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RTOR.org writes

I remember my struggles with quitting drugs and alcohol quite vividly. I was at a point in my life when chasing intoxicated states was all that I could think about. It was a way for me to escape the negative feelings and the harsh realities of where I was in my life. My thought process at the time was something along the lines of:

Sad? Crack open a beer and light up a joint.

Lonely? Head out to the bar for some social intoxication.

Unhappy? Chase the dragon towards another high to forget about it all.

I knew this destructive behavior would catch up to me at some point, and it finally did. I ended up in jail for two years on drug-related charges. It was there that I decided to finally get sober and quit the habits that had destroyed my life and damaged my relationships.

Quitting drug and alcohol consumption is very much a mental health issue that requires strong emotional fortitude and resolve. I am very proud to say that after 9 years, I am still sober. I have transformed myself into a successful entrepreneur, fitness guru, and a positive force in the lives of my friends and family. I love sharing my story with others and discussing all of the benefits I have experienced from getting sober.

Below, I have prepared a list of the top 5 mental health benefits of quitting drugs and alcohol in hopes that it inspires those who are currently struggling with addiction to take the necessary steps towards sobriety.

1. Enhanced Mental Clarity

During the height of my drug and alcohol addiction, I felt as though everywhere I went I had a grey cloud floating above my head. I was foggy, unmotivated, and unfocused. After I got sober, I immediately noticed that the cloud had lifted. I started thinking clearly about my goals and what I wanted in life. I began seeking out new knowledge and interests, which led to me starting my own digital marketing company. Honestly, it felt amazing.

To this day, I love the fact that when I wake up in the morning, I have a clear intention and focus. Enhanced mental clarity is a great benefit you will receive after quitting drugs and alcohol.

2. Reduced Risk of Mental Health Issues

Did you know that drug and alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing serious mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia? Substance use can exacerbate underlying mental health problems. If mental health conditions are something that runs in your family, it’s a good idea to kick any substance abuse habits and quit them quickly.

A lot of people will abuse prescription drugs or alcohol to help cope with their mental health issues, but the reality is, those substances only make things worse. Reducing the risk of mental health complications is another strong benefit you will experience after you quit abusing drugs and alcohol.

3. Better Relationships with Family and Friends

At one point during my struggles with addiction, I realized that my relationships with my family and my friends were suffering immensely due to my dependence on altered states. These are the people that are most important to me, and I realized that I was simply tired of neglecting them in return for short bursts of feeling high or drunk.

After I got sober, I connected with my friends and family in a much more meaningful manner. They have helped me in countless ways during my time being sober, and have inspired me to become the man I am today. Stronger relationships with my family and friends have led to increased happiness and greater purpose in my life. This benefit of quitting alcohol and drugs cannot be emphasized enough!

4. Increased Self-Esteem

It’s funny that after I stopped using alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism, I felt I had discovered who I truly was as a person. My self-esteem skyrocketed, I gained confidence in every aspect of my life, and I haven’t looked back since. Drugs and alcohol were holding me back from reaching my full potential. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I got sober that I realized this.

I also got healthier and became passionate about exercise and proper nutrition. These interests helped me advance my self-esteem and emotional strength even further. A huge benefit of quitting drug and alcohol use is an immediate increase in self-esteem. You will feel better about yourself after you quit those destructive habits.

5. Improved Memory

It’s no secret that alcohol and drug use affects cognitive abilities. Talk to anyone after a night of binge drinking and their memory of the night will be an incomplete haze. This also holds true for drugs like marijuana and cocaine. These substances have a profoundly negative impact on your memory.

Instead of hurting your brain with damaging substances in order to experience nights you won’t even remember, wouldn’t you rather create profoundly positive moments that will remain in your mind for a lifetime?

Quitting drugs and alcohol was the best decision I ever made. I have certainly experienced the five benefits mentioned above and cannot emphasize the importance that staying sober has had on my life. If you are struggling with addiction or substance abuse issues, remember all of the great benefits you will receive by cutting these damaging substances out of your life for good.

