In many cases, addiction doesn’t pop up overnight. An individual may begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol, only to find their use gradually increasing. Even when there don’t seem to be any immediate serious consequences with one’s drug use, continued substance abuse can quickly spiral into full-blown addiction.
So what can you do if you’ve noticed an uptick in your use of drugs or alcohol? The first step is to perform a self-assessment of your behavior. Examine how frequently you use the substance and if it is contributing to any problems in your life. Next, identify any triggers that cause you to abuse (such as boredom or stress).
Identifying negative triggers and behaviors isn’t enough, however. You need to take action to alter these behaviors and replace them with positive changes. For example, implementing a healthy exercise routine into your schedule or picking up a new hobby can help you avoid triggers and reduce cravings.
In many situations, you won’t be able to beat addiction on your own. In some cases, (addiction to alcohol or benzodiazepines for example), withdrawal can be deadly and must be medically supervised. Many individuals find drug counseling and support groups to be essential in overcoming their addictive habits for good. Because many chemical dependencies can alter brain function, intensive substance abuse treatment may also be necessary to achieve recovery.
By performing an honest assessment of your behaviors and taking immediate action, you can fight off the debilitating effects of substance abuse before it’s too late.