The truth about addiction and the cures

There is no one way to overcome the challenges of addiction - there are many!

Take smoking as an example. Patches work for some people; medication helps others; hypnosis is known to be effective and frequency pattens are used successfully in other cases. Even having 'buddies' help you by supportive texting has proven to increase the chances of stopping the habit by 10%.

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Most people don't need to be told of the health risks, the financial cost and the anti-social nature of the addiction to nicotine, so plying them with health facts and pictures of their damaged internal organs has as much effect as the heath warnings on a packet of cigarettes; with time, the mind finds a way to block out the messages and images it is not ready to let in.

The one aspect of addiction that most successful practitioners agree on is that willpower, for most people, is not the most effective tool to use. This is for one simple reason: you only have to fail to maintain discipline once and the entire willpower strategy collapses. Consider that one may have the urge to smoke 30 or 40 times a day but succumbing to the temptation of just one cigarette will put you right back to the start of the process. As Carl Jung so wisely put it: 'What we resist persists.'

So, if there are an abundance of tools and processes that work how is it that many people spend frustrating years trying to give up without success? 

In most cases it is because people are using the wrong tool (or process) for the job because choosing a method is a hit and miss affair for most of us.  Such is the nature of addiction that even the difference between tackling smoking as a psychological addiction or a mild psychoactive addiction will make a near 60% difference in success rates.

A psychological addiction is one where a user feels compelled to use a drug irrespective of the negative effects of taking it and they take them because they stimulate the brain's dopaminergic reward system. It gives the feeling of pleasure.

A psychoactive addiction is one where the chemicals involved in the addiction cross the brain-blood barrier directly affecting the central nervous system. This results in changes of mood and often causes changes of behaviour to follow. The chemicals involved are basically stimulants, depressants or hallucinogenics. 

An addictive relationship begins when a person repeatedly seeks the illusion of relief to avoid unpleasant feelings or situations.

Therefore,when dealing with more serious substances taken over prolonged periods, a physical dependence may develop and there is generally no improvement until the mind/body system is cleansed; hence the traditional treatment of detoxing and going away to a place where there is no access to the substance involved. Relapse rates are extremely high in traditional treatments because they fail to address the one issue which does make the difference: the desire to take the drug. 

Irrespective of how serious and long term the addiction has been, there are other ways of detoxing and clearing the mind/body system   than going away for an extended stay in a rehabilitation centre - these are the natural resources and support our mind/body system gives us and using these natural resources do only one thing; they assist in breaking the hold the chemical has and once the desire to indulge in the substance has gone, so has the addiction.   

When the stranglehold that desire placed on the user has been broken the previously addicted user has free choice to either continue as they were before first taking the substance or revert to indulging in it; however, it is now their choice rather than a psychological addiction or physical dependency.

The trick to achieving rapid and effortless results to all but the most serious addictions is being able to predict which process (or combination of processes) will be most  efficacious for you. This is best achieved by having a diagnosis conducted by someone with a full range of methods at their disposal. 

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