Addiction is a disease. The way it changes and alters your body and brain is why medical professionals now approach recovery in a different way than they ever did before. This new approach takes into account these changes and attempts to repair them in a compassionate and understanding way. One of the key ways that recovery specialists do this is by normalization; promoting the enjoyment of normal activities. If you can find satisfaction and joy in regular life, then you’re already one step closer to a successful recovery.
Addiction: How Does It Affect Your Body and Mind?
It’s important to learn how addiction changes the natural functions of your brain and body. This will help you to understand why it may be so difficult to find enjoyment in regular life. Depending on the substance of abuse, addiction changes various things throughout your entire body. For example, opiates not only affect dopamine and norepinephrine levels within the brain, but they also act upon and alter the natural functions of opioid receptors located in different parts of the body. This leads to terribly painful withdrawal symptoms when the drug is taken away. It also makes it very difficult to find the motivation and willpower to do normal things. However, through the use of pharmacological maintenance medications such as Suboxone or Methadone, those withdrawal symptoms can be dealt with so that you can feel well enough to get up and do normal things.
Other substances such as benzos, stimulants, and alcohol affect the brain and body in similar ways as opiates. One thing that they all have in common is altering the dopamine levels within the brain, and the creation of memory connections associated with the drug. Over habitual use, these alterations lead to addictive thought processes and loss of motivation to do normal things without help from the drug. This pattern can be difficult to break.
Addiction: Normalization Helps in Recovery
Even though normalization can be difficult when you’re addicted to drugs, it is an essential step in the recovery process. If you can find the willpower and motivation to get out and do something normal, then you’ll alleviate boredom and quell cravings. Recovery therapy is designed to help you in this struggle.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the main forms of counseling used in addiction recovery, is individually targeted to teach you the skills and motivation necessary to enjoy life drug-free. In most cases, the counselor will specifically create a plan that takes your situation and personal feelings into account. This type of therapeutic approach will focus on building your self-confidence and adjusting emotional changes made by habitual drug abuse. This is important to normalization because it will give you the strength necessary to face life on your own terms.
Finding enjoyment in life again is the main goal of normalization for most people in recovery. Drug use may begin as an experimental or recreational thing but once addiction sets in, any “fun” or “enjoyment” that was once gleaned from the drug is long gone and only misery remains. If you or someone that you know and love is struggling to enjoy normal things by getting clean, call our hotline at 800-447-9081, and let us guide you down the road to recovery.