Overcoming Mental and Physical Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol Now

How long before I can overcome an addiction?

Understanding Addiction is the First Step to Ending it.
It’s the question every patient wants to know the answer to. It plagues the minds of their loved ones and it’s the key question asked at the beginning of the journey to a sober life. Obviously, those who are affected by a patient’s addiction want to assist and we secretly hope that there is a really quick turnaround thanks to some miracle quick fix….but sadly, there’s a little more you need to know before you can answer this all-important question.

overcoming physical addiction

The first and foremost thing to know about addiction is that the more you know about it, the better it is for you and for your loved one. You know that feeling of frustration you get from not being able to solve a riddle or puzzle? It’s the same with addiction, and it leads to us quickly tiring from the wasted effort. Well, it’s not a complete waste, as all effort is important in the fight to end addiction however the key is to ensure that the effort you and the loved one make to overcome addiction make sense, not just in your mind, but in the addict’s mind too. Our Rehab staff understand this and help you move towards it.

Substance addiction is not really about the substance itself.

Rather, the root cause of the entire issue is the all-important centre of attention when it comes to addiction. It could be something that arises from childhood trauma that is buried below the surface of the addict. Traumatic experiences, regardless of the level are still traumatic and the reaction to the trauma as well as the event itself may not always be clear to the addict. Add to the mix that substance abuse may also be genetic and all of a sudden the clarity to the big question becomes even hazier. 

Once you take a moment to look at addiction from that perspective, it is quite clear to see that tackling these issues may take time. How long? Well here are a few questions that can assist in finding clarity when it comes to the question of overcoming addiction.

overcoming-an-addiction to-drugs and-alcohol

How long before I overcome addiction?

In short, there are no clear answers to the question of time when it comes to addiction.
Every single person is different, in experience, in body type and circumstance. At Houghton House Addiction & Mental Health Treatment Centres, Johannesburg’s premier substance abuse disorder treatment facility, we believe that you can never truly eliminate the tendency for addiction because a good percentage of addiction is determined by genetics. Unlike flu or other easily remedied illnesses, addiction isn’t something the body can just recover from it. With flu, the body fights the illness thanks to your immune system and soon you are well again. With addiction, it’s like a virus that does not ever fully disappear. It will remain in your body forever and the key is to ensure that you keep your body in top condition to fight this “virus” at any time. It is important to never let your guard down. Therefore, time is relevant to life; it is, in essence, a lifelong effort. 


How long will physical addiction and my rehab last?

Drug rehabilitation on the other hand is a little easier to give a rough estimate of. Although again it must be stressed that every patient is different, drug rehab can last between 30 days and a full year, with an averaged out period being pinned down to around 90 days. This of course is not a blanket statement as you should know by now that the individual needs, issues and requirements of each patient differ. Factors such as the addiction type, the treatment methods, the underlying issues, the mental and physical health and even the social situation in which the patient surrounds himself comes into play here. To put it bluntly, a former addict has to be on guard for the rest of their life. A trigger, a stressful situation or a traumatic experience can be the catalyst for relapse and the work has to once again begin towards sobriety. Dual diagnosis (when a patient has both drug addiction and a mental disorder such as depression) may cause rehab to last longer. The best answer to this is that rehab treatments takes as long as is needed to ensure that the patient is at his or her strongest before ending the treatment.  

help overcomong an addiction to substances

How long will it take for my body to recover from opioids and alcohol addiction?

 In strictly medical terms, there is no distinction between someone who is addicted to opioids or alcohol. It may be hard to hear this but addiction to heroin is just as impactful as an addiction to alcohol. The difference boils down to the addict’s choice. Addicts choose substances based on their own needs, for example, someone who is socially awkward may use alcohol as a ‘social lubricant’ as it is perceived to reduce a person’s natural inhibitions.  Therefore it can be said that alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation times are quite similar however the exact time varies. 

What is the toll on alcohol abuse and can I recover from it?

So the next question is, around the time needed for a body to recover from alcohol abuse. The answer relies heavily on the amount of alcohol consumed and the time it has been consumed, i.e. the period of time the addiction has been present. There is a stark contrast between one beer a week versus a bottle of whiskey every night for years.   The toll the abuse takes on the kidneys, liver, heart and brain can be catastrophic. The body is an amazing thing and can recover quite quickly from minor alcohol-related/caused organ damage but severe damage can be more permanent.


Can an addict ever truly recover from addiction?

YES. Full recovery is always possible. At Johannesburg’s best rehab facility, we pride ourselves in always putting 120% effort into each patient’s recovery.  Most people who are addicted to a substance are not able to recover on their own. It is regarded as the defining argument whether or not a person is in fact an addict. Rather than pretend that you have it under control, release the burden and contact us today, we are ready and waiting to arm you with the tools needed towards a new you. At Houghton House we believe in you and that no addiction is impossible to overcome.

 Trapped in the grip of drug or alcohol addiction

It can be a very scary and confusing place. You may feel panicky, irritated, afraid and often way out of control. You probably will be experiencing a whole host of emotions that make you uncomfortable, and it seems the only answer is taking or drinking more. When you are struggling with addiction, it can become a very isolated experience particularly when you’re dealing with both psychological and physical problems from drug or alcohol addiction.


Addiction is a multi-faceted and complex disease.

physical addiction

Substance abuse is often a difficult path and physical and psychological addiction can often happen simultaneously. It is so imperative for you to be able to recognise and tell the difference between the two that’s where a decent drug rehab program will help. Often the term “addiction” is oversimplified, but in reality there are many types of addiction that often lay on a spectrum. One of the most important distinctions to make when considering addiction is whether the addiction is physical, psychological or a combination of both.

Physical addiction happens when your body develops dependency on a substance or drug. This dependency means that the cells of your body fail to function without it. This failure to function is reflected in withdrawal symptoms including headaches, vomiting or nausea. These symptoms are the body’s way of urging the addicted individual to use again to return to a functioning state.

Physical addiction causes pain that can often only be abated by another dose or another drink. Some drugs are said to be less physically addictive than others. For instance, ecstasy is less physically addictive for many compared to heroin or meth. Physical addiction is often treated through a process of detoxification.

Detoxification is a slow and gradual process. Often, physically addicted individuals cannot stop using cold turkey. Houghton House can help addicts create a program that slowly decreases usage so that they don’t feel withdrawal symptoms as strongly. Sometimes, other drugs are even used in substitution for stronger drugs.

Psychological addiction functions more in the mind of the addicted individual. Psychological addicts from all walks of life are consumed with thoughts of the next dose, drink or hit. Physical addiction is more intertwined with ideas of compulsion and desire. It is the feeling of not being able to live without something.


Symptoms of Physical Addiction

Substance abuse should never be ignored and is a very serious issue if you’re physically addicted. If you’re concerned that you might be physically addicted, there are some physical warning marks to look out for:

  1. Memory loss
  2. Body aches
  3. Irritability
  4. Headaches
  5. Seizures
  6. Nausea
  7. Blackouts
  8. Depression
  9. Tremors and shaking
  10. Restless legs
  11. Mood swings
  12. Vomiting
  13. Disorientation
  14. Shortness of breath
  15. Dry mouth
  16. Constricted pupils
  17. Pulse rate changes
  18. Blood pressure changes

Symptoms of Psychological Addiction

The indicators of psychological addiction can be very powerful and incapacitating. They include:

  1. Powerful substance desires
  2. Disavowal of responsibility
  3. Helplessness to imagine managing without the substance
  4. Appetite loss
  5. Sensation  of restless/agitation when you can’t use the substance
  6. Being emotionally preoccupied with getting more of the
  7. Apprehension when being unable to get the drug
  8. Sleeplessness that is related to not being able to use
  9. Desire that appears intermittently, even years after stopping the substance of abuse
  10. Mood changes

Often, detoxification doesn’t work fully for psychological addictions.

rehabilitation centres in Gauteng physical addiction

The mind overpowers the body and the desire for another dose or drink is still there. Many doctors and therapists consider drug or alcohol rehab a more important step for those who are psychologically addicted. These programs allow recovering addicts to create and allow another way of thinking.

Skills and coping mechanisms that are cognitive are necessary for overcoming a psychological addiction. These tools are those that Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres supplies for patients.

However, it is important to note that psychological and physical addictions can often be tangled into each other. It is sometimes difficult for addicts to make distinctions between physical and mental needs.


Houghton House help addicts learn the exact type of addictions they are dealing with and thus how to successfully treat them. Understanding addiction is the first step to ending it.

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