Many people who relapse multiple times may wonder why they can’t stop drinking or doing drugs. The truth is that addiction is a complicated disease and not just willpower alone. Can people get sober alone? Usually, no, it’s not a safe way to do so. Professional addiction counseling treatment can help.
Addiction is Complex
Addiction affects your overall brain function. Over time, the addict’s brain becomes different from the non-addict. The brain stops making the reward hormones for pleasure and happiness, and instead, the substance acts on those hormone receptors. Addiction also becomes a compulsion and a habit, both of which take time – an average of three months of treatment – to break.
Withdrawals Can Be Dangerous
Detoxing can be dangerous for some people, especially those withdrawing from alcohol or benzodiazepines. Other types of withdrawals can be painful and unpleasant. Many people drink or use simply to stave off the withdrawal symptoms.
Even after your initial withdrawal subsides, you’ll still experience symptoms as your brain chemistry re-adjusts. You may have periods of confusion, problems with your blood pressure, or even heart palpitations. Many people also have emotional changes during this time, feeling anxious or depressed. They may turn to their substance of choice to help alleviate the feelings of sadness or boredom.
Getting sober alone, without a healthy support system, means that you’ll be more vulnerable to relapse. Many studies indicate that people who don’t seek help when getting sober are less likely to be in long-term recovery three years later.
Preventative intervention may be needed to prevent future alcohol problems for people who were able to cut down on their use. In therapy, people learn new coping mechanisms and learn how to resist the urge to drink or use drugs. These coping strategies can also address the underlying reasons that people started drinking or using drugs in the first place. Good coping strategies can help people enjoy a better quality of life after getting sober.
Treating Mental Health
People suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder (SAD) often have underlying mental health issues that they self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Depression and anxiety are often co-morbidities with substance abuse. It’s important to address mental health in addition to addiction. It may be easier for many people to stay sober with proper mental health treatment.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other behavioral therapies are often effective in treating addiction as well as anxiety and depression. Professional addiction treatment can help people identify the causes of their drug or alcohol use and then address them.
Getting Sober is More Than Just Willpower
Determination isn’t enough to keep people from getting and staying sober. The expert guidance of medical professionals and a supportive community to help when you reach a low point or get triggered to use again. Support groups and post-treatment recovery programs can help keep habits developed in treatment in place.
Do You Need Help With Addiction Treatment?
If you’re wondering why you can’t stay sober, you are not alone. Baystate Recovery Services can help. We offer different levels of addiction therapy, from intensive outpatient therapy to day treatment and after-care resources. We also have family therapy available to help you rebuild relationships after getting sober. Many people benefit from our evidence-based addiction therapy, and you can be one of them. Call today for a confidential consultation and assessment of your needs.
Baystate Recovery Center, a clinically Infused 12-Step Treatment Center for Drug and Alcohol Addiction, was founded by two partners in addiction treatment services, John Checchi and Michael Wilson.