Motivation to Get Clean
Benjamin Rush, an American Founding Father and Declaration of Independence-signer, labeled addiction an odious disease nearly two centuries ago. Swedish physician Magnus Huss followed in the mid-1800s, and the American Medical Association (AMA) officially defined it as a disease in 1967. Individuals unfamiliar with the biological nature of addiction might blame substance abuse on weak character or moral failings, but such stigmas are rooted in misinformation. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) published a detailed analysis of addiction in 2011, and it highlighted the biological changes that make it a disease. They include the following:
- Changes in brain circuitry alter memory, motivation and reward structures
- The substance of abuse significantly influences important neurotransmissions
- Chemical shifts in the frontal cortex affect impulse control and judgment
- Substance reward memories trigger biological cravings and responses
- Genetic predisposition is about 50% responsible for addiction susceptibility
The neurobiological aspects of addiction demonstrate that recovery is about more than will power. When a person stops using, dopamine levels drop rapidly, and feelings of reward and fulfillment are significantly reduced. Most people also experience withdrawal symptoms that include physical discomfort, racing emotions and mood swings. Complications may also include co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety and panic attacks, which may have initiated the use of addictive benzodiazepines like clonazepam (Klonopin) in the first place. Dysfunctional motivation is a defining characteristic of addiction, and generating new motivation to get clean can be a fight against diseased brain circuitry. Overcoming these issues may sound like a daunting task, but professional treatment can help with the recovery tools, support and motivation to get clean.
The first step toward recovery is acknowledging the problem. Friends and family members might hold an intervention to encourage an addict to get help, but addicts should not wait until such desperate measures. An untreated addiction can cause problems in several ways, including the following:
- Hurt loved ones and damage relationships
- Produce physical and mental health side effects
- Put financial security and employment at risk
- Cause an overdose and other medical emergencies
Regarding the medical risks, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) provides data on substance-related emergency room visits, and the 2011 numbers include the following:
- Nine medical emergencies occurred per 1,000 people aged 21 and older
- Illicit and prescription drugs equally contributed to the 2.5 million total emergencies
- Cocaine was involved in 20% of the emergencies, leading all illicit drugs
- Pain relievers were involved in 23% of the emergencies, leading all drugs
- Prescription sedatives like clonazepam were involved in 17% of the emergencies
Growing numbers of people die each year from substance abuse, and the ripple effects of such tragedies impact friends, loved ones and the community as a whole. For yourself and for the ones you love, it is important to get professional help immediately.
Health issues, debilitating side effects and pressure from loved ones can all motivate a person to get help, but treatment centers tend to focus on positive ways to encourage change. Supervised detoxification helps patients by minimizing the withdrawal symptoms, and behavioral therapies foster more positive thought patterns and outlooks. Anger and stress management skills help keep patients focused, and integrated mental health care can assist with depression, anxiety and other disorders. Likewise, some therapists might utilize a modality called Motivational Interviewing (MI), which involves the following:
- One-on-one counseling using questions to provoke contemplation and express empathy
- Guide patients to find their own motivation to change rather dictate what they must do
- Project acceptance, highlight the patient’s strengths and avoid conflict or censure
- Summarize answers from the patient that demonstrate positive growth and development
- Carefully point out discrepancies between where patients are and where they wish to be
While not all facilities utilize MI, it is one of many tools that therapists use to motivate recovering addicts. All of these therapies help patients stay motivated and focused during the recovery, and over time, the brain circuitry begins to heal and return to normal.
For some addicts, however, it is more than the addiction that suppresses their motivation to get help. It may be other issues like culture, gender, faith and sexual preference that hold them back. The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in 1994 stressed the need to individualize therapeutic approaches and avoid cultural assumptions, while the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research journal in 2003 emphasized the need for cultural competence in rehabilitation. These needs are widely recognized by the treatment community, and several options are available, including the following:
- Treatment centers aligned with a particular faith or culture
- Programs that provide therapies in different languages
- Tracks designed specifically for LGBT, mixed race and other groups
- Facilities or tracks that cater exclusively to a specific gender
For all addiction patients, a sense of inclusion and social support is important for the recovery, and treatment centers help provide these positive influences. Moreover, motivation is needed to maintain the recovery, and patients are encouraged to stay engaged with aftercare counseling, local support groups and a recovery sponsor. Helping others can also be a powerful motivator for people to stay clean themselves.
If you or a loved one needs assistance getting clean, we can help. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, and we can discuss treatment options, interventions, facilities, special tracks and most other concerns. We can also look up insurance plans and explain their treatment benefits. Take that important first step and call our toll-free helpline now.