Every person’s journey with addiction and recovery will be unique. One’s history with addictive substances, influences, and emotions are all unique to their situation, and finding the best path to sobriety is a personal endeavor. Because of the highly varied nature of recovery, different therapeutic approaches and methods are applied specifically to find one’s best outcome. Medication is one of these options to help cope with the unique demands of recovery. However, medicine is not for everyone, nor is it a requirement for a healthy, sober future. Understanding the intentions behind treatment can help each individual make the most informed decision on whether medication is right for them.
Understanding the Role of Medication
Recovery comes with a myriad of stresses, from constant urges to reengage with addictive substances to prevalent feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, panic, or any of the plethora of mental and emotional effects. Addiction is a disease that affects the mind as much as the body. It can be incredibly difficult to maintain sobriety if individuals do not address the underlying feelings that may influence their decisions to reengage with addictive substances. Medication is one option to help cope with these ever-prevalent and difficult emotions throughout the recovery process.
Medicine may help directly address some of these issues. However, no one medication will “cure” addiction, nor is there a way to circumvent these feelings entirely. Addiction and recovery will always come paired with their difficulties, and each individual will have to face their battles in their journey to sobriety. While medication can help address specific aspects of one’s journey, no prescription will eliminate the demands put on a person or turn recovery into an “easy” process. The role of medication is to help ease certain areas while still making efforts to further one’s sober strategies in their journey towards sustained, healthy sobriety.
Setting Appropriate Expectations
While medication does not present a “cure” for addiction or an “easy” path to a healthy, sober life, it still provides several benefits for those navigating their recovery journey. Setting appropriate expectations for medicine as a recovery tool can help manage one’s goals and inform reasonable expectations in their sober path going forward.
During the early stages of recovery, especially during detox, one will face many difficult trials. These include withdrawal symptoms to pervasive feelings of anxiety or panic that an individual may not have developed strategies to address yet. Medication can be a way to quell some of the more intense withdrawal symptoms while beginning to explore the efficacy of new coping strategies.
Likewise, medication may help alleviate some feelings of anxiety but does not work to remove the source of this anxiety itself. Instead, setting expectations for medicinal benefit involves understanding its capability and intention in the area of one’s recovery. This idea should be explored before using the medication as a catalyst to build unique coping strategies and techniques along one’s journey.
Pay Attention to Your Mindset
Medication is a boon to bolster other recovery techniques, not a crutch to be wholly relied upon. No medication can teach an individual to channel their emotional difficulties effectively or impart effective communication strategies or life skills. Overreliance on medicine to navigate the challenges of addiction recovery can lead to furthering an unhealthy mindset.
You Still Have to Do the Work
Medication can take the edge off of anxieties and depression and mitigate some withdrawal symptoms. However, the brunt of the work in addiction recovery is still up to the individual. While prescription medication can help motivate individuals to attend group meetings or manage their depression while talking about their history with addictive substances, they are no replacement for genuinely transformative learning and opportunity.
The effects of addiction are often seeded in one’s mind, and active engagement in therapeutic techniques, individual and group therapy, and personalized recovery strategies are all still necessary. A combination of medication and active engagement, education, and a sustainable, safe environment of peers and support are essential to address all parts of one’s journey to sobriety.
Medication is not a necessary part of the recovery process, and it is possible to achieve healthy, successful sobriety without using it at any phase. Discussing one’s expectations and struggles throughout the recovery process with professionals can illuminate which prescription may be right for each individual or if medication is necessary at all. However, recovery will always be a personal journey, and an individual’s progress and dedication to a sober future will always be a determining factor in sustained sobriety.
Medication can provide a unique benefit throughout one’s recovery journey and may be necessary to effectively manage withdrawal symptoms or emotional turmoils prevalent throughout their journey. However, they are not necessarily a part of every person’s sobriety, and how you engage with medication on your recovery journey will be unique to you. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, located in Santa Ana, CA, we understand the unique perspective and journey each individual will take towards their own sober goals and beyond. With our personalized approach to your needs and goals, coupled with our complete detox, residential, and outpatient care, we can help you navigate each step of the way while developing personalized strategies in an accepting, supportive atmosphere of peers and professionals. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (714) 492-1119.