Managing Addiction

Managing Addiction in a Sober Living Environment

For those with alcohol dependence or substance abuse issues, addiction causes changes in the metabolism and basic functioning of the brain, asserts the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Additionally, the incidence of other related health problems grows, and treatment often becomes the only course of action. However, understanding the role of environment in managing addiction is crucial to preventing, stopping, and recovering during treatment, including teen alcohol abuse 12-step treatment and teen substance abuse 12-step treatment, programs.

Environment and Increased Risk For Addiction

Seven risk factors exist for addiction, according to the Mayo Clinic, which include the following:

  • Having a family history of addiction.
  • Being male.
  • Suffering from another mental health disorder.
  • Dealing with peer pressure.
  • Lack of family presence in environment or life.
  • Experiencing anxiety, depression, or loneliness.
  • Consuming a highly addictive drug, such as cocaine, prescription painkillers, or stimulants.

Each of these risk factors shares a common aspect: they each involve the role of environment. A family history means a person will probably be around family members who abuse drugs or alcohol. Being male is likely to cause a person to want to demonstrate “masculinity,” and dealing with peer pressure is a direct cause of being in an environment with peers who want a person to do or engage in a certain activity. Unfortunately, each risk factor further increases the chances of developing an addiction, and those with a personal history or drug or alcohol abuse need to understand how these factors may worsen addiction.

Environment and Worsening Addiction

Addiction is a description of how the body grows to depend on the presence of a substance to function in a “average” setting, explains Healthline. Unfortunately, another facet of dependence focuses on how dependence grows in synchronicity with tolerance. Essentially, higher levels of the drug or alcohol tend to warrant increased doses of the given substance or alcohol in order to achieve the same “euphoric” effect. When a person already has one addiction, the chances of switching substances to a stronger, more powerful drug increase. As a result, those with an addiction need to avoid situations where drug use may be occurring or promoted.

Connecting Dual Diagnoses and Environment

In a sense, a dual diagnosis may be considered an environmental factor. Those with dual diagnoses may be prone to making poor decisions or engaging in non-holistic, non-therapeutic environments for the co-occurring conditions. Dual diagnosis patients may also view substance or alcohol abuse as a means of coping with the stress of having such diagnoses, asserts the National Alliance on Mental Health. However, each compounding diagnosis only grows worse with drug or alcohol abuse, and treatment for dual diagnosis must focus on removing a person from the ill-suited environment.

Environment During Treatment and Recovery

Treatment for addiction often starts with inpatient hospitalization, especially if a person is experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Inpatient treatment is a direct change in environment, which may be required via a court order in some cases, to prevent a person from gaining access to drugs or alcohol.

In cases of severe alcoholism, inpatient treatment starts with detox, and not completing detox under medical supervision can be deadly, asserts the Mayo Clinic. Although detox from other drugs may not be as life-threatening, some drugs, such as amphetamines, can cause heart arrhythmias or other cardiac events during detox. However, medications can lessen these withdrawal symptoms and reduce their risk.

As treatment progresses, a person must be away from environments that have contributed to drug or alcohol abuse. Behavioral therapies, a key part of successful treatment, may be used to help a person learn how to respond to addiction-contributing environments. For example, a person may learn through behavioral therapies about ways to avoid “giving in” to peer pressure. After inpatient treatment, a person may continue treatment through outpatient behavioral treatment settings, long-term residential treatment settings, or in other safe environments, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

There are many different risk factors for addiction. However, the environment remains one of the largest influences in addiction. Those who may be suffering from an addiction or know of someone with an addiction need to understand the role of environment in the development and successful treatment of substance and alcohol abuse.

The Treatment Specialist team provides assistance to those suffering from addiction and dual diagnosis conditions find a treatment program that fits their specific needs.  The Treatment Specialist team will provide a free confidential assessment and insurance verification.  For more information on treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, contact the helpline at (866) 644-7911.

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