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Important Things To Know About Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is surprisingly common in the United States. In 2013, the National Institute of Health estimated that nearly 25 million Americans had used an illicit drug in the previous month. In addition, according to 2017 stats, about 19.7 million of those developed a substance use disorder. Far from what many people believe, drug addiction has swept the population across all different races, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds. There is no one picture of drug abuse. So it is essential to understand what drug abuse looks like and how people can get the right kind of help

Substance Use Disorders  

The most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a manual many clinicians refer to when diagnosing a patient, does not use the word “addiction” to refer to the dependency of illicit substances. Instead, the book uses the broader term of “substance use disorder”, divided into the categories of mild, moderate, and severe. According to SAMHSA, you may have a substance disorder if your use of drugs and/or alcohol causes “clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home”.

Specifically, healthcare professionals measure substance use disorder through 11 criteria: 

  1. Social problems: Your use has caused social or personal problems, especially with family and friends.
  2. Withdrawal: Your use has resulted in physical side effects, such as severe withdrawal symptoms, when you stop the use of the substance.
  3. Cravings: You crave the substance when you’re not using it.
  4. Higher Tolerance: Your tolerance for the substances increases, meaning you need more of the drug to feel high.
  5. Hazardous Behaviors: When you use the drug, you engage in risky or hazardous behaviors, including but not limited to overdosing, driving under the influence and blacking out.
  6. Usage amount: You use larger amounts of the drug, more frequently.
  7. Usage time: You have been using the substance for a long period of time.
  8. Neglecting important parts of life: Your drug/alcohol use has prompted you to neglect important responsibilities in your life including work, school or domestic duties.
  9. Frequent attempts to quit: You have repeatedly attempted to limit your use or quit, without results. 
  10. Physical/mental health signs and symptoms: You have developed either physical symptoms, such as cirrhosis or lung cancer, or mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
  11. Giving up activities: You have stopped the hobbies or activities you enjoy in order to use your substance.

Go through the list and check off all that apply to you. If your symptoms fall under 2-3 categories, your symptoms present as “mild”. Checking off 4-5 categories means you have a “moderate” problem, while more than 6 categories signifies a “severe” diagnosis. Even if your symptoms are mild, it could be a sign of a potential problem. In fact, if you fulfill any of these criteria, you are at risk for drug abuse and addiction and should talk to a substance use counselor right away. 

Types of Substance Use Disorders

You should be aware of the different types of substance use disorders. While some people only abuse one kind of substance, others may misuse multiple. The categories of addiction include but are not limited to:

What are the Signs and Risk Factors of Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease that can consume your whole life. Not only does it affect your brain and behavior, but it also takes a serious emotional, mental, and physical toll on your well-being. Thus, it is essential for you to be able to recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one. Doing so could very well mean the difference between life and death. Some of the signs of drug addiction include: 

  • Erratic, unpredictable behavior 
  • Sleep problems or insomnia 
  • Skin problems, like rashes and needle marks 
  • Nausea 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression 
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat and other cardiovascular issues 
  • Trouble with motor functions 

Drug addiction causes changes in your brain chemistry, affecting key areas like memory, learning, and reasoning. For this reason, you can also see significant changes in behavior or an inability to do everyday tasks. In the long term, abusing drugs can permanently damage all aspects of both your physical and mental health

Some people are more at risk of drug addiction than others. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, risk factors include:

  • Genetic factors
  • Prevalence of a mental health disorder
  • Environmental factors (home life, e.g. do your family members abuse drugs or alcohol?)
  • Peer pressure
  • Using drugs at an early age

Although these factors increase your chance of addiction, there is no “perfect candidate” for drug or alcohol addiction. Instead, the interplay of many influences helps decide whether or not you succumb to addiction.

Drug Addiction Treatment 

It’s important to understand that drug addiction is a disease and a particularly destructive one, at that. If you compare drug addiction to other chronic ailments like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, you realize there are many overlapping features between the bunch. For example, at 40-60%, relapse rates for drug addiction are similar to those of type II diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. 

And just like for these other conditions, you can’t become drug-free on your own. You need a team of trained clinicians and counselors to help you through the entire recovery process. When you go through treatment, you normally do so in different stages. These treatment approaches include:

Ultimately, the goal of drug addiction treatment is to not only treat the substance abuse problem but also to tackle its underlying causes. During treatment, you will learn how to identify environmental and social triggers, incorporate relapse prevention strategies into your life, and address underlying mental health problems that can play a role in addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance use disorder, make sure to seek professional guidance right away. A simple phone call or email is the pivotal first step on the path to a sober life.

Detoxification

When you’ve become dependent on a substