The Need For Escapism
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Even if you haven’t dealt with addiction or someone with an addiction, you probably know many addicts and alcoholics use as a way to escape reality. Daily life becomes too much, and mood-altering substances or behaviours are perceived as the only way to relieve stress, relationship problems, work issues, financial problems, or even self-image concerns.
As they use more and more, because problems seem to be mounting, they enter a vicious cycle. They begin living a life of avoidance, escapism, and denial, which all contribute to more substance use, adding to problems rather than fixing them.
Drug and substance abuse occurs in many struggling with intense emotional distress, trauma, or a mental health condition. For numerous reasons, these individuals turn to self-medication instead of seeking professional help. Or, they have reached out for help and haven’t received proper aid and feel like the system has failed them.
Eventually, the body builds up a tolerance to drugs and other substances. They will have to take more and more of their drug of choice to get the desired high. Not only do they become increasingly physically dependent on substances, but they also develop an emotional dependence. Skills to deal with reality start to fade away as their emotional response is numbed.
Life is stressful for everyone, and most choose healthy ways to escape - whether reading a book, going for a walk, or talking with friends. Just as stress is the main contributor to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, it is also one of the most significant risk factors for drug, alcohol, and other addictions.
Turning to a glass of wine or marijuana occasionally to relax may not cause a problem for many individuals. However, when someone is prone to addiction and/or turns to a substance frequently to relieve stress, it can easily and without warning turn into a major problem known as an addiction.
When substances are frequently used to distance ourselves from stress, learning to manage stress becomes non-existent as reality drifts away.
Avoidance and Denial
Escapism by self-medicating becomes a chronic state of mind and a situation of avoidance and denial. Staying intoxicated can elicit feelings of euphoria and happiness, and it is difficult to want to leave that state when reality seems so complicated and scary. As soon as the effects wear off, the addict immediately begins trying to attain exhilaration once again instead of dealing with mundane daily life.
The Risk of Abusing a Substance
The definition of substance abuse is to use it to alter one’s mood. Although occasional use for many individuals does not lead to addiction, it does increase everyone’s risk of developing a substance abuse problem.
Those with untreated mental health issues, psychological or emotional distress, chronic stress, or physical ailments are at an increased risk in turning to drugs, other substances, and negative behaviours to cope.
Escaping reality is a powerful and attractive option for many. When an addict enters a treatment facility, reality has a way of slapping them in the face and can be overwhelmingly difficult.
As drug and substance interventionists, Liberty Intervention works with the addict from the very beginning. Even before we meet our client, we meet with you, their family. Our goal is always to treat the client and their loved ones because addiction affects not only the individual but the entire family and circle of friends. Our journey with the client does not stop at intervention, nor at the chosen treatment centre. Liberty Intervention also works as counsellors in addiction and relapse prevention, liberating addicts, and their loved ones from their past to a future of freedom full of love and support.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction of any kind, please reach out to use immediately. Your call is confidential, and you will speak directly to one of our highly qualified counsellors.