Have you experienced any of the benefits mentioned above after quitting drugs or alcohol? Which of the above benefits is most important to you personally? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

If you or someone you…

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AmericanAddictionCenters.org writes

What Are Some Drug Withdrawal Symptoms?

The symptoms of drug withdrawal, and the length of that withdrawal, vary depending on the drug of abuse and the length of the addiction. These are a few withdrawal symptoms and timelines for major targets of abuse:

  • Heroin and prescription painkillers: flu-like symptoms lasting 24-48 hours
  • Benzodiazepines: anxiety and/or seizures lasting weeks or (in some cases) months
  • Cocaine: depression and restlessness lasting 7-10 days
  • Alcohol: tremors and/or seizures lasting three days to several weeks

In 2011, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health(NSDUH) published that almost 25 million Americans over the age of 12, approaching 10 percent of this section of the population, had used an illicit drug in the month prior to the survey, classifying them as current drug users.

Addictive drugs and alcohol make changes to the way the brain processes emotions and regulates mood. Many of these changes create a flood of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which create an artificial feeling of pleasure, or a “high.”


Continued abuse of drugs or alcohol interferes with the motivation and reward chemistry and circuitry, resulting in drug cravings and dependence.


Once a dependence on a substance has formed, withdrawal symptoms will start when the substance is then removed. Different drugs and substances will have different withdrawal symptoms and timelines, depending on how they interact with the brain and bodily functions. Drugs are absorbed and remain active in the body for differing amounts of time. This is often referred to as the drug’s “half-life,”which relates to the different withdrawal timelines for each substance.

The severity and duration of withdrawal is influenced by the level of dependency on the substance and a few other factors, including:

  • Length of time abusing the substance
  • Type of substance abused
  • Method of abuse (e.g., snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
  • Amount taken each time
  • Family history and genetic makeup
  • Medical and mental health factors

For example, someone who has regularly injected large doses of heroin for several years, with a family history of addiction and underlying mental health problems, is likely to experience a longer withdrawal period with potentially more…

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Project Know writes

Drug or alcohol addiction, or even addiction to both drugs and alcohol, can be treated. Medical and psychological research has determined new ways to help addicts who have the will to recover, get clean and sober, and stay that way.

Getting addiction help usually begins when an addict faces up to his or her addiction problem and realizes that assistance is necessary to fight it. However, even addicts who are forced into getting sober, such as teenagers compelled to enter rehabilitation by their parents or educators, or drug abusers with sentences for drug-related crimes that include addiction treatment, find that they are able to get clean and sober.

Rehabilitation treatment, which can include medical support for overcoming physical addiction and other physical effects of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as counseling to overcome the root cause of an addiction disorder, is the key to getting sober and rebuilding a healthy, drug-free life. Realizing that you or someone you care about needs addiction help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength, and we are here to help you find the help you need to get clean and sober.

WHY IS ADDICTION HELP NECESSARY?

Substance addiction is a recognized brain disorder that responds quite well to treatment. It is no more a reason for shame or embarrassment than diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, which are both organic and possibly linked to lifestyle factors. A recreational user of…

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Dual Diagnosis writes

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reports that there is a “definite connection between mental illness and the use of addictive substances” and that mental health disorder patients are responsible for the consumption of:

  • 38 percent of alcohol
  • 44 percent of cocaine
  • 40 percent of cigarettes

NBER also reports that people who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lives are responsible for the consumption of:

  • 69 percent of alcohol
  • 84 percent of cocaine
  • 68 percent of cigarettes

There’s clearly a connection between substance abuse and mental health disorders, and any number of combinations can develop, each with its own set of unique causes and symptoms, as well as its own appropriate intervention and Dual Diagnosis treatment methods. Which Dual Diagnosis treatment program is the best fit for your loved one?

