Addiction is still a huge problem that many people face and I’m sure everyone has an experience with, whether it be yourself or seeing it in friends or families. According to DrugFree.org, over 23 million American are suffering with addiction to alcohol or drugs. Many people often wonder why one could become addicted and may not understand the complexities of suffering from an addiction. For this week, I will be diving into the psychological and spiritual aspects of facing an addiction.
Addiction From A Psychological Perspective
The American Psychological Association defines addiction as “a condition in which the body must have a drug to avoid physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.”Inspire Malibu talks about the five stages that create an addiction which are the following,
- Initial Use
- This is the first experience with the stimuli. Whether it’s for recreational use, this person gets familiar with the feelings it gives them and starts the point of their exploration.
2. Routine Use
- This is the stage where they are using the stimuli out of necessity or when they are triggered. At this point, the person has established a relationship to the stimuli and have shown favor for the effects it gives them.
- This is the stage where the body has adjusted to the levels of the stimuli to the point that the original dosage doesn’t provide the effect anymore. This is the start of addiction.
- This is the stage where there the stimuli is used quite frequently. It has gotten to the point where the person will start to experience serious withdrawal symptoms.
- At this final stage, it is impossible for the person to break the dependency of the given stimuli. At this point, the person is in denial of the addiction and has accepted as a normal routine.
This is a generalized process that reflect many who suffer with an addiction but they could either show signs that are slower or faster than this duration. During this cycle, it would be very difficult to confront the person about an intervention. But simply knowing the roadmap to addiction isn’t enough. In order to find the reason one may find themselves becoming addicted to a substance or activity, we have to dig deeper and understand it from a spiritual standpoint.
Addiction From A Spiritual Perspective
Out of all the reasons someone may become addicted, the underlying reason many people face this problem is because it acts as a coping mechanism. When someone is addicted to a substance or an activity, it’s because the stimuli is serving them. By taking drugs, it is filling the void in some aspect of their life. They may use it to mask their emotions from trauma or any episode in their lives that may cause stress. These people are finding any way they can to feel good about themselves. The modern approach to criticizing someone with an addiction and the stigma around those who are addicted does not help the situation. Simply telling someone that they are “bad” or isolating them because of it will make them rely on the substance and activity more. You have to understand the reason why they do what they do and create a safe solution that can replace the habit they’ve become accustomed to. If someone was addicted to prescription drugs because they faced serious childhood trauma, they would have to work on healing the inner child and reach the stage of acceptance. If someone drinks excessively because they were stressed about their future, they would need dig deeper into the issue and let go of the expectations that don’t resonate them. This isn’t an easy process. As long as the stimuli serves its purpose, its very difficult for the person to stop. As a concerned family member or friend, the only thing you can do is encourage them to explore the issues behind the addiction. The person has to want change. And if its in their heart, they will.