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Addiction Uncategorized

How Can I Tell if my Partner is an Addict?

How can I tell if my Partner is an Addict?

Denial is an amazingly powerful force. When a person we care about is addicted, we can come up with all kinds of reasons to overlook the obvious. And just as the famous frog becomes acclimated to ever-increasing water temperatures, a spouse may normalize the progress of their loved one from fun at parties to problem drinker to alcoholic. Whether addiction manifests as a destructive attachment to drugs, alcohol, or behavioural addictions like gambling or eating disorders, there is a line we can say separates the problem drinker ( gambler, etc.) from the addict. When a person cannot control the harmful behaviour, it is more than just a problem; it is an addiction. Food for thought – if you are reading this, what your spouse is doing is causing a problem. So you need them to stop. Maybe they can stop on their own, or perhaps they need help, but your choice to read this article suggests you already know you want them to stop. Now let’s take a closer look and answer the question “How can you tell if your spouse is an addict?”

Is my partner an addict? - Physical Signs

Different forms of addiction cause varying physical changes. Changes in sleep patterns and changes in eating habits are frequent for many addicts. Some addicts may begin to neglect self- care beyond just sleeping and eating problems, and you may notice their hygiene suffers. Several forms of addiction can cause bloodshot eyes. Other physical evidence, like track marks from injecting drugs or bloody noses from cocaine and other inhalants are particular to specific drugs

Perhaps you don’t need to look for physical changes. Maybe you already know your spouse is using a substance that is causing problems that you are concerned about. The question then arises: are they willing to stop for you? If so, can they stop on their own? If not, they are addicted, and they should get help to quit. 

Is my Partner an Addict? - Social Signs

An addict will want to be around people that enable them, whether by sharing their addiction or ignoring it. Real friends won’t do that. If your spouse is gradually pulling away from their long term relationships and hanging out with a new group of people, that may be a sign that their addiction is replacing the things that should be important in their life. Help them find their way back to meaningful engagement by helping them recognize that they have a problem.

Is my partner an addict? - Work or legal issues

Some high-functioning addicts are model citizens at work and in the eyes of the law, so don’t let the absence of work or legal issues convince you everything is ok. There are plenty of ways to suffer and forfeit the good things in life for addiction, and the sooner the realization hits, the sooner an addict can get on the road to recovery. For many addicts, their habit will begin to cause issues at work or even with the law. Pointing out these issues (in a non-judgmental way) can help an addict realize that they have a problem, and they need help. Learn more about how to convince someone they need treatment here, and stay tuned for our follow up article next week on what to do when your spouse is an addict.

Is my partner an addict? - Emotional Signs

Addicts tend to lose the ability to regulate their emotions as the addiction gradually replaces standard coping mechanisms. Mood swings and anger management issues commonly arise when people become addicted. Emotional withdrawal is a particularly painful consequence of addiction in relationships. Addicts develop habits of secrecy to protect their ability to pursue their high. It is painful to watch someone turn away from you. Remember that addiction is not about you. It is a complex disease, and it takes hard work to recover. The good news is that evidence-based treatment works for most addicts who decide they want to get well.

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Taking that first step towards recovery is one of the most powerful things you can do. If you or a family member need help and you want to get the best treatment possible, get in touch with us now. With over twenty years of helping people to find peace in recovery, we are South East Asia’s Premier Addiction Treatment Centre.

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Categories
Addiction Uncategorized

How Addiction Changes your Brain

How Addiction Changes the Brain

When people began to study addiction in the early 20th century, they reached a consensus that it was a form of moral failing and lack of willpower. Continuing research has revealed that these initial ideas were pretty far off the mark. 

In the 1950s, we came to recognise alcoholism as a form of chronic disease. We now know that genetic factors, family history of addiction, and other personal trauma contribute significantly to addiction risk. We also know that addiction creates significant changes in the brain that make it impossible to beat addiction by merely asserting willpower. The current view is that all forms of addiction are most accurately viewed as a disease that affects “brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry” in the words of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. 

To succeed in getting free from addiction, a real addict needs a solid understanding of their condition and its causes and effects and a good set of tools and techniques for getting clean and staying clean. Let’s take a closer look at how addiction changes the brain.

Different Types of Addiction Produce Different Changes

Every substance or addictive habit produces different physiological results, and each affects the brain differently. For instance, chronic “Ecstasy” or MDMA use severely impairs memory, as does constant heavy alcohol use. Heavy marijuana smokers have a smaller orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is active during decision making and emotional processing. These changes that are particular to specific substances or habits are harmful, but they do not appear to contribute to the addictive power of a drug or habit. Indeed, recognizing these undesirable changes can help provide an addict with the motivation that they need to support a successful recovery effort.

Some Changes In Addict Brain Function Appear To Be Universal

While each drug and habit has its unique effects, some effects seem to occur across all different types of addiction. These effects help us understand why addiction is so difficult to overcome. Recognizing these effects helps an addict prepare for the difficult task ahead and know why it is hard to follow a recovery plan, even after realizing a genuine need to get well. Addiction changes the reward and motivation circuitry of the brain, hijacking mechanisms that drive healthy people to thrive and using them to compel addicts to seek out opportunities to engage in self-destructive behaviour.

Drugs and addictive activities like gambling, produce feelings of pleasure. While researchers once thought the natural brain chemical dopamine was responsible for feelings of pleasure, they now believe dopamine release is correlated with happiness but perhaps does not directly cause the sensation. Other chemicals produced in the brain’s basal ganglia area, referred to as “the reward circuit,” account for these feelings. Addictive substances and behaviours cause a strong surge of these chemicals. These releases are more extensive than those caused by healthy natural highs, like feelings of accomplishment or connection.

Addicts become accustomed to the surge and experience a muted reaction to the comparatively smaller natural high. An addict will gradually become accustomed to the rush produced by addiction and will require a higher dose or a more reckless wager to achieve the same effect as tolerance begins to set in. Thus as the addiction progresses, it becomes the only adequate source of pleasure for the addict.

The Role of Dopamine

Both pleasurable experiences arising from healthy activity and drug use or other addictive behaviours trigger the release of dopamine. Dopamine tells our brain that something good is happening, and we should remember how to repeat it. Dopamine is our chemical ally, helping us to form good habits until we fall prey to addiction. Then it is a powerful foe, programming bad habits into our brain circuitry. Just as addiction causes stronger surges of pleasure-inducing brain chemicals than healthy activity, it also creates more significant dopamine releases. These powerful surges contribute to the creation of chemically reinforced habits that are very difficult to break. And even years after leaving the patterns behind, triggers etched in the brain create an ongoing risk of relapse.

In a very literal sense, addiction begins to take over an addict’s brain, robbing them of their will. This is why it is more than just a matter of resolving to ‘be a better person’ and exerting some will power. It is challenging, but there is good news. Millions and millions of people have successfully gotten clean and are staying clean every day, one day a time, using evidence-based methods to remain free from the grip of addiction. Every recovering addict is unique, and each has their own complicated story. But if they can do it, you can too. All you need is a resolute commitment to do the work to get better and stay better and some experts to help you get on the right path.

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Taking that first step towards recovery is one of the most powerful things you can do. Our Admissions specialist will support you until you get here. Then we will do the rest.

All work conducted by Seasons Bali is carried out in the strictest of confidence and conforms to all current privacy legislation. None of the information on this site is intended as medical advice

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© Copyright 2020 Seasons Bali    |   Site Support