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The old fashioned perspective of drug addiction usually included dark alleys and questionable people making illicit deals in the middle of a city. However, real life addiction and drug abuse doesn’t fit this movie plot scenario. Many addicts are kids as young as 12 years old, or retirees in their 50s and 60s. Addiction to prescription pills and other drugs isn’t isolated now, and it’s critical to understand the necessary steps to stop those habits in their tracks.

Unexpectedly Addicted

It’s a reality that some people become addicted without even realizing it’s occurring. When a person has surgery or injury, drugs are often prescribed to control pain. However, some people become addicted to these painkillers because of the euphoric feelings they experience when taking them. As the high subsides, the patient takes more of the drug to achieve the same sensation. Although the healing process may be completed, the patient still asks for more drugs from their doctor. They are literally hooked on the drug without even realizing it has happened.

Graduating From Your First Drug of Choice

Inevitably, those prescription pills will run out over time. Your doctor will only prescribe them for a set period. When no drugs are available through this channel, patients will often graduate to alternative drugs. In fact, some regions report that prescription drug addictions transform into heroin habits. This illicit drug offers a stronger high at a lower price than prescription pills. However, heroin is extremely damaging to the body and highly addictive. Unless a person truly looks at their habits at this point, the addiction will continue to rise at an alarming pace.

Hitting Rock Bottom

In many cases, it takes a long time for an addict to understand their situation. Being a functioning addict is possible on prescription drugs, for example. You could be active at work and home while retreating into drugs during strategic daily breaks. When you hit rock bottom, however, your entire social circle discovers the addiction problem. You might spend your whole paycheck on drugs, or you disappear for several days in search of drugs. It’s at this point that you must make a decision for your future. No one else can help you quit drugs unless you admit to a problem.

Inpatient Versus Outpatient Care Facilities

An addict might be confused or intimidated by the treatment terminology in the industry today. However, it’s best to look at the core options at first. As a brand new patient to addiction treatment, you should seek out inpatient services. When you’re an inpatient, you live at a treatment facility 24 hours a day. You’re taken out of your common element and placed with professionals who understand your issues. Outpatient services aren’t meant for the beginning stages of addiction treatment. You can use these services when you have a firm handle on your addiction.

Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Along with treating the physical addiction, inpatient services also deal with the psychological side of your struggle. Cognitive behavioral therapy basically gives you a glimpse at the negative aspects of your life. A professional helps you develop a better perspective of your behaviors, and then he or she allows you to draw conclusions for possible changes. This therapy type is particularly useful for addiction patients so that they see how drugs are affecting their lives and loved ones as well.

The Group Experience

Inpatient services aren’t limited to one-on-one discussions with a counselor. In fact, you’ll slowly be introduced to other addicts working on their recovery efforts. Group therapy sessions are more akin to discussions among friends. Everyone is welcome to tell their story and offer suggestions about future sobriety success. Bonding among group therapy participants is common so you have an instant contact in the future if temptation is calling you. Trade phone numbers with your team members, so that support can be possible out in the real world. A discussion on the phone, for example, might be the perfect distraction from your craving once you leave inpatient care.

Getting to Know Your Triggers

You could feel strong and confident about fighting off drug cravings as inpatient care continues, but you must also understand triggers. When you encounter a trigger, your mind could automatically start craving drugs and sobriety becomes a memory. Common triggers can include:

  • Visiting a drug-using friend
  • Driving past a park where you used to take drugs
  • Going to a party where drugs are out in the open

Ideally, you should avoid any area or person that reminds you of drugs. Triggers are powerful reminders, and they’re often difficult to resist.

A Family Connection

You may have disregarded your family during drug binges, but it’s time to reconnect with them. Typically, you have limited contact with family as inpatient services continue. As you enter outpatient care, it’s crucial for your family to understand your perspective on the world. They should clean the home of any reminders of drug use, such as ashtrays or alcohol. Ideally, the home should be a safe haven from any drug temptations. Your loved ones can be strong helpers on your road to sobriety.

Achieving and Practicing a Sober Lifestyle

Sobriety is a constant struggle, but it is possible when you make a few changes to your past lifestyle, such as:

  • Learning a new hobby
  • Immersing yourself in school
  • Contacting recovery friends on a frequent basis
  • Cutting out negative influences from your life

There will be challenges after addiction treatment. Use the support of your family and friends to make each day count toward a sober lifestyle. Turn your music up and dance all night long, for example, if it helps you ward off drug temptation. You are in control with positive thinking.

If you’re concerned about paying for addiction treatment, there are many options available today. Government funded programs usually provide low cost or free treatment based on your personal situation. If you have health insurance, some addiction treatment costs are typically covered by the policy. The best way to start any treatment program is to ask the professionals for help. Treatment experts can guide you to a program that fits your needs and budget. Everyone deserves to have a second chance.