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Barriers to Change in Addiction

When dealing with addiction there are many barriers to change. In addiction, drug or alcohol dependency can be both biological and psychological. For instance, cravings can be both physiologically-based and the addict can also have a psychological attachment to the drug of choice.


Barrier to Change

Physical dependency on drugs or alcohol is one of the major barriers when it comes to addiction. The addict may not wish to try for sobriety when their may be intense pain due to withdrawal involved in the process.

Past experience of withdrawal and relapse may make the addict leery or gun-shy about breaking the physical dependency.

As difficult as physical dependency is to kick for many substance abusers, psychological or emotional dependency may even be tougher to break. For instance, many addicts start using because of underlying issues with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental or emotional issues. When drugs or alcohol are no longer being used, all of a sudden, unpleasant feelings may overwhelm the substance abuser, which encourages using again to make the feelings go away.

Another barrier to change when it comes to addiction is the beliefs and attitudes of the user regarding drugs or alcohol. The abuser may think they are weak or helpless when not using or believe that they in some way cannot cope or even that they are a bad person. The substance abuser may use their drugs of choice in order to avoid these unpleasant thoughts and keep them at bay.

Family and friends may be another barrier to change in addiction. The addict may have some "enabler" spouses, family member or friends who encourage the drug or alcohol use and respond negatively when the abuser stops using their drugs of choice.

Beyond enabling friends or family members the abuser may also have toxic people in their lives as well. These people may have far more negative impact on the substance abuser than even the enablers (though enablers and toxic persons can be both) in that the toxic people may also have a negative impact on self esteem and may be critical of all areas of the addicts life, not just the life surrounding the drug or alcohol abuse.

A lack of adequate support system is also a barrier to change for many addicts. As addicts tend to increasingly isolate themselves from family, friends and others, after awhile they may only be surrounded by enablers and toxic people and lack sufficient positive social influences to maintain sobriety.

The good news is that there are many ways in breaking the barriers to change in addiction. For all new addicts who come onboard the recovery train, many more have already been there, dealt with the same barriers and are now living clean and sober lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

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