Understanding Substance Abuse

It is difficult to fully understand substance abuse and substance use disorder. Discovering why one person develops a problem with drugs or alcohol and another person does not is something of a mystery. However, there are some similarities in the person’s path that develops substance abuse. The difficult part with this is that every stage of a person’s path who is suffering from substance abuse causes more consequences and chaos.

One problem with substance abuse is that it doesn’t solely affect the person with the issue. Instead, it will affect their loved ones and others that they come in contact with. This could mean that it will not only affect the person’s family, but their coworkers and neighbors as well.

What is Substance Abuse?

One thing to keep in mind is that substance abuse is a brain disease. This disease causes the sufferer to seek and use drugs or alcohol compulsively. This is a chronic condition and often causes relapse even when harmful consequences are possible for the addicted person. The initial decision to use drugs or alcohol is always voluntary, but after this initial encounter the brain will actually change. This change will cause the person to struggle when trying to resist drugs and may make their self-control disappear.

When a person takes drugs or alcohol, the way that their nerve cells process and send information is disrupted. This causes the person to be rewarded by an increase in dopamine. The body will create this in a huge amount, which will cause a euphoric effect for the person taking the drugs. However, as time progresses, the body will adapt to these surges causing the person to seek more and more of their drug of choice in order to repeat the feeling.

There are treatments available that can help curb these addictions. Usually, the best way to treat substance abuse is through medications and behavioral therapy. Each patient will require their own specific treatment plan that is tailored to their exact patterns of abuse.

Getting Help

Deciding to get help for a substance abuse problem can be both a sign of desperation and of courage. Often times, the person with the issue is in both categories. This is especially true if the person has been suffering from substance abuse for several years.

Family members can help this person by learning more about the different topics of substance abuse. For example, it is helpful to learn about the stages of use as well as the recovery process. During this time, family members should also learn more about how to prevent relapse as well as the cravings that the person will feel. Studying the treatment process and how to get the person into a treatment program is also important.

Costs of Substance abuse

The costs of substance abuse are great and they aren’t only emotional. Along with the costs associated with the drug or alcohol product of choice, there are also other monetary items to consider. Every year, it is estimated that substance abuse creates well over $600 billion annually. These costs include the money spent on the products, costs related to crime and health care costs.

These numbers, however, do not fully show the damage that is created by substance abuse. Substance abuse also causes issues with child abuse and family problems. Safety issues are also a major cost of substance abuse. This lack of safety could be presented both to the person abusing alcohol or drugs, their family or even the general public.

Many people who have never had an addiction are not able to understand substance abuse and the difficulties that a person has because of it. However, by learning more about substance abuse, loved ones will be able to help a person on the path to recovery. Contact us to learn more about substance abuse treatment and to receive help with this delicate situation.

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