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Avoiding Harmful Behaviors in Rehab

Avoiding Behaviors in Rehab - Bergand Group

How is it that many people abuse alcohol and don’t develop a clinical addiction that leads to a spell in rehab?  It’s unquestionable that many people, particularly college-age youths, binge drink and exhibit dangerous behaviors while managing to come out of the other side unscathed… for the most part.  There is obviously a genetic propensity toward addiction, but what other factors go into whether or not a certain habit will develop into a much more serious issue?  What determines whether a heavy drinker in college finds his way into rehab later on?

When Do Behaviors Become Problematic?

One explanation put forth by neuroscientists is “that these disorders result at least in part from what is called ‘habit learning.’”  When it relates to alcohol, the process means that, originally, the individual felt better (i.e., had a positive response) to a drink or two.  As a result, that person would likely imbibe more in order to experience the same feeling more often.  It isn’t hard to imagine that any given person might want to repeat an experience that, at least at first, left them feeling better off afterward.  Of course, the danger comes when these occasions morph into habits and have then “gone far beyond the immediate benefits that they evoked.”

Without the results that they were originally reaching, many begin to push these habits into higher and higher frequency of use.  As an unfortunate consequence, the effects are then lessened further and further until there is really no happiness associated with the habit, but there is unhappiness associated with not participating.  This is when many turn to rehab, where there can be formed strategies to fight cravings and less opportunities to partake.  At the very least, it presents an opportunity to break from the cycle of habitual use for a period, which can be instrumental in overcoming addiction.

The bottom line with all of this is that there needs to be more comprehensive study of how habits are formed and better ways to overcome those that we would rather be without.  This would be particularly helpful for those in rehab who are working past those behaviors in order to reach a different lifestyle but who still have old habits pieced into that life and need to remove them.  “One thing has become apparent: since habit learning circuits are so hard to erase, it’s often best to focus treatment on creating NEW habits—developing and then strengthening new and more adaptive behavioral circuits that can provide alternatives to the maladaptive ones.”

There may not yet be any easy answers in remedying these perilous situations, but psychologists are working to offer suggestions, at least.  One such piece of advice is that “creating new sequences of behavior” can help to change ingrained rituals; for example, working within a successful rehab program that incorporates new and comfortable environments to encourage recovery. Seeking out low-anxiety environments and avoiding the opposite is a solid start to this endeavor, since trying to function in situations of higher stress can push the body to fall back on the “tried and true,” which in many of these cases can be detrimental.  It makes sense for a person to seek out the familiar when things become tense, but when this comfort relates to the subject of addiction, there are complications.  Finding a new and successful way to deal with physical or mental pressure might not be easy, but it’ll be much better in the long run.

Don’t let harmful behaviors stay active in your lifestyle.  For more information on alcohol rehab in Harford County, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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