Self-Medication

By far the most common issue connecting mental illness and substance abuse is the intention of patients to medicate the mental health symptoms that they find disruptive or uncomfortable by using alcohol and drugs.

Some examples include:
  • The depressed patient who uses marijuana to numb the pain
  • The patient suffering from social anxiety who drinks to feel more comfortable in social situations
  • The patient who struggles with panic attacks and takes benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium in order to calm the symptoms or stop the attacks before they start
  • The patient with low energy and lack of motivation who takes Adderall, cocaine or crystal meth to increase their drive to get things done

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol often do little to address the underlying mental health symptoms and ultimately create a whole new batch of problems for the patient while also…

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Helpguide.org writes

Developing a drug addiction isn’t a character flaw or a sign of weakness and it takes more than willpower to overcome the problem. Abusing illegal or certain prescription drugs can create changes in the brain, causing powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that make sobriety seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. With the right treatment and support, change is possible. Don’t give up—even if you’ve tried and failed before. The road to recovery often involves bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about change, you’re already well on your way.

Overcoming drug addiction: Decide to make a change

For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel uncertain about whether you’re ready to make a change, or if you have what it takes to quit. If you’re addicted to a prescription drug, you may be concerned about how you’re going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition. It’s okay to feel torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:

  • the way you deal with stress
  • who you allow in your life
  • what you do in your free time
  • how you think about yourself
  • the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take

It’s also normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you know it’s causing problems in your life. Recovery requires time, motivation, and support, but by making a commitment to change, you can overcome your addiction and regain control of your life.

Overcoming addiction step 1: Think about change

  • Keep track of your drug use, including when and how much you use. This will give you a better sense of the role the addiction is playing in your life.
  • List the pros and cons of quitting, as well as the costs and benefits of continuing your drug use.
  • Consider the things that are important to you, such as your partner, your kids, your pets, your career, or your health. How does your drug use affect those things?
  • Ask someone you trust about their feelings on your drug use.
  • Ask yourself if there’s anything preventing you from changing. What could help you make the change?

Preparing for change: 5 key steps to addiction recovery

  1. Remind yourself of the reasons you want to change.
  2. Think about your past attempts at recovery, if any. What worked? What didn’t?
  3. Set specific, measurable goals, such as a start date or limits on your drug use.
  4. Remove reminders of your addiction from your home, workplace, and other places you frequent.
  5. Tell friends and family that you’re committing to recovery, and ask for their support.

 

Explore your addiction treatment options

Once you’ve committed to recovery, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. While addiction treatment can vary according to the specific drug, a successful program often includes different elements, such as:

  • Detoxification. Usually the first step is to purge your body of drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Behavioral counseling. Individual, group, and/or family therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.
  • Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.
  • Long-term follow-up can help to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. This may include attending regular in-person support groups or online meetings to help keep your recovery on track.
Types of drug treatment programs
Residential treatment – Residential treatment involves living at a facility and getting away from work, school, family, friends, and addiction triggers while undergoing intensive treatment. Residential treatment can last from a few days to several months.
Day treatment/Partial hospitalization – Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but wish to still live at home and have a stable living environment. These treatment programs usually meet at a treatment center for 7 to 8 hours during the day, then you return home at night.
Outpatient treatment – Not a live-in treatment program, these outpatient programs can be scheduled around work or school. You’re treated during the day or evening but don’t stay overnight. The major focus is relapse prevention.
Sober living communities – Living in a sober house normally follows an intensive treatment program such as residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a safe, supportive, and drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.

As you consider the options, keep in mind:

No treatment works for everyone. Everyone’s needs are different. Whether you have a problem with illegal or prescription drugs, addiction treatment should be customized to your unique situation. It’s important that you find a program that feels right.

Treatment should address more than just your drug abuse. Addiction affects your whole life, including your relationships, career, health, and psychological well-being. Treatment success depends on…

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