Addiction and substance use disorder | Treatment
Addiction and substance use disorder are serious issues that have a negative impact on the lives of those who experience them, as well as their loved ones. The addiction may be to drugs or alcohol, but also gambling, sex, food… even work. Substance abuse refers to the misuse of substances such as prescription medications or illegal drugs. There are many treatments for substance abuse available today that can help people recover from these very difficult conditions. In this blog post we will discuss substance use disorders and addiction with its treatment options!
What is substance use disorder?
Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complicated illness in which a person uses a substance in an uncontrolled manner despite negative consequences. The substance of choice may be alcohol, marijuana or another drug.
SUD is a primary disease. This means it isn’t caused by something else such as mental illness or personality disorder and the substance use itself doesn’t result from other medical conditions (for example, Parkinson’s disease). SUD becomes an addiction when cravings for drugs become uncontrollable and the substance is used compulsively.
When a person has SUD, it’s difficult for them to imagine life without using drugs or alcohol. They may be preoccupied with using substances and spend most of their time thinking about how to get more. When they stop drinking or taking drugs, withdrawal symptoms can make them feel ill, shaky, or anxious.
People with substance use disorder are at high risk for accidents and injuries because their judgment is impaired when they take the substance. They may also put themselves in risky situations, such as driving while intoxicated or having unprotected sex.
SUD treatment includes medications to reduce cravings and promote abstinence along with psychosocial therapies that can help people understand substance use and develop new habits.
Symptoms of substance use disorder
Symptoms of substance use disorder are grouped into four categories:
- Impaired control: a craving or strong urge to use the substanc
- Social problems: using more than intended or having difficulty fulfilling major role obligations at work, school, or home because of substance us
- Risky use: risky behaviors or continued use despite recurrent physical or psychological problems associated with its use, and drug effects (tolerance, withdrawal symptoms) when drug use is stopped. Many people who have substance abuse also suffer from another mental illness
- Drug effects: tolerance (the need for increased amounts of the drug over time to have the same effect) and withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped or cut back.
How Is Substance Use Disorder Treated?
Recognizing the problem is the first step. Some people have a problem with substance use but don’t realize it. Once you have identified that there is a problem, then treatment can begin.
Treatment for SUD varies depending on the type of drug being abused and other factors such as age, overall health etc… Treatment may involve counseling or attending support groups to help overcome addiction. Group therapy sessions are also available for individuals who have a substance use disorder.
The most common types of treatment include: medication, outpatient care and/or inpatient care depending on the severity of addiction. Some people require only short term treatments while others may need long-term or even lifetime treatment to overcome their drug abuse problem.
People suffering from an SUD are at increased risk of injuring themselves or someone else, contracting infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C from shared needles.
A thorough physical examination should be conducted by a medical professional to determine whether or not a substance use disorder exists. A psychiatric assessment will be performed to identify if the individual has any co-occurring mental health disorders.
A physical and psychological evaluation is necessary in order to assess all factors that may contribute to an SUD such as: social, environmental and biological causes. Substance abuse can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms when someone stops using drugs or alcohol . Withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological.
Withdrawal is the body’s reaction to the lack of a drug or alcohol after an individual has become physically dependent on it. Symptoms vary depending on what substance they were using but some common withdrawal symptoms include: depression, mood swings, restlessness, anxiety , fatigue, irritability etc…
Some drugs have been known to cause seizures and/or a condition called delirium tremens. Delerium Tremens is characterized by vivid hallucinations, confusion, fever , rapid heart rate and disorientation .
Severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the type of drug being abused as well as how long they have been abusing it for. Those with a substance use disorder should never attempt to detox on their own without medical supervision.
Withdrawal can cause serious health problems including death if it is not medically supervised and monitored by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.
Detoxification refers to the initial period of stopping drug or alcohol abuse . During this time, an individual will experience withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is necessary for some people especially if they are addicted to substances that can cause seizures or delirium tremens.
Treatment options during medical detox may include medications such as anti-nausea drugs, analgesics (pain relievers), antidepressants and/or benzodiazepines . Benzodiazepines help control the symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and seizures. They are prescribed for a limited period of time to manage withdrawal symptoms during detoxification .
After medical detox is complete, the next step would be rehabilitation where individuals receive counseling or attend support groups in order to help them overcome drug addiction. Addiction can cause changes in the brain which makes it difficult for someone suffering from an SUD to stop using drugs or alcohol by themselves.
For some people, rehabilitation may involve attending a residential treatment center where they can live at the facility and receive around-the-clock care while undergoing intensive therapy sessions . Residential facilities provide privacy as well as comfortable living conditions for those who need it most. A majority of these centers have support groups that addicts can attend after they leave the facility.
Most people with an SUD are highly motivated to recover from their addiction because of how it affects every aspect of their lives including relationships, family and career . The desire to quit abusing drugs or alcohol in order to improve one’s physical health is also a strong incentive for many individuals. If someone does not have a strong motivation to stop, they may not succeed in overcoming addiction.
Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety can affect an individual’s ability to avoid substance abuse . Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to mental illness which means many people do not seek help because of the fear or rejection from others. There also needs to be more research done in order to discover new medications for mental health disorders.
Successful addiction recovery requires long-term treatment and support from family members, peers, healthcare professionals or other addicts who are willing to share their stories with others . It is also important that an individual does not lose hope when they relapse because this can happen even after years of sobriety.
An estimated 16.72 million people aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2014 .
Both drugs and alcohol have a long list of negative effects that are generally recognized. but it is important to remember that these substances can have a devastating effect on the brain. If you or someone you care about suffers from an addiction, don’t wait another day. Contact us today for more information so we can help guide you through your options to overcome this disease together. Recovery is possible with long-term treatment and support from loved ones who will encourage them when they relapse.