4 Facts About Addiction Many People Don’t Understand

Fact #1 – Addiction rewires brain circuits

Substance abuse causes changes in the brain. What starts as a euphoric experience becomes a continuous 24/7 effort to simply feel “normal”. The brain is rewired to compulsively seek the same high that has been chased. Even when faced with negative consequences, the addicted brain now naturally dismisses these events and is consumed with the goal of getting more drugs. For anyone struggling with chemical dependency, the focus is avoiding withdrawals at all costs.

Fact #2 – Relapse isn’t the end

Understanding addiction starts with understanding that during the recovery process, relapse is common. Many people have one or more relapses. These are often caused by emotional struggles that trigger drug or alcohol use. Keep in mind, just because someone has used again doesn’t mean treatment failed or recovery is unattainable. Relapse is not the end — it’s a learning opportunity. It’s possible to uncover the triggers that led to relapse and put protective measures in place to prevent future relapses.

Fact #3 – Rock bottom is not necessary

One persistent myth is that anyone who’s struggling with substance abuse must hit rock bottom before they can get help. The truth is, it’s not entirely necessary to hit a bottom before getting drug or alcohol treatment. In fact, the earlier treatment is sought, the better. Allowing the addictive behaviors to continue makes it harder to change in the long run. Continued use also damages the support systems in a person’s life. Early intervention can decrease the damage done, not to the user, but also to the relationships.

Fact #4 – It’s a marathon… not a sprint

Recovery takes time. It involves making huge changes, learning new coping skills, and building a new life. Addiction recovery does not happen overnight and may take many years to master. Many who struggle with substance abuse need long-term care or repeated treatment, which is perfectly okay. Over time, it’s possible to learn new skills such as patience. Recovery isn’t a sprint — it’s a lifelong journey.