. Alcoholism follows a similar trail of destruction when dealing with functional alcoholics who are privately addicted to alcohol but publicly moderated or disciplined in such a way that their private struggle remains private.
Acknowledgement is a large part of the problem. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over 23 million people above the age of twelve required treatment for drug problems, with only 2 million of them actually receiving treatment. This is why public acknowledgement is unequivocally one of the first steps to getting better, but functional addicts have a harder time admitting they have a problem than other addicts largely because they are so capable of dealing with their addiction that it may continue unabated until serious health or financial problems arise.
The psychology of dependency is difficult to pinpoint to any one underlying cause, and that is the reason why most drug treatments focus on immediate measures to quit the addiction rather than preventative measures to dissuade those who might be predisposed to addictive tendencies from falling into drugs. Doctors and healthcare professionals do some marginal screenings with their patients in order to look for any previous history of addiction and potentially prescribe lower doses of drugs with more diluted potencies, but the causes of addiction are a miasma, and it’s difficult to diagnose beyond the frank fact of the drug problem itself. Inpatient treatment can help to teach people ways to avoid returning to dependency and addiction, but the current medical consensus is that drug addiction can be a disease, and similar to alcoholism, it is most often prevented through acknowledgement and support groups.
The sad fact of dependency is that it rarely goes away completely, remaining an itch that will often cycle back into destructive habits and tendencies.
Relapsing: The Never-Ending Addiction
Recovery from drug addiction can oftentimes be a constant fight of discipline and willpower, especially in those cases when a patient became addicted to drugs based off a substantial psychological or personal proclivity. Addiction is not a surface level problem, and oftentimes has deeper roots in behavior and brain function. Due to this, many people relapse back into their addiction after the recovery process.
Following are the two most common reasons why many addicts relapse, and the potential risks to avoid when trying to remain on the path of the sober and the clean.
Often, drug use comes about due to situational pressures involving community, friends or even family. Patients who come from environments that encouraged or even necessitated drug use oftentimes return to those environments after their treatment, and inevitably fall back into the vicious cycle propagated by context.
Believe it or not, boredom is a major component in many relapse cases. Addiction seems like a slew of negativity and consequences, but most drugs carry effects of immediate relief, or a ‘high,’ and that can lure many patients back into drugs if their everyday life fails to live up to the expectations set by their dependency. Heroin and methamphetamine in particular are poisonously stimulating, creating moods that many patients will relapse back into if their everyday life is lacking in excitement or interest.
No single treatment is going to be effective for every addict. The most effective treatments tackle the addiction holistically, through counseling and support groups that are designed to stave off the above-mentioned lifestyle and boredom situations that might cause patients to relapse. Anyone who is going through drug addiction should seek inpatient treatment immediately, and acknowledge the problems in their life without inhibitions.