The Road to Healing from Addiction
Research suggests that illness caused by addiction is the number one lifestyle disease around the world. Most often, the urge to repeatedly engage in certain behaviors in order to continue experiencing a sense of euphoria, is the common cause of chemical or behavioral addiction. Addiction is a chronic habit that undermines the health, work, relationships and even the self-respect of an individual.
“Individuals with behavioral addictions… score high on self-report measures of impulsivity and sensation-seeking and generally low on measures of harm avoidance… also score high on measures of compulsivity.”
Addiction goes beyond gender or age. It is caused by various psychological and socio-cultural factors. Addiction throws an individual into a loop of negative and adverse consequences. It causes several temporary and permanent changes to the brain and body, which, if prolonged, may leave a severe impact that may be difficult to recover from.
Studies show that co-occurring addictions, mostly those that are behavioral coupled with untreated or underlying mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder, also lead to chemical addiction.
Healing from addiction, first and foremost, requires the understanding of the causes of addiction. Addiction, whether chemical or behavioral, occurs due to repetitive actions. Now, these actions that create instant gratification interferes with the ability of the individual to resist the compulsion that causes one to repeatedly engage in the activity or behavior. A number of experts believe that reinforcement or promotion of such behaviors is the root cause of addictive tendencies.
Next is the availability or the degree of accessibility of addictive stressors. Some may indulge to relieve physical or emotional pain. Such escapism causes a dopamine surge that induces a cyclic reaction of addiction-related behaviors. Some may even be genetically predisposed to certain chemical or behavioral addictions which if identified early could prove to be highly successful in recovery. Hence, treatment plans need to begin by addressing underlying causes of addictive behaviors to achieve optimal recovery success from addiction.
According to the NAATP:
“Only 1 in 10 people with addiction receive treatment.”
Points to consider and reflect upon:
Identify your issue. Do not be in denial or defend your state of being. From acceptance comes the will power to change and this will simplify your road to healing.
2. Find your purpose and declutter your past
Write down a list of questions you would want to carry along, to motivate you through your process of healing. Why do you want to get healed? Who are you healing for? What will healing result in? What is the cost of addiction?
3. Take responsibility
Do not blame those around you or yourself even, for what was. Take responsibility for your actions and look forward to what will be. Lose the inhibitions; there is no shame in asking for help. “Mistakes” can be corrected. Embrace the support and help you receive. Educate yourself about the issue, be aware and understand that this process will be a long one.
4. Seek help
You can most definitely fight this alone, but the road to recovery is long. At times like these, seeking additional help and support will make the journey less tedious. Professional guidance like counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy and twelve-step facilitation (TSF) begin from correcting fundamental issues that lead to addiction, whether causal or co-occurring.
Neuromodulation, through techniques like electroencephalography (EEG) neurofeedback, real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) and deep brain stimulation (DBS), that apply neuroscientific knowledge to treat issues are proven to be effective in dealing with addiction and healing.
5. Create a recovery checklist
Write down the goals you would like to see at different stages of healing. What lifestyle changes are you willing to make? Who do you want to include in your support system? How are you going to tackle distractions, urges and relapses? How will you combine will power with action?
As difficult a journey as this may be, staying engaged in treatment will be the only way to ensure successful healing. Customize a healing plan accordingly. Understand and accept the time it is going to take to overcome the issue. Be patient and put yourself first. Identify support systems that encourage you through your journey of healing.
Post recovery care is just as important as the other steps taken to heal from addictions. Recovery from addictions requires many attempts. This can lead to recurrent feelings of frustrations and helplessness. But remember, each attempt is a learning opportunity and your ability to bounce back from each setback is an indication of your perseverance and effort to heal. This is a success in itself on the road to healing from addiction.
Fortunately, any addiction can be controlled and over a period of time, one can be completely free from addiction(s). In some cases though, external help may be required. Contact our brain training experts at Evolve Brain Training who provide non-invasive neurofeedback therapy in Dubai. Book your consultation and learn how you can train your brain through neuroscience to overcome addiction. Fill out the form and our team will connect with you shortly.
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.