PDF: EasyToRead_WhatIsAddiction_Final_012017.pdf

Healing from addiction takes time. Making up your mind to stop using drugs is a big step. Being addicted makes you afraid of what will happen if you don't keep taking the drug. People often won't try quitting until they're forced to, because it seems too hard.

When you stop using the drug, it upsets your body and brain. You might feel very sick for a while, and feel a very strong need to take the drug. It can be really hard to refuse to use the drug when you feel that bad.

But you don't have to do it alone. Support groups, treatment programs, and sometimes medicines can help. You'll meet people who understand what you're going through, who can give you advice and cheer you on. Counselors can help you find medicines that make you feel less sick and reduce your cravings to use the drug. They can also teach you how to cope with problems without using drugs.

After you've stopped using the drug, you still have a lot to do:

  • You have to relearn how to live without using drugs.
  • You have to work on the problems your drug use caused with your family, your job, your friends, and your money.
  • You have to stay away from people you used drugs with and places where you used.
  • You have to learn what makes you want to take drugs again, so you can avoid or work on those things.
  • You may also need treatment for problems that led to your drug use, such as depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.

A trigger is anything that makes a person feel the urge to go back to using drugs. It can be a place, person, thing, smell, feeling, or memory that reminds the person of taking a drug and getting high. A trigger can be something stressful that you want to escape from. It can even be something that makes you feel happy. People fighting addiction need to stay away from the triggers that can make them start using drugs again, just like people with breathing problems need to avoid smoke and dust.