doctor-563428_640Those affected by alcohol or drug addiction are suffering from an illness in the same way that people with diabetes or heart disease are. Nobody chooses to be an addict; it is an illness that affects some individuals but not others. It is an illness that affects the way the brain works and functions.

Scientists have discovered that repeated use of certain chemical substances such as drugs and alcohol can affect certain functions of the brain. What might have started as moderate drinking or taking recreational drugs at the weekend only has now developed into a dependency because the brain structure has changed. For some people, the brain changes to adapt itself to drug or alcohol use, having the effect of that person’s judgement being affected.

Accessing Help

If someone you love is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, you may be of the opinion that he or she does not have any willpower or that this person is weak. However, this is far from the truth, and it is important to understand that addiction is an illness. The good news is that help is available for addiction. There are many treatments available to help those struggling with addiction, and many counsellors and therapists who are working hard to help those affected access the most appropriate treatments for their needs.

The first step is always going to be accepting that addiction is indeed a problem. This is difficult for most addicts. It may take a long time for them to be ready to admit that they have a problem. In their mind, they may not see themselves as addicts and may think that their loved ones are inflating the issue.

This is a common problem and one that is often addressed with the help of an intervention.

Interventions

If you are having trouble getting a loved one to admit that he or she has a problem with alcohol or drugs, it may be a good idea to arrange an intervention. An intervention is a process in which a group of individuals close to the addicted person get together to try to help him or her realise that there is a problem with drugs or alcohol. In some circumstances, a professional mediator will take the lead to ensure that the process has the best chance of a positive outcome.

During an intervention, each member will speak to the addicted individual to express how this person’s addiction is damaging relationships and causing pain. The idea is not to attack the person but to try to make him or her see how the addiction affects everyone involved. Interventions are hugely successful in getting addicts to accept that they have a problem and need help.

Counselling

Once a person has accepted that he or she needs help for addiction, there are many different places from where help is available. Rehabilitation centres across the UK offer counselling for those affected by drug and alcohol addiction. Counselling is available for the person affected and for family members as well. Addiction is an illness that affects the entire family, so it is important that help is available for all involved.

Detox

In many instances, a person with a drug or alcohol addiction will require detoxification before he or she can begin a programme of rehabilitation. Detox is the process in which the drugs or alcohol is eliminated from the body, and the process is necessary before other treatments can begin. Depending on the type of substance a person was addicted to and for how long he and she has been addicted, detox can be quite severe in terms of the withdrawal symptoms experienced. It is usually recommended, therefore, that those undergoing detox do so within the confines of a medically-supervised treatment centre.

Rehab

Just as addiction did not happen suddenly, getting better will also not happen instantaneously either. It is a process that requires time and effort from everyone involved. There are many rehabilitation centres throughout the country from which those affected by drug and alcohol can get the help they so require. This may include a programme of inpatient treatment or it may be sufficient for the person to attend outpatient appointments.

Recovery from Addiction

Recovery from addiction is possible, and although it is not an easy process, it has become easier to succeed because of all the excellent help available today. Recovery is a process that takes time, but it is also a process that must become a part of life going forward. Learning how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol is something that can be done with the right help and support.

Recovery addicts will need time for their minds and bodies to heal and for them to learn how to adapt to a life without relying on chemical substances. This will not happen overnight but, with constant support from loved ones and professionals, it is a process that more and more people are achieving success with.