Why Is Quitting An Addiction So Hard?

Why Is Quitting An Addiction So Hard?

You know you have a problem. Your addictive behavior has been affecting other areas of your life. Now, you want to quit your addiction. It’s possible that you didn’t realize you would be addicted when you first started. You might have believed you were just having fun, and that you could stop at any moment.

Many people suffering from addiction are surprised by how difficult it is to quit. Some people may wonder “Why can’t I quit?”

This article will explain why it is so difficult to quit an addiction. It discusses some of the obstacles you might face as well as strategies that may help you succeed.

Why is Quitting So Hard?

Addiction alters your brain’s frontal cortex and can affect your impulse control, judgment and behavior. A brain alteration in the reward system means that people can have a greater craving for drugs or more rewarding experiences.

Although these changes can make it difficult to quit, they are manageable. Recovering is possible with the right resources and plan.

You can quit, but it is not easy. It is not easy to quit due to many factors. However, not everyone is able to quit all on their own.

understanding Tolerance

Understanding Tolerance

Tolerance and withdrawal are the key ingredients that lead to addiction.

Tolerance is both psychological and physical. The more the behavior is repeated, you will have less sensitivity to it. You also need more to achieve the same effect. Drugs like alcohol and opiates act on certain parts of the brain to create tolerance.

Gambling and sex are two examples of behaviors that can produce a feeling of excitement. However, as tolerance builds, you might need to use more of the drug or behavior in order to achieve the same effects.

Withdrawal Symptoms

You may feel withdrawal symptoms if you are dependent on a substance or behavior. These symptoms may temporarily disappear if you resume using the substance or engaging in the behavior again. These symptoms usually go away with time and are often permanent after you quit using the substance.

Physical Symptoms

You may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms after quitting. These symptoms can make quitting harder and may require a physical detox. The severity of your addiction will affect how you feel about physical withdrawal. But symptoms could include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Feeling sick
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Stomach upset

The process of withdrawing from alcohol and other drugs is often completed in several days. It can be difficult and dangerous. A healthcare professional can help you quit smoking. Physical withdrawal can be helped by medications.

Physical Symptoms

Psychological Symptoms

Along with the unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms, you might also experience psychological symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings 
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Sleeping difficulties

You should talk to your doctor about any withdrawal symptoms. However, you should also discuss emotional and mental issues.

There are many challenges after you have gone through withdrawal. It can be difficult to “stay on the wagon” once you have finished. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), suggests that withdrawal symptoms typically last around one week. However, psychological symptoms can last longer.

What are the challenges of quitting?

If your addictive behavior becomes so severe that it causes conflict in your life, you are out of harmony with the other aspects of your life. These conflicts are not going away after you have made a decision to stop and gone through withdrawal.

Addicts often depend on their addiction to cope with stress. You lose this coping mechanism when you stop. This is why it’s so important to have other means of coping established before quitting.

You can seek help from a therapist to deal with your daily problems. If you do not have healthy coping skills, it is likely that you will feel the strong urge to return to your addictive behavior “one more” time.

Relationship support can help with conflict resolution without you resorting to comfort and escape.

Ambivalence, which is the feeling of wanting both to continue the addictive behavior and wanting it to stop, is part of the addictive process from the beginning.

This is often felt as a struggle between “right” or “wrong”, particularly in relation to illegal and/or sexual behavior. Some cases are justified by guilt, while others are not.

Guilt and Justification

You can feel discomfort when your behavior is not in line with your standards of right or wrong. This can motivate you to make positive changes. These feelings can sometimes work against you and cause you to justify your behavior to other people. This can hinder your decision to quit.

Some common reasons include:

  • Denial: “It is not a problem.”
  • Minimization: “I already reduced.”
  • Comparisons: “Pollution is more deadly”. “Uncle Ned smokes cigarettes much more than I do”.
  • Defiance: “I would prefer to live a shorter, happier life than be miserable.”
  • Rationalization: “I’ve never stolen to support my habit.”
  • Lesser of two evils: “I’m impossible to live with if I don’t do it”
  • Misinformation: “Cancer doesn’t run in our family.” “It has medicinal purposes, so it is OK.”
  • Behavior taken out of context: “In certain cultures, polygamy can be acceptable.”
  • Glorification: “Queen Victoria used to,” “Jesus drank wine.”

Margaret Slade MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, states that the “all or nothing” approach to sobriety is a major omission in sobriety.

Therapy can help you deal with unpleasant feelings and unravel the irrational thought patterns that keep you hooked. Quitting isn’t easy. But a supportive group and treatment program can help.

stop drug addiction

How to Survive Addiction

To overcome addiction, you must first decide to quit. Then, plan how you will quit. Finally, deal with withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse.

Addiction is a serious problem. You need to set yourself up for success. If you’re trying not to drink alcohol, it is important that you avoid any places you suspect will have alcohol.

It might be difficult to turn down invitations for barbeques and dinner parties, but it is worth remembering that there will be more gatherings in the future if you have more experience in sobriety. You will likely be more comfortable making decisions that are aligned with your goals.

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