11 Things You Should Know About Addiction
11 Things You Should Know About Addiction

An estimated 16.5% of the population 12 or older(as of 2021) reported having a substance use disorder. Although addiction today is highly prevalent, many people lack a thorough understanding of what addiction and addiction recovery truly entail. That’s why, in this article, you’ll learn about the 11 things you should know about addiction to gain a greater understanding of substance abuse and the recovery process. 

Sequoia MD is a direct primary care and addiction treatment center committed to providing comprehensive and affordable outpatient treatment to recovering addicts. We offer a range of addiction treatment services in Sacramento to help as many patients as possible safely and effectively overcome addiction and maintain life-long sobriety. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help during the recovery journey.

11 Things You Should Know About Addiction

Addiction Is A Chronic Disease

There is no cure for addiction. Addiction is a chronic disease that changes the way your brain functions. While addiction is not curable in the traditional sense, it is treatable; with the right support, strategies, and commitment, we can learn to manage our addiction and lead fulfilling lives in recovery.

Addiction Changes Your Brain Chemistry

Addiction changes your brain chemistry and, more specifically, impacts your brain’s reward system, which explains why individuals struggling with substance use disorders experience intense cravings when they try to quit their addiction. 

Recognizing addiction as a chronic disease that changes brain function underscores the importance of seeking help and adopting a long-term perspective.

Addiction: Beyond Just Drug Use

Addiction is more than just being dependent on drugs or alcohol. Not only is addiction defined by the behaviors that go along with it, many people also struggle with behavioral addictions, including gambling, shopping, video games, or sex. In these cases, these actions impact the brain’s reward system in similar ways as  drugs or alcohol.

Several Factors Can Increase Your Risk of Addiction

While there is no singular cause of addiction, there are several factors that can play a role in a person developing a substance use disorder. These factors can interact and overlap, creating a complex web of influences. Not everyone exposed to these risk factors will develop an addiction, and recovery is always possible with the right support and interventions. Recognizing these multifaceted factors helps us address addiction more comprehensively and underscores the importance of a holistic approach to prevention and treatment. These risk factors include psychological conditions and predispositions, genetics, childhood abuse or trauma, or a family history of substance abuse.

Addiction Recovery Is A Lifelong Journey

Recovery from addiction is not a destination; it’s a lifelong journey. This perspective is foundational to understanding the nature of addiction and the ongoing process of healing and growth that follows. It’s about more than just quitting a substance or behavior; it’s a path to self-discovery, healing, and living a fulfilling life free from the grip of addiction. While it may present challenges, it also offers the opportunity for profound personal growth and a brighter future.

Quitting Is Not Only A Matter Of Willpower

One of the greatest misconceptions about addiction is that quitting your addiction comes down to having enough willpower. Addiction is a complex disease that changes your brain chemistry. Quitting drug use is not just a matter of having enough willpower. Addiction recovery aims to uncover the reasons why a person may begin to use drugs in the first place and learn healthy coping strategies to maintain sobriety, while also instilling the understanding that our choices do matter in recovery. Medication can also dramatically improve the likelihood of a successful recovery. 

Co-Occurring Disorders Are Common

A co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, is when someone struggles with both a mental health disorder and addiction. Someone struggling with a dual diagnosis must receive treatment for both conditions simultaneously. These co-occurring disorders highlight the complexity of addiction and the importance of comprehensive treatment approaches that address both substance use and underlying mental health issues. Integrated treatment plans that combine therapy, medication when necessary, and support services are often the most effective way to help individuals with co-occurring disorders achieve and maintain recovery.

Recognizing Addiction as a Medical Condition

Substance use disorder is often stigmatized, , which prevents many individuals struggling with addiction from seeking professional treatment. Despite the acknowledgment from the medical community that substance use disorders are chronic medical conditions, studies still indicate that individuals suffering from addiction are still victims of prejudice based on the lack of understanding of others.

Relapsing Does Not Mean Failure

One of the most significant risks to addiction recovery is relapsing. Many recovering addicts relapse at some point in their recovery journey. Many individuals who achieve long-term recovery have experienced relapse at some point. For some, relapse is a necessary part of the learning process and can ultimately lead to sustained recovery. Rather than looking at relapse  as a failure, it’s essential to look at it as a learning lesson to help prevent you from relapsing in the future and for treatment to be continued, rather than given up on.

There Are Many Different Addiction Treatment Options

It is important to understand there are many different types of treatment options available. When seeking treatment, patients should find comprehensive care catered to their unique backgrounds, needs, and goals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment, and individualized treatment programs are vital to recovery.

Hope and Possibility in the Journey of Recovery

For those struggling with addiction, recovery is attainable. Individuals who have struggled with addiction often go on to live happy, healthy lifestyles after treatment. Studies show that between 85% and 95% of people who have sought treatment for addiction remain sober for at least nine months, with recovery outcomes proving even greater with continuing care. Recovery is a life-long commitment and journey; however, you don’t have to walk through your addiction recovery journey alone– help is always available!

Start Your Recovery Journey Today with SequoiaMD

At Sequoia MD, we offer a range of comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment options to help as many patients as possible effectively overcome addiction and lead a healthier, happier, sober life. Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey that does not happen overnight, but with a team of caring and expert addiction and medical professionals supporting you, a long-term life of sobriety is possible. Ready to start your recovery journey? Contact us today!