How to Stop Addiction to Drugs: a Comprehensive Guide

Discover how to stop addiction to drugs and how to find a reputable treatment facility in your area here.
how to stop addiction to drugs

Addiction Overview

Overcoming addiction to drugs can be a daunting journey. But, with courage, commitment, and the right resources, it’s entirely achievable. 

This guide aims to provide practical steps and advice on how to stop addiction to drugs. The goal is to help those affected to regain control of their lives. 

Important Note About How to Stop Addiction to Drugs

It’s important to remember that every individual’s experience with how to stop addiction to drugs is unique. As such, the path to recovery will be unique as well. 

Whether you battle addiction yourself or support a loved one through this challenging time, understanding how to stop addiction to drugs can serve as a solid foundation for recovery.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a complex, chronic disorder. It is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. 

It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain’s structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors. This makes the answer to “how to stop addiction to drugs” more complicated.1

What Does Addiction Involve?

Addiction involves both a physical and psychological component.

Physical Components of Addiction

Physically, the body may become dependent on the substance to function. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not used. 

Psychological Components of Addiction

Psychologically, individuals may feel a strong desire or compulsion to use the substance. This is often done to manage negative emotions or stressors in their life.

Addiction is More Than Moral Failure

It’s important to note that how to stop addiction to drugs is not merely a lack of willpower or moral failure. It’s a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide.2

Addiction often requires professional help to overcome. It can be related to various factors including:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Trauma
  • Mental health disorders

How to Stop Addiction to Drugs: Common Addictive Substances

There is a wide range of substances that individuals can become addicted to. But, the propensity for addiction can vary greatly from person to person.

Below are some of the most commonly abused substances.

Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances worldwide. Prolonged heavy use can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

Tobacco

Nicotine, the active substance in tobacco, is highly addictive. It’s often consumed through cigarettes or chewing tobacco.

Opioids

This category includes both illegal drugs like heroin and prescription pain relievers. These may include: 

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine

Opioids are particularly dangerous due to their high risk of overdose.

Stimulants

This category includes substances like:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs used to treat ADHD, like Adderall and Ritalin

These drugs can be highly addictive.

Cannabis (Marijuana)

While often perceived as less harmful, cannabis can also lead to substance use disorder. This is mostly due to the increased potency of marijuana in recent years and its widespread availability.3

Benzodiazepines

These prescription medications, including drugs like Xanax and Valium, are used to treat conditions like anxiety and insomnia. They have a high potential for abuse and can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

Hallucinogens

While less common, hallucinogens can also lead to substance use disorders. These include: 

  • LSD
  • Psilocybin mushrooms
  • MDMA 

Inhalants

Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce mind-altering effects. While often less common than other forms of substance abuse, they can still lead to dependence and addiction.

How to Stop Addiction to Drugs: How Does Addiction Happen?

Addiction is a complex process that involves several factors. These include: 

  • Brain chemistry
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Environmental influences 
  • Psychological factors

Changes in Brain Chemistry

When a person uses drugs, their brain releases a surge of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. 

Over time, repeated drug use can disrupt the way the brain’s reward system works. This can lead to a decreased sensitivity to dopamine. This means that the person needs to use more of the drug to achieve the same pleasurable effects. 

As a result, tolerance and increased use can develop. 

Drug Effects on Other Parts of the Brain

Drugs can affect other parts of the brain responsible for:

  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Behavior control

These factors can contribute to the compulsive drug-seeking behaviors seen in addiction.

Impact of Genetics on Addiction Risk

Genetics can significantly contribute to a person’s risk for addiction. It’s estimated that genetics account for about 40-60% of a person’s vulnerability to addiction. 

Environmental Factors Contributing to Addiction

Environmental factors can also greatly influence the onset and progression of addiction. These can include:

  • Exposure to drugs at an early age
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of family supervision
  • Early aggressive behavior
  • Drug availability
  • Socioeconomic status

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Individuals struggling with mental health disorders are at a higher risk of developing an addiction. These conditions include:

This is due to people using substances to self-medicate.

