When people with addictions become aware that they need to change their habits, it can be tempting to take it all into your own hands. The idea of an addiction treatment center can be intimidating and some people feel that they can regain control of their substance abuse without any help. Although it might feel empowering to think about the possibility of overcoming addiction alone, it is not a safe solution.
There are a number of different reasons why people struggle and often fail when they try to quit an addiction on their own. Drug abuse experts view addiction as more than just a habit, it is a disease that is difficult and almost impossible to completely eliminate. Continual and repeated drug use leads to dramatic changes in brain structure and function which make it very difficult to alter behavior without some outside assistance.
One of the most damaging myths among people trying to quit an addiction on their own is that they can learn to moderate their substance abuse or simply cut back. People who have addictions cannot learn to drink socially or use drugs recreationally because of the changes in brain structure that they have experienced. They may also have mental health factors that make it more difficult for them to be moderate in their use of substances.
The Dangers of Quitting Alone
Some people with very minor drinking or drug habits may be able to quit successfully but for those with more severe addictions, the dangers of withdrawal and relapse are very serious. It is one thing to try to quit an addiction alone and fail but it is another to put your health and life in danger by not having medical support from professionals. There can be very painful and even fatal consequences when trying to quit an addiction alone.
Addiction causes chemical dependency which means that your body relies on the drug to function. This is the reason withdrawal symptoms occur when you try to remain abstinent from the drug. Many people who try to detox at home don’t realize that the severity of their withdrawal symptoms can cause them to become dehydrated and sick or to experience reactions such as seizures and hallucinations.
Detoxing alone can be painful and without proper medical care can lead to health problems. Withdrawal symptoms can also cause very serious reactions in terms of mental health. Someone who has no assistance in their detox might feel intense depression and anxiety causing them to attempt suicide.
Withdrawal can be unpredictable so it is crucial to be in a detox facility throughout the process so that you can receive medical attention and medication from doctors and staff. Medical staff are usually available at detox treatment centers around the clock and will continually check in on patients to make sure they are in good health. Having someone there for you to help you minimize pain and discomfort can make the whole process much easier.
One of the biggest reasons to choose professional help for addiction is because of the danger of relapse. What most people don’t realize is that quitting for a period of time leads to a much lower tolerance. If you relapse and try to use the same amount of drug that you used in the past it can be too much for your system
In cases of more dangerous drugs such as opioids, relapsing can lead to a fatal overdose because of the difference in tolerance levels. If a person manages to survive relapse, it can be much more difficult to to quit again the second time.
Physical and Psychological Support
The reason it is so hard to quit on your own is because addiction changes your body and your mind in ways that you are often not aware of. That means that addicts in recovery need plenty of support for their physical and psychological health. Quitting drug use means that you need a support network in the form of doctors, therapists, mentors, peers and loved ones.
Although it might feel tempting to try to quit on your own, it will be much easier and much more effective to quit with the support you receive from a treatment program. These kinds of programs are designed to help people experience success and positive change in ways that they are not able to accomplish on your own. Setting aside your pride and focusing on what is best for your health and your future can lead to a better outcome.
If you have been trying to quit an addiction on your own or have been considering the possibility, look into a treatment center instead. Start with a detox program followed by a stay in a rehab center that offers therapy and aftercare. Use every resource available to you and you will have a much more positive experience with recovery.