Why Can’t My Loved One Just Stop Abusing Drugs & Alcohol?

For friends and family members of someone in active addiction, the situation can feel like an exercise in insanity. The addicted person’s behaviour can seem more than perplexing, and downright illogical.

The solution may be clear to loved ones – he or she needs to just stop using. But for the one struggling with active addiction, just stopping is not a realistic option. Your loved one has most likely experienced the physical and mental consequences of stopping and will apprehensive about wanting to go through it again. The fear that accompanies those who are struggling with active addiction regarding detox and withdrawal is too great.

Suddenly stopping can pose serious health consequences that may not be apparent to those who have no or little experience with addictive substances. In addition to the danger of stopping without proper support, the nature of the disease of addiction makes it extremely difficult for the individual to identify the substances of abuse as a perpetrator of the problem.

Emotional Dependency: The Downward Spiral of Your Addicted Loved One

The disease of addiction is a particularly brutal illness that affects the mind, body and spirit. Not only is the physical aspect of addiction intense and deadly, so too is the emotional and psychological aspect.

Problems of self-esteem, hope and emotional issues, such as depression or anxiety, can cause a whole different type of dependency. Emotional dependency occurs when an individual relies on a mood or mind-altering substance to ease any sort of internal discomfort. Anxiety, depression and social anxiety are just a few of the many problems that lead people to use addictive substances.

Many people turn to substances to ease the pain of a certain situation. In many ways, society accepts, or even glorifies such behaviour. Just think of the term “liquid courage,” which signifies that the obstacles too great to overcome while sober can be conquered when drunk. We have a culture where pills are thought to fix everything, and problems are expected to be resolved within thirty minutes or less.

It is no surprise that so many people become psychologically and emotionally addicted to substances. Some people may never become fully physically addicted to substances that they rely on emotionally, however most progress to include the physical element eventually.

Those who are not yet physically addicted to their substances of choice still see significant disturbances and devastation as a result of their using.

Going Cold Turkey Can Be Fatal: The Dangerous Withdrawals of Substance Abuse

Once physical dependence has taken hold of an individual, stopping the substance becomes more complicated than simply quitting.

Whether it be Heroin, Alcohol or prescription drugs, it is almost never recommended that a person simply stop using.

The physical and psychological consequences of stopping a substance cold turkey are significantly dangerous and professional help is needed to walk through the situation safely.

The brain and body become accustomed to the unnaturally high levels of neurochemicals and other changes to physical processes sparked by the presence of drugs.

The sudden removal of this influence causes a shock to the system. Different substances cause different specific reactions, but all can cause extreme discomfort, or even, potentially, death.

Every person reacts to each substance differently. This, plus the complexity and varying levels of intensity in the substances themselves make professional help a must. You wouldn’t try to treat diabetes or cancer by yourself, and addiction should be no different.

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