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Things You Would Only Understand if You Have a Substance Abuse Disorder

Things You Would Only Understand if You Have a Substance Abuse Disorder

If you or someone you love suffers from a substance abuse disorder, you are definitely not alone. As a matter of fact, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (PFDK), over 200 million people use drugs globally.  But it is a complicated and difficult disease. Here are some things that you only truly understand if you have a substance abuse disorder:

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    You Can Have Problems with More than Just Alcohol and Drugs

    Use of drugs or alcohol is usually secondary to other serious chronic conditions or mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.  This can complicate the treatment process because these other health issues must be treated in order to help treat the addiction itself.  This is why rehabilitation often includes emotional counselling.

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    You did not Become an Addict Overnight

    Addiction is not a problem that pops up suddenly: often, it comes on slowly over a period of time.  Often, it happens as you build up a tolerance to a certain drug and eventually need more and more of it to get the same effect. Also, you can sometimes go from using “milder” drugs like alcohol or marijuana and then eventually go on to harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

    You have Many Reasons for Using

    The stereotype is that many drug abusers use just for the fun of it or to entertain themselves or for the pleasure of getting high. While some people do use recreationally, the reasons that lie behind use are often much more complicated.  You can use in order to help deal with stress or anxiety, to cope with traumatic life experiences or even to help you study better, lose weight or perform better in sports. This variety of reasons makes the treatment for complicated.

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      You Feel Like Your Life Centers Around Your Habit

      If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you often begin to feel like your entire life centers around your habit. Things that you enjoyed before — like sports or school or just being with friends or family — can suffer from your habit, but you feel like you will never be able to give it up even if it hurts the ones you love. Sometimes, all you can think about is where you can get your next hit.

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        You Feel Ashamed and Guilty — but Don’t Feel Like You can Quit

        When you abuse alcohol or drugs, this behavior can often go along with feelings of guilt or shame — but these feelings aren’t enough to make you stop your habit.  They can, however, be a source of great emotional distress — and this, in turn, can make the problem even worse.

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        You Don’t Know if You Can Handle Rehab

        While rehabilitation is the best way to break an addiction, it is also an incredibly stressful process, both emotionally and physically. One of the most difficult parts is the detoxification process, which seeks to clean the body of the drugs. During this process, the body reacts to the withdrawal of substances it has become used to and this reaction can be severe and involve reactions like headaches and body aches, joint pain, restlessness, sleep and appetite disturbances, nausea and vomiting and even more severe symptoms like seizures, hallucinations and even heart attacks or strokes.  This is why the process needs to take place under medical supervision.

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          You are Putting Your Body at Serious Risk

          Even apart from the potential for a fatal overdose, you are putting your body at serious risk when you use drugs, especially over a long period of time.  Drugs can damage the heart and kidneys as well as the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. It can also lead to malnutrition, which in turn can cause secondary problems like anemia or osteoporosis. Knowing this, however, is not always enough motivation to seek help.

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          In short, when you have a substance abuse disorder, you are suffering from a complicated disease with many potential causes — as well as many potential dangers, both emotional and physical. The good news is that rehab, with its combination of physical, emotional and mental treatment, can help you detoxify, get clean and stay clean in order to get back to a normal, healthy life.

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          Brian Wu

          Health Writer, Author

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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