Addiction is a neuropsychological ailment where an individual is unable to quit substance abuse or stop a behaviour. The individual facing addiction is persistent in their use of substances even in the face of harm. Getting over an addiction can be very difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s not unachievable.
The brain’s reward system gives us the motivation to continue certain survival activities such as eating. It causes the release of dopamine which is the pleasure hormone which makes us feel good. In addiction, the addictive substances or behaviours act on the brain’s reward system to cause a significant release of dopamine. To feel more pleasure, the user continues using the substance.
What you can do about addiction
First, if you are suffering from addiction you need to recognise that it is a problem. People who don’t think their addiction is problematic will hardly get over it.
So, find out what you can do to overcome your addiction and make a firm decision to stop. One thing you can do is to avoid being in a setting that encourages your addiction.
Also, see your doctor especially if you are finding it difficult to stop on your own. Medically, there are treatments that can guide you through the process. Below are some proven medical treatments that can help you fight addiction effectively.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is psychotherapy that aims at helping individuals identify negative thoughts and behaviour patterns. It helps to reduce symptoms of various mental health conditions like depression, anxiety disorders and also addiction. According to Healthline, “CBT is largely based on the idea that your thoughts, emotions, and actions are connected. In other words, the way you think and feel about something can affect what you do”. This therapy can help you identify the thought processes fueling your addiction and. Thus assist you in overcoming it.
- Gene therapy. Gene therapy is a medical technique which focuses on the genetic modification of cells to produce a therapeutic effect. Genetics influences how the body metabolises drugs, and the type and number of drug receptors. Researchers have found a way to treat cocaine addiction through gene therapy. For example, Adenovirus viral vector work in the delivery of a therapeutic gene during gene therapy. The therapeutic gene will inactivate cocaine and reduce its effectiveness.
- Use of Medications. Some medications can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are very distressing and make one uncomfortable. But the use of some medications can bring relief. The type of medication for use depends on the substance of abuse. For example, Naltrexone is commonly used in opioid abuse. Note that you must first visit your doctor and get a prescription.
- Detoxification. Detoxification involves allowing your body to eliminate the addictive substance while in a safe environment. It clears the drugs and other substances from the body. Your doctor can also include some medications to stop withdrawal symptoms while undergoing detoxification.
- 12-Step Facilitation Theory. 12-Step Facilitation (TSF) treatments are a group of semi-structured therapies organized to help people refrain from alcohol and other substances. It works by connecting and encouraging the active participation of people with addiction in mutual-help organizations.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.