Earlier Use Increases Addiction Risk

The earlier in life a person begins using drugs, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. This is partly because areas in the brain that govern decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing in teenagers. 

This can make them more prone to risk-taking behaviors such as trying drugs and potentially developing addictions.

Does Addiction Differ from Tolerance and Dependence?

Addiction, tolerance, and dependence are all interconnected concepts within the framework of substance use. However, they each have their own distinct meanings.

Addiction

This is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. It involves changes in the brain that lead to:

  • Loss of control over drug use
  • Strong cravings
  • Continued use even when negative effects are apparent

Addiction often includes elements of both dependence and tolerance but extends beyond them. It affects many areas of an individual’s life, including relationships, work, and physical health.

Tolerance

This refers to a physiological response where the body adapts to a drug. It then requires more of the substance to achieve the same effects. This means that over time, a person may need to use larger amounts of the substance to get the same ‘high’ or feeling that they initially experienced. 

This can often lead to an increase in: 

  • Substance use
  • Dependence
  • Addiction

Dependence

Dependence occurs when the body becomes so accustomed to the presence of a drug that it requires the substance to function normally. When the drug is not present, withdrawal symptoms occur. 

Dependence can be:

  • Physical (manifesting in physical withdrawal symptoms)
  • Psychological (characterized by cravings or anxiety when the drug is not available)

Dependence Does Not Equate to Addiction

Dependence doesn’t necessarily mean a person is addicted. For instance, someone may be dependent on medication prescribed and supervised by a doctor but not be addicted to it. 

However, dependence can sometimes lead to addiction if not properly managed.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for how to stop addiction to drugs. The treatment approach can vary depending on whether a person is dealing with tolerance, dependence, or addiction.

How to Stop Addiction to Drugs at Home

While severe addiction often requires professional help, there are several at-home strategies that can support how to stop addiction to drugs. 

Remember, these strategies should be used in conjunction with professional medical advice and treatment. These tips on how to stop addiction to drugs should never be used as a replacement for recovery treatment. 

Education

Understanding the nature of addiction and its effects on the brain can provide motivation and context for recovery. Reading reputable resources, attending online seminars, or participating in online support groups can be helpful.

Lifestyle Changes

Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can significantly help in recovery. These changes improve physical health and aid the brain’s healing process. 

Mindfulness and Stress Management

Mindfulness techniques can help manage cravings and reduce stress, a common trigger for substance use. These include: 

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation 

Build a Support Network

Having a strong support network is crucial for recovery. Reach out to trusted friends and family members, attend (even virtually) support group meetings like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, or consider online communities and forums.

Identify and Manage Triggers

Recognize situations, emotions, or people that trigger cravings or drug use. Develop a plan to avoid or deal with them. This could involve: 

  • Using distraction techniques
  • Reaching out to a support person
  • Practicing self-care activities

Setting Clear Goals

Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve can provide motivation and a sense of direction. Write down your reasons for quitting, and set short-term and long-term goals.

Journaling

When researching, “how to stop addiction to drugs,” consider journaling. This can be a great way to:

  • Track progress
  • Explore emotions
  • Identify patterns or triggers
  • Reinforce motivations to stay sober

Professional Teletherapy

While technically not a purely “at-home” method, many therapists and addiction counselors offer teletherapy services that can be accessed from home. 

This can provide professional guidance and support, which is especially important in the early stages of recovery.

Understanding the Seriousness of Withdrawal

Remember, addiction is a serious condition and withdrawal can be dangerous, even life-threatening, for certain substances. Any attempts to stop using drugs should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional. 

Always reach out to a healthcare provider when considering stopping substance use.

How to Stop Addiction to Drugs at a Treatment Facility

Treatment facilities like Choice House utilize a comprehensive, multifaceted approach to addiction recovery. They offer a variety of evidence-based treatment modalities designed to address the complex nature of addiction. 

These modalities help equip individuals with the tools they need for lasting recovery. 

Individual Therapy

One-on-one counseling sessions with a trained therapist are a great way to teach people how to stop addiction to drugs. It can help individuals:

  • Understand the root causes of their addiction
  • Develop coping strategies
  • Set recovery goals

Group Therapy

In a group setting, individuals can share experiences, learn from others, and develop social skills. It also provides a sense of community and belonging.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This evidence-based treatment helps individuals recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. It teaches coping skills to manage cravings and avoid triggers.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Certain types of addiction (such as opioids or alcohol) may benefit from medications that can: 

  • Ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduce cravings
  • Block the effects of drugs

Family Therapy

Addiction often affects the whole family. Involving family members in therapy can help repair relationships and create a supportive home environment for recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many individuals with addiction also have other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Dual diagnosis programs address both conditions concurrently.

Holistic Therapies

These can include: 

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Other methods designed to heal the mind, body, and spirit

Nutritional Counseling

When researching, “how to stop addiction to drugs,” consider nutritional counseling. Healthy eating habits can improve overall health, boost mood, and support recovery.

Life Skills Training

Life skills training can teach people how to stop addiction to drugs and how to achieve lasting recovery. This can include teaching individuals about: 

  • Job hunting
  • Financial management
  • Cooking
  • Other skills that can improve independence and quality of life after treatment

Relapse Prevention Planning

Before leaving treatment, individuals work with counselors to develop a detailed plan for managing triggers and preventing relapse.4

How to Stop Addiction to Drugs and Manage Cravings

Managing cravings is a critical part of recovery from drug addiction. Cravings can be powerful, but they are not insurmountable. Here are several strategies that can help.

Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded in the present moment and not get swept away by your cravings. Techniques include deep breathing, body scans, and mindful observation.

Delaying Tactics

When a craving hits, delay acting on it. Set a timer for fifteen minutes and find something else to do in the meantime. Often, the intensity of the craving will lessen or pass entirely during that time.

Distraction

Find healthy activities that can distract you from your cravings. This could include:

  • Going for a walk
  • Calling a friend
  • Reading
  • Painting
  • Any other hobby that you enjoy

Physical Activity

Regular exercise can help reduce cravings and improve your mood. Try to incorporate some form of physical activity into your daily routine, even if it’s just a short walk.

Healthy Eating and Hydration

Poor nutrition and dehydration can sometimes trigger cravings. Try to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

Self-Care

Prioritize activities that help you relax and reduce stress. This could include taking a warm bath, meditating, listening to music, or practicing yoga.

Support Network

Reach out to your support network when you’re experiencing cravings. This could be a trusted friend, family member, or a sponsor if you’re part of a 12-Step program.

Professional Help

Therapists and counselors trained in how to stop addiction to drugs can provide you with additional strategies and tools to manage cravings.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

For some addictions, certain medications can help reduce cravings. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if this could be an option for you.

Cravings Don’t Mean Failure

Experiencing cravings doesn’t mean you’re failing in your recovery. Cravings are a normal part of the process. It’s important to have a plan for how to stop addiction to drugs and manage them when they do occur. 

If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional or a trusted person in your life for support.

how to stop addiction to drugs

How to Stop Addiction to Drugs at Choice House

Overcoming addiction is a journey that requires resilience, commitment, and a comprehensive approach to healing. While drug addiction recovery is difficult, it is not impossible. 

At Choice House, we understand the complexities of addiction and the desire to learn how to stop addiction to drugs. That is why we offer a range of treatment options to help you meet your goals.

What We Offer

We offer a variety of evidence-based treatments tailored to your unique needs. With services such as individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more, we aim to address the root causes of your addiction. 

Contact Choice House Today

We are here to equip individuals with the tools they need for lasting recovery. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. With the right support and resources, recovery is within reach. 

Reach out to us today to learn more about how to stop addiction to drugs. We are here to assist you in reclaiming your life from addiction.

Table of Contents

Questions About Treatment?

Choice House is your comprehensive guide to lasting sobriety and wellness. Reach out to us today to see how we can support you on your journey toward sustainable well-being.

ready to choose a life worth living?

Don’t let addiction or co-occurring mental health conditions keep you from leading the happy, healthy, and empowered life you deserve. Contact Choice House today and embrace recovery.

"*" indicates required fields

Full Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Choice Logo