As human beings, one of our most primal survival instincts is “fight-or-flight.” Our brains are hardwired to perceive danger, deal with or overcome a threat or flee to safety. While early humans developed this instinct to protect themselves from peril, in today’s world, we are unlikely to be faced with the same life and death situations of our predecessors. Because of this, the ingrained instinct can often cause over-reactions and destructive behaviors such as panic attacks, irrational behaviors and even fuel addictions.
Addiction Feeding the Desire to Escape
Unfortunately, this over-response leads many to drugs or alcohol as a way to “flee” or avoid negative feelings or issues; whether they be from stress, abuse, trauma or mental illness. For some, the inability to turn down the volume of this instinct leads to substance abuse. As the addiction takes hold, a perpetuating cycle begins. Substances are used as a form of escape, but in reality, only serve to create more problems. As the troubles pile up, the desire to flee increases, and the addiction feeds the desire to evade feelings even more.
The threshold for dealing with stressful situations is different for every individual. For instance, someone with social anxiety may feel the need to flee in what others consider a normal social situation. In others, the desire to escape comes from everyday challenges like stress at work or feeling overwhelmed by family obligations. And, there are individuals who are dealing with serious mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or clinical depression which can put them in the position of wanting to “break free” or run away.
Breaking the Cycle of Addiction
Drugs and alcohol only provide a temporary form of escape, and are not a viable solution for dealing with life on life’s terms. It’s unfortunate that many individuals with strong flight or fight instincts innocently turn to drugs or alcohol for temporary relief, but soon discover themselves battling addiction.
Because addiction is often masking an underlying stressor or condition, it is necessary to find the proper treatment for addressing the reasons for wanting to escape along with the addiction itself. Programs that only treat the addiction and ignore the underlying causes are bound to fail. This is why we offer effective treatment for both the addiction as well as any mental health issue.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Long-Term, Effective Recovery
Are you or a loved one abusing drugs or alcohol as a way to escape the issues in your life? There is help available. At Serenity at Summit, we treat the entire person and address the addiction, as well as the underlying issues that contribute to it with our dual diagnosis treatment program.