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Chemical dependency is a term that refers to the overwhelming need to use drugs.
Those who struggle with dependency may become psychologically and even physically addicted to an illicit substance. Once addicted, an addict will feel the need to use drugs even when it causes them serious harm. No matter what the external circumstances are, an addict will continue to use until they get into a chemical dependency treatment program at a center or facility or contunue the abuse and die.
Chemical Dependency Is A Chronic Disease
Chemical dependency is considered a chronic disease that includes many environmental, social and genetic factors. It’s not a cut-and-dried diagnosis, so the disease may be difficult to diagnose and treat without professional help.
Considered a primary disease, chemical dependency may be coupled with other diseases that may contribute to its intensity. It can become progressively worse to the point that it is fatal. Those who become dependent may be in denial of how serious their addiction is.
This self-deluding behavior is self-destructive and may alienate an addict from getting help. They may not understand that chemical dependency causes changes to the brain’s chemistry that will not allow them to get off the drug without professional help. As a result, they end up in a cycle of shame, heavier usage and more shame. The cycle of chemical dependency may not be broken until the addict understands the multiple factors involved in their addiction, limits their shame and seeks out long-term help.
Two Types Of Chemical Dependency
There are two types of chemical dependency, periodic and continuous. Periodic or “binge” users will have episodes of extreme drug followed by short dry spells. Continuous chemical dependency remains constant as usage intensifies. Both types are dangerous.
Addicts will never be cured, per se, but may find treatment through a chemical dependency counselor. Since chemical dependency goes hand-in-hand with other conditions (e.g., depression), a professional counselor will be able to help an addict gain insight and perspective into his or her condition.
With therapy, an addict can begin to uncover the accompanying conditions and begin to develop a plan for sober living. A chemical dependency counselor can help a patient learn new ways to deal with stress and self-soothe. Once a plan to become abstinent is set, a patient can begin to overcome chemical dependency and live a healthier life.