Addiction ruins so many lives. And like other serious diseases, it does not choose an age, gender, socioeconomic status, and whatnot. Even the most renowned figures in history, like Sigmund Freud and Carl Sagan, admitted to using drugs and becoming addicted to them. And in the modern world, Hollywood celebrities seem to be somewhat prone to substance abuse.
If left untreated, addiction will cause a series of long-term problems, and the condition will be harder to cure.
Fortunately, many addicts who recovered have great stories to tell. Some of them even became successful entrepreneurs while in recovery. But considering the effects of addiction on the brain, how likely is one to become a responsible citizen again after completing rehabilitation? It is well-known that ex-addicts can go into relapse. So how long should they wait before returning to work or starting a business?
The Effects of Addiction on the Brain
Methamphetamine, or simply meth, is one of the most abused drugs. It can cause progressive and sometimes profound brain damage. As such, rehabilitating meth users will have different results depending on their usage. But the treatment techniques definitely help eliminate cravings and improve mental health.
The ability to reverse the effects of meth depends on where the damage occurred. The symptoms will likely wane if it affects an area where other brain cells can compensate. But if the damage otherwise occurred in areas where the cells are more specialized, recovery will be challenging, if not impossible.
Some examples of brain damage from meth are acute neurotransmitter changes, brain cell death, and the rewiring of the brain’s reward system. Changes in the neurotransmitters alter a person’s moods, making them more prone to anger, rage, irritability, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. If the brain’s reward system is rewired, the person will continue craving the drug after they quit. And lastly, brain cell death can affect self-control, possibly resulting in psychiatric symptoms.
These problems make a meth addict a risky person regarding employment or managing a business. But is ridding them of work or business opportunities the right way to deal with them?
The Stigma Toward Addiction
Sometimes, it’s not the person’s history of addiction that makes them relapse. Instead, it’s the stigma. If they continue to experience prejudice in their workplace, families, or relationships, they will seek comfort from somewhere or something, which could be the addictive substance.
So if you have an employee trying to overcome addiction, show support instead of stigma. Let them know that you support their recovery journey. Keep your doors open for them because chances are they’d love to go back to your company and make up for the problems they’ve caused.
If a recovering addict has approached you because of a business they’d like to start, hear what they have to say. A history of addiction doesn’t make someone automatically unfit to be a business owner. There are at least ten entrepreneurs who started their ventures while in recovery. Those include Seth Leaf Pruzansky, the founder of Tourmaline Spring. He was a heroin addict. Patrick Henigan is another one, and he started Jacksonville Fitness Academy after overcoming opiate addiction.
Ex-addicts can start a business that helps people like them. For example, Dr. Harold Jonas, who also went through heroin addiction, started Sober Network, Inc. It’s a digital solutions company that addresses the multiple and varying needs of recovering addicts.
Therefore, help break the stigma toward ex-addicts. Prejudice won’t help them stay on track with their recovery. It’s okay to keep an eye on them or express your concerns. They’d understand where you’re coming from because they also know their triggers. But closing your doors on them is never a solution.
Activities for Recovering Addicts
If someone you know has recovered from addiction but isn’t ready to work yet, recommend some therapeutic activities. Those with an artistic flair can participate in art therapy or just create artwork on their own. It would boost their brain function and give them something good to focus on. Ex-addicts who are on the more logical and analytical side can try brainteasers. It would spark their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Therapeutic activities can help ex-addicts prepare for going back to society. As a result, they’d regain the ability to become productive employees or competent business owners. The journey won’t be easy for them, but their employers, support group, and loved ones should be patient and encouraging. Constantly reminding them of their addiction won’t help. What they need is your faith because chances are their faith in themselves is fragile. But if you continue believing in them, they’ll mold themselves into the responsible employee or business owner that you envision them to be.