Decades ago it was a general thought that addictions were something you could just “stop” through shear willpower. Now, thanks to the success stories of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and an abundance of evidence provided by both the National Institute of Drug Abuse,(NIDA) and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the world is slowly beginning to realize that it is just not that simple.

We say “slowly” because there are still many who simply don’t know that addiction is not something a person can simply turn off. Which is why rehab and recovery centers everywhere are constantly updating their treatment methods in order to best aid the person in need. Cities such as Phoenix, AZ have multiple clinics and facilities that are available to those struggling with addiction, and insurance is usually able to help cover partial costs.

Simply put, there are two ways that addiction affects a person:

The first is physical: addictive substances like alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and many others have addictive chemicals inside of them. When used, these chemicals enter our body and attach to our system. The more of these chemicals that get put into our body, the more dependent a person is to that substance.cause the brain to release an excess of dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals in the brain cause pleasure, and that is what is being abused.

When going without the substance, the body goes into withdrawal which can have some pretty nasty side-effects, all of which are an effort to get more.

The second way addiction affects a person is psychological. Habitual addictions are often seen hand-in-hand with physical addictions. These affect the person because of the “normalcy” the mind places on using these addictive substances on a regular basis. The addict may feel like they cannot function normally without it. It could be because they’ve used alcohol or drugs to deal with a traumatic event, a loss, or pain. Without the substance, the mind may feel like it is not capable of coping with reality.

Because of the way addiction attacks both the body and the mind, it is very important to treat both. With physical addiction, the body is treated through detox: a process that cleans out the body’s system of the harmful and addictive chemicals that are forcing it into a state of dependence.

Psychological addiction is treated through various forms of therapy that teach the individual how to live without the substance. This can be done in a myriad of ways, the most common of which being group and individual therapy sessions with a behavioral health therapist. Together, the addict and the therapist will gain insight into what caused the substance use in the first place, and how it got to the stage it is at now.

Other forms of therapy can include animal care, music and art, and even exercise. The point is to get a productive hobby or habit formed in place of the destructive psychological dependence formed during the substance abuse.

Therapy comes after detox, because the mind needs to be clear. One of the most important parts about treatment is understanding the person affected. Each case is unique in its own right, and has to be approached as such in order to truly know the best approach.

Treatment is available, and thanks to the Disease Model of addiction becoming more prevalent, insurance companies are starting to help as well. Nothing should stand in the way of a brighter future.

If you are interested in learning more about treatment, visit