Addiction is incredibly common. It can affect people of any age or career, anywhere in the world. It’s almost impossibe to find someone whose life has not been touched in some way by addiction.
If you have a family member, friend, or acquaintance who is in recovery from an addiction, you may have questions. You may also have questions about your own addiction. Remember that this is a complex illness that affects the brain, the body, and the entire life of the person afflicted. To understand addiction, here are some facts that may surprise you.
Addiction in Animals
The addictive tendencies in our brains aren’t unique to humans. Animals are also prone to searching for and consuming intoxicating foods and liquids. This isn’t just about catnip. Animals in the wild consume plants and fruits to cause altered states of mind.
This supports the overall idea that those who suffer with addiction should not feel guilty about their illness. Alcoholism and addiction are universal and incredibly difficult to manage. With the proper help, even the most difficult cases can be managed.
The Changing Brain
The brain is a delicate organ. It is constantly changing due to the differing stimuli. Many are shocked to know just how much addiction can rewire your thoughts, impulses, and ability to feel pleasure and pain.
Your brain never finishes growing. The human brain continues to develop through the early to mid 20s. Even after this period of time, new experiences continue to rewire connections in the brain.
This means that consuming drugs and alcohol can actually rewire the structure of your brain. Addiction typically refers to repeated use of these substances. Over the years, or even months, impulse control use of these substances becomes lowered.
Using these drugs can also incrementally lower your sensitivity to them. This means that you will have to consume more and more of it in order to feel its effects.
The Myth of “Rock Bottom”
Many believe that the best time to stage a grand intervention for someone suffering is once they hit rock bottom. This is actually, in many cases, false. Early intervention is the best way to help someone deal with addiction at a facility like Southern California’s sober living house.
You can’t force someone to accept help. You can, though, offer support early and frequently. Waiting until rock bottom only leaves more time for your loved one to struggle before being offered help.
The Gender Divide
Television and film portrayals of addiction most often show men. This leads many to believe that men are more likely to suffer than women. The reality though is that it affects all equally.
Biologically, there is no difference in the ability for addiction to affect men and women. It affects both genders equally. In today’s society, women are just as likely to suffer with substance abuse as men.
This has not always been the case. Due to societal differences, there have been times where more men suffered with addiction than women. At this point in time though, women and men on average both deal with alcoholism and addiction at the same frequency.
The Bottom Line
There is always help available to those who need it. It can come in the form of an online resource, a treatment center, or a strong support system. Dealing with addiction is incredibly difficult to do. However, facilities are here to help.
Demystifying the falsehoods about addiction is essential. It helps spread information about how best to support your friends and family. It also helps people to know how to seek help when they want or need it.