Although a drug habit begins due to behaviors triggered by life experience, addiction is not a habit. It is an illness of the brain that is chronic and incurable. However, with proper treatment, it is possible to manage your addiction. The cycle of addiction is a function of numerous elements that play out in a perfect storm. Professional drug treatment is the best and safest way to break the cycle and maximize long-term outcomes. Many proven therapies work well to help people leave drug use behind, including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
Are you or a loved one looking for professional rehab to break the cycle of drug addiction? If so, we recommend you seek a program that offers a dialectical behavioral therapy program. At Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC), we offer DBT and other behavioral treatments. All our therapies are trauma-informed, evidence-based, and provided by compassionate, experienced professionals. If you have any questions about the cycle of addiction, addiction treatments, DBT, and more, please reach out today at 844.442.8673.
The Stages of Addiction
No one becomes addicted to a substance after one use, and not all people who experiment with illegal drugs or use alcohol become addicted. But for those with a genetic predisposition or other life factors, the stages below outline the path towards addiction.
Often, the first time someone uses a drug, it is entirely legal and aboveboard. It may be alcohol imbibed at a New Year’s Eve party or a prescription pain medication like Oxy taken after an accident or surgery. It either ends there, or it doesn’t. For some people, the desire to return again and again to the feeling induced is stronger than their awareness of risks.
If someone becomes a regular user, a pattern emerges. It may shift from weekends-only, to after work and weekends, to whenever, with easy rationalizations for each change in the pattern. Some people maintain a regular pattern of use that continues through life. They smoke half a joint after work or drink socially on weekends and never more. Some can’t do that, and substance use becomes increasingly prioritized.
When a regular user starts taking unnecessary risks or engaging in dangerous behavior, such as getting behind the wheel while drunk, getting high before an important meeting or exam, or choosing drug use over relationships, they have slipped one step closer to addiction.
At this point, the physical influences equal or surpass the behavioral patterns. The body and brain develop a tolerance for the substance, and users must take more of it more often to feel high or semi-normal. When they are not using, they experience both physical and psychological cravings, and if they don’t get a fix, withdrawal begins.
Daily functioning takes a back seat to substance use when someone is addicted. The fall-out of addiction is often catastrophic, such as dropping or being kicked out of school, losing a job, shattering close relationships, financial ruin, and even homelessness.
Breaking the Cycle of Addiction
In a professional rehab setting, you will work with counselors, coaches, and other addiction specialists to break the cycle of addiction. There is no single fix for addiction. The best approach is multi-disciplinary, individualized to your needs and circumstances, and includes peer support options.
Within that framework, there are a few critical goals for breaking that addictive cycle. Some of them are below:
- Identify and admit to your addiction-related behaviors – This honesty with self and others requires a foundation of addiction education. It also requires growth and supported self-awareness and feeling safe enough to speak and hear the truth.
- Engage in therapy – In therapy, you will understand your own addiction journey and work on any number of issues that are hindering your recoveries, such as past trauma, false beliefs, self-esteem challenges, and more.
- Become aware of alternatives to substance use – With the support of peers, family, and professionals, you can identify healthy habits and activities that will take the place of your abuse of substances.
- Walk the walk – Figuring out what those healthy behaviors are is just the first step. Next, you gradually implement them. Finding sober companions and friends with whom to engage in some of those activities is helpful.
- Participate in a 12-step program – Once you are out of rehab, actively seeking to engage in healthy habits, and trying to maintain sobriety, a 12-step or other addiction support option can help you feel less alone and stay accountable as you break the cycle of addiction.
Enroll in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Program at PAATC
One of the most effective therapies for breaking the cycle of addiction, including identifying new and healthier ways of living, is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). You may encounter DBT in individual therapy or group counseling. In both cases, the therapist trained in this modality uses various processes to treat you and focuses treatment on the following:
- Distress tolerance
- Focus on behavioral change
- Focus on cognitive change
- Emotional regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
Are you interested in learning more about DBT, breaking the cycle of drug addiction, or rehab options that might work for you? Reach out to PAATC today. This is what we do: help people like you step confidently onto the path of recovery. Call 844.442.8673 or submit our online form to get started.