There are many ways to describe an addiction, but no single definition captures each individual’s experience with this disease. The reality is that addiction recovery is a unique journey for each person. However, in spite of all the differences, there are certain obstacles that most people in recovery can relate to.
Understanding these obstacles can better equip you to help the person in your life who’s trying to overcome substance abuse. Showing your support and referring them to the right resources is crucial to bolstering their recovery. Here are five of the most common challenges people face during the recovery process and how you or a loved one can conquer them.
Overcoming addiction is not something that happens overnight. It’s an extremely difficult and often painful process that takes time and plenty of hard work. Throughout the many obstacles of recovery, it can be tempting for an individual to fall back into their old habits. Their addiction has taught them to seek refuge in drugs or alcohol to cope with difficulty, and recovery is one of the biggest challenges they’ll have to face in life.
A patient is often at the highest risk of relapse while undergoing recovery. This is especially true during the detox stage, when they are attempting to rid their system of the substances they have depended on for so long. The symptoms of withdrawal—which include sleeplessness, mood swings and digestive problems, among others—can be very challenging to manage without the aid of substances.
For this reason, going through the detox process under professional care is vital. Not only does self-detox put someone at a much higher risk of relapse, but it can even be dangerous. Trained addiction experts know how to help patients manage their symptoms in a safe environment while offering medication or counseling as needed.
2. Mental Health Issues
After having developed such a strong dependency on a substance, learning to live without it can truly test a person’s emotional and physical limits. With such a profound level of stress placed on them, individuals who suffer from mental health issues may find that recovery exacerbates their symptoms. This can make an already difficult process even more trying.
Mental health conditions that occur alongside substance use disorder are known as co-occurring disorders or comorbidities. People who suffer from mental illness are generally at a higher risk of addiction. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders diagnosed in people with addiction include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Eating disorders
- Various personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Comorbidities can pose a large risk to an individual’s chances of success during recovery. When mental health symptoms begin to worsen, the urge to relapse can become unbearable. Fortunately, many detox centers like Mayflower Recovery have a team of trusted counselors and therapists available to help patients work through their mental health symptoms throughout the recovery process.
3. Social Stigma
The pervasive stigma of addiction can be another obstacle during recovery. Many individuals who struggle with substance abuse may feel ashamed or embarrassed by the way others treat them or behave around them. This can cause them to lose friends or feel like an outcast within their own family. As they attempt to recover from substance use disorder, many individuals falsely believe that they are a failure for having to receive treatment for addiction. This can hamper their progress toward the end goal of sobriety.
If someone close to you is a victim of this perceived stigma, it’s crucial to remind them that seeking help is a sign of incredible strength. The choice they made to begin the recovery process is a huge step forward toward overcoming addiction. Rather than focusing solely on how substance abuse has negatively impacted their life, it’s important for individuals in recovery to look forward to the addiction-free life they can achieve.
Throughout recovery, be sure to keep these points in mind for yourself or your loved one. They can help remind the person of what’s important in their recovery journey so they can rise above the stigma.
4. Financial Struggles
The challenges of addiction recovery aren’t only emotional in nature. As a person continues to struggle with substance abuse, they might find themselves facing significant financial troubles. In the early stages of using alcohol or drugs, the price of these substances may seem negligible. However, it’s easy to see how the costs can add up quickly over the course of addiction. It doesn’t take long for someone in the throes of substance abuse to realize they’ve spent a good portion of their savings on drugs or alcohol.
The financial cost of addiction doesn’t only involve the substances themselves. Substance use disorder can consume a person’s life until their addiction becomes the center of their world. As a result, many of their most pressing responsibilities fall by the wayside. For instance, it isn’t uncommon for individuals with addiction to stop showing up to work or fail to complete their assignments on time. As this behavior persists, they might lose their job and suddenly find themselves with no source of income to rely on.
Other financial obligations, such as paying rent, can also go unfulfilled as a result of addiction. This creates a vicious cycle in which the individual continues to prioritize their dependency instead of other important areas of their life. This financial turmoil may make it difficult for those who are struggling to get the help they need to overcome addiction.
It’s important not to ignore the mental obstacles that may appear on the path to sobriety. One of the most common psychological battles that people deal with in recovery is self-doubt. Everyone faces their own set of challenges during addiction recovery, and many people might doubt their ability to overcome these challenges. Even if they’ve made some progress during treatment, negative thoughts might start to creep in as they face new obstacles along the way.
Throughout the recovery process, patients may find themselves encountering unpleasant memories from their past with substance abuse. This can make them doubt how far they’ve come since then and mistakenly believe they haven’t made any progress. However, every step in recovery brings you closer to living a substance-free life. Keeping this in mind throughout recovery can help shed self-doubt and promote a healthier and more positive mindset.
Overcoming the Challenges of Addiction Recovery
Although there are numerous obstacles that may impede progress in recovery, it doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome with the right strategies. If you or someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse, know that help isn’t out of reach. Deciding to seek help is no easy choice, but it’s the first and most important step on the road to recovery. Being there for the person in your life who’s struggling can make all the difference as they forge their way toward a happy, healthy and substance-free life.
At Mayflower Recovery, we offer personalized treatment plans to meet the need of every patient seeking help. No matter where you are on your journey toward recovery, our highly trained and caring specialists are ready to meet you where you are and offer the help and support you need. During every step of the process, from detox to residential rehab, our experts are there to guide you toward your personal goals. We know that recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is no easy feat, which is why we take the time to understand your unique needs and prepare a treatment plan that meets those goals.
If you or a loved one is ready to take the very first step toward overcoming substance use disorder, reach out to us today to discuss treatment options further.