TREATMENT IS A CHOICE
For most people, drug addiction – what we now call substance use disorder – develops as an emotional or psychological coping mechanism. It’s a survival strategy. When faced with overwhelming or painful feelings and circumstances, you use drugs for temporary relief – and it works.
Since it works, you keep doing it.
Meanwhile, the drug changes you. It rewires the part of your brain that determines what’s important. The changes in your brain cause you to prioritize seeking and using drugs over the things that matter most. You may choose drug use over work obligations, family responsibilities, school, sports, and friendship – without realizing that’s what you’re doing.
As the drug changes your mind, it also changes your body. Prolonged exposure to drugs can damage your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, digestive system, musculoskeletal system, endocrine system (hormones), and your immune system. Smoking drugs increases risk of lung cancer. Injecting drugs increases the likelihood of contracting infectious diseases such as hepatitis or HIV.
You can live with these changes in your brain, behavior, and body for years – until something happens that opens your eyes. It may be a health, family, or work crisis – or it may happen out of the blue. However it happens, in that moment, you realize your coping mechanism no longer works. Your drug use no longer offers temporary relief, but instead causes pain and suffering. Not only for you, but also for the people who love you.
That’s the moment you decide. Continue living in the cycles of addiction, or seek professional help to bring your mind, body, and spirit back into balance.
That’s the moment to choose treatment.