Addicts and alcoholics aren’t usually quick to admit they are afraid of something, even the fact that they have lost control over their ability to manage how they use drugs and consume alcohol. When faced with the choice of treatment or continuing to abuse substances, the choice must seem obvious. Addiction is a life threatening illness. Unfortunately, for the active addict, not using is equally a threat. Life in recovery holds many unknowns which the addicted brain is not capable of processing. More importantly, the addicted brain is currently hardwired in a way to suspect anything which doesn’t have to do with the ability to use drugs and alcohol as a threat.
The midbrain is a specific area of the brain affected by addiction. When drugs and alcohol produce large amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter for pleasure, that dopamine spreads throughout the brain. Primarily interacting with the reward center, the hyperstimulation of dopamine production also has an affect on memory storage as well as associate. How we know to survive, as in what we need to survive like eating and sleeping, lives in the midbrain. Eventually dopamine causes a shift in the midbrain due to the way it alters the memory channels. Not only does using drugs and alcohol become a means of survival equal to eating and sleeping, but it becomes the most important means of survival. Quite literally, the brain becomes thoroughly convinced that the greatest threat to livelihood is not being able to use drugs and alcohol. Facing the fear of crippling cravings and the fear of not being able to conquer over them is a terrifying idea.
Other fears can prevent an addict from seeking the treatment they need to fight addiction and come out victorious. Addiction is accompanied by guilt, shame, and stigma, leading an addict to fear they will be judged, criticized, and ridiculed. Most addicts aren’t aware of the amount of love, compassion, and empathy which waits for them in treatment. Treatment poses its own challenges. Reconciling with the past, feeling feelings for the first time, working on mending relationships- all of these activities can include emotional pain, the opposite experience the addicted brain is interested in.
We often remind people in recovery, nobody said it was easy! We did tell you it would be worth it. Overcoming your fears of treatment is the first step in getting there. Let Design For Change show you how capable you are of changing. Hope exists in recovery! Call us today for information on our treatment programs and recovery services: (877) 267-3646.