Substance abuse can take a wide range of forms, ranging from the abuse of street drugs to a focus on prescription medication such as painkillers, amphetamines, and sleeping pills. In time, substance abuse can progress to a physical or mental dependency, becoming a fully-fledged addiction.
Here is some key information about substance abuse, its transition to addiction, and the available treatments that can help:
Am I addicted?
Abuse might begin with recreationally using a drug to increase your enjoyment of social situations, or with just taking slightly more than the recommended dosage of a prescription medication. There is cause to worry about being on the path to addiction if you notice that you are beginning to build up a tolerance to your drug of choice; needing larger and more frequent doses to achieve the same effects.
Meanwhile, addiction may have already developed if you feel you cannot function without the drug. You may have tried and failed to give up the substance, have financial difficulties, relationship problems, and your physical and mental health could be deteriorating. If this picture sounds familiar, you could have a drug addiction.
Types of substance abuse
It's important to be aware of the multitude of substances that can be abused. Most people immediately think of street drugs like heroin, crystal meth, and cocaine when addiction is mentioned. It is true that people often become addicted to these substances, but addiction is not limited to them. Legally obtained prescription drug can be just as dangerous, with addiction to sleeping pills, opiate painkillers (e.g. codeine and OxyContin), amphetamines (e.g. Adderall) and benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax) on the rise. Meanwhile, alcohol abuse remains hugely problematic, causing thousands of deaths every year in the US alone.
Short and long term effects of substance abuse
The symptoms of substance abuse vary depending on the drug of abuse. Often, the short term effects are enjoyable, such as the euphoria provided by opiates, or the intense focus experienced by people taking amphetamines. However, there are dangerous long-term effects associated with drug abuse. Common physical effects include an increased risk of heart problems, a higher likelihood of developing certain types of cancer, problems with the liver or kidneys, and diminished motor control. Meanwhile, common long-term mental effects of abuse and addiction include paranoid delusions, hallucinations, depression, mood swings, and aggression.
Treatment for substance abuse
Statistics suggest that people who have already progressed to addiction have a better chance of long-term recovery if they submit to a medical detox program prior to an inpatient program of therapy and education. The detox process involves slowly and safely adjusting the body to life without the drug (or drugs) of abuse, treating any distressing or potentially dangerous side effects. This method of detox is both safer and more likely to prevent future relapse than attempting to detox at home. Following a proper detox, both group and individual therapy aims to facilitate greater understanding of addiction, potential relapse triggers and how to cope with those triggers. Family education can also be valuable, further increasing the chances of long-term recovery and consistent abstinence from substance abuse.
If you're concerned about substance abuse and looking to get help with your search, call Drug Treatment Centers Green Bay today at 920-227-1500