Addiction Treatment for Substance Abuse

The NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - reported that close to 30 million Americans abused illicit drugs within the month prior to a survey they conducted in 2014. The same report showed that over 140 million Americans drank alcohol over the same period. Similarly, nearly 22 million people above the age of 12 suffered from substance use disorders.

If you are struggling with this disorder, you might require addiction treatment. This is because the different prescription medications, illegal drugs, and legal substances that you abuse can come with mind-altering and intoxicating effects.

Additionally, these substances can lead to an increase in the chemicals that occur naturally in your brain. This increase could induce pleasure in your brain - thereby creating a desire to continue abusing the substances.

Understanding Substance Use and Abuse

There are many reasons why you might start using intoxicating and mind altering substances. These include trying to relieve stress, increase your sociability, escape reality, or to self-medicate for mental health and medical problems. Alternatively, you might resort to drugs while trying to feel good about your life.

In the same way, you may start taking legitimate prescription medications that are habit forming. After some time, you could find that you have developed physical and psychological dependence on these medications - and find yourself about using.

Similarly, if you were victimized, traumatized, or suffered from high stress levels, you might have a high risk of abusing intoxicating and mind altering substances. According to the NCTSN - the National Child Traumatic Stress Network - close to 75 percent of all teens enrolled in addiction treatment programs were exposed to trauma at one point or the other in their lives.

There are also other environmental factors that could increase your risk of experimenting with intoxicating and mind altering substances. These include high levels of stress within the home environment, and lack of a support system.

Finally, your family history of drug use and addiction, your biological makeup, and your genetics could all play a role in increasing your vulnerability to the various problems linked to substance abuse and addiction.

But what is drug abuse? Essentially, it refers to the use of illicit drugs. However, it might also mean that you have taken prescription drugs without a valid prescription or without following the exact instructions your doctor gave when they wrote the prescription.

Any form of substance abuse can come with a wide variety of adverse effects. These might be in the form of behavioral, social, emotional, physical, and psychological side effects.

This is because intoxicating and mind altering substances will change the way you feel, act, and think by acting on the chemicals of the brain - known as neurotransmitters. The brain uses these chemicals as its natural messengers.

When you abuse drugs, you will increase the levels of GABA, glutamate, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine inside the brain. These neurotransmitters perform various functions, such as:

  • Appetite
  • Emotional regulation
  • Energy
  • Feelings of happiness
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Movement
  • Sleep functions

Substance abuse will alter your brain chemistry to make you feel more sociable, energetic, happy, pleasurable, and euphoric. As a result, you may start taking bigger risks, making bad decisions, and engaging in behavior that could potentially be hazardous.

Additionally, drugs can alter your moods and cause you to suffer various psychotic symptoms. Alternatively, it could increase your levels of violence and aggression. For all these reasons, you should seek addiction treatment services to overcome your substance abuse and addiction.

Understanding Addiction

If you take drugs on a regular basis, you will build up tolerance to their effects. This means that you will have to increase your typical dose or frequency to be able to experience the pleasurable effects that you desire.

However, escalating your drug use can also speed up the rate at which you develop physical dependence on these intoxicating and mind altering substances. Dependence, on the other hand, will occur when drugs alter your brain chemistry so much that it cannot function properly unless it interacts with these substances. As a result, you will experience drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug starts wearing off.

One of the other reasons why you should seek addiction treatment is because of these withdrawal symptoms that can range from the mild to the severe or life-threatening. The symptoms might include physical effects like seizures, tremors, irregular blood pressure, and irregular heart rate. However, they might also be psychological and emotional symptoms like insomnia, cognitive deficits, anxiety, and depression.

Over time, you might continue abusing drugs to ward off these adverse symptoms of withdrawal. At this point, you will not be able to stop engaging in substance use unless you get help from a professional addiction treatment program.

Who Needs Addiction Treatment?

Uncontrollable and compulsive drug seeking and use are some of the hallmarks of addiction. Today, addiction is known as a disease of the brain because substance use alters the chemistry of the brain to such an extent that you will no longer be able to control your use.

According to DSM-5 - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - there are some signs that you might need addiction treatment. If you display any of these signs and symptoms, it is essential that you enroll in a drug rehab program to get the help that you need to overcome your substance use disorder:

  • Being unable to keep up with your regular obligations and responsibilities as a result of substance use
  • Continuing to engage in substance abuse even when you are in hazardous or dangerous situations
  • Continuing to use drugs in spite of the social and interpersonal issues that they have been causing in your life
  • Developing drug tolerance
  • Experiencing drug cravings
  • Finding that you want to stop abusing drugs but are no longer able to do so on your own
  • Giving up important social and productive activities that were once important to you so that you can continue using drugs
  • Spending a great deal of your time, money, and other resources looking for, using, and recovering from using drugs
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms when you go for any given number of hours without taking your favorite intoxicating and mind altering substances
  • Taking drugs in larger amounts and more often than you originally intended
  • Using drugs even when you know that they have been causing emotional, physical, or psychological harm to you

If you display any of these signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder, it is of utmost importance that you check into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program to get the help you need.


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