The first step and perhaps the most significant step when struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction is accepting treatment. Struggling with addiction can be overwhelming and challenging for most, which is why having a good support system is vital. Sometimes, the best support systems are the people who have the knowledge and experience of what you are going through. At Healthy Life Recovery, our recovery coach Brandon Turner uses his past experiences to help new patients through their journey with addiction treatment.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease, and there is a long list of possibilities as to why a person starts using drugs. Whether they were looking for a good time, improving athletic performance, giving into peer pressure, or numbing emotional pain, and the list can go on. Understanding a substance addiction is about learning why people turn to drugs and the consequences that follow, instead of how often a person uses. 

It can be tricky trying to pinpoint where casual drug use turns into an addiction. Eventually, the person feels like they don’t have a choice, and can lose complete self-control. If drugs are affecting your job and relationships, you are likely to have a problem. 

Drug use doesn’t always lead to dependence According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5), people are not automatically or equally vulnerable to develop a substance-related disorder. Lower levels of self-control can predispose a person to develop problems when exposed to drugs. Some risk factors that increase the chances of drug dependence include:

  • Genetics, a family history of addiction
  • Traumatic experiences, abuse or neglect
  • Mental disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder)

Letting Down Your Family and Colleagues

Many times people battling addiction turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with personal challenges. Using substances is certainly not a solution for personal issues, but instead a temporary escape. When the escape becomes a habit, continued use may destroy their identity, relationships, and career.

Drugs have the potential to consume a person’s life if they are struggling with addiction. When a family member uses drugs, it doesn’t just affect the user. Relationships with family and friends become less of a priority, and they start to lose interest in school or work. This becomes a clear indication that a substance use disorder (SUD) is causing damage to others around them.

When you are suffering from drug dependence, they have the ability to change you as a person, both physically and mentally. Meaning, not only do friends and family recognize behavior changes, but your colleagues as well. Addiction can decline your work performance, making you less reliable and more difficult to work with.

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Drug Addiction and Legal Consequences

Unfortunately, the truth is that drug addiction and legal consequences go hand and hand. Drugs and alcohol provoke certain behaviors a person wouldn’t normally do while sober. Common legal issues that can emerge during drug dependence may include:

  • Theft: funding a drug habit can get expensive, especially if the user is low on income. They will do whatever necessary to obtain drugs, even if that means stealing money or possessions from others.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI): this is the most common illegal act during drug abuse. Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous and can result in a few nights in jail, suspended license, and a felony charge.
  • Prescription drug addiction or abuse crimes: whether the user is fraudulently obtaining prescriptions or selling them, they are both serious offenses. Prescription fraud can result in up to 5 years in prison, and very rarely probation and rehab instead.
  • Dealing and possession of drugs: dealing drugs is a highly illegal offense, with meth, heroin, and other drugs having significant penalties. Possession of prescription drugs without a prescription and illicit drugs can result in a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the situation. It is common for people with addiction problems to carry drugs or have them inside their homes.

How Does Addiction Relate to Suicide?

Addiction is often one of many elements leading to suicidal thoughts and behavior. Additional factors on top of substance abuse that drive a person to consider or act upon suicide include:

  • Family history of suicide attempts
  • Psychotic disorders or addiction in the family
  • Mental health issues
  • Duration of substance abuse
  • Triggering events
  • Type of drugs abused (intravenous (IV) drug users are more at risk)

Identifying signs of depression or other mental health issues may help pull the person out of a downward spiral. Eventually, some people reach the point of hopelessness, and it can take them to a very dark place. People who do drugs and alcohol, or have a substance addiction, are nine times more likely to attempt suicide than nonusers.

Choosing to end your life comes from a desperate, complicated place; however, suicide is preventable. Regardless of how bad or useless things seem, there are readily available resources to help those struggling with suicidal ideation.

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Receive Addiction Treatment Today

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research shows that illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol, contribute to the death of more than 90,000 Americans every year. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is important to seek treatment immediately. 

Here in San Diego, our recovery coach Brandon takes pride and shows great empathy towards our patients struggling with drug dependence. Brandon was able to use skateboarding to help him with his struggles through the recovery process and live a healthy lifestyle. Having a support system of good friends and mentors during treatment helped empower him to recover from addiction. 

Give us a call today to start your journey towards a healthier life. At Healthy Life Recovery, we provide the treatment and support you need to achieve long-term recovery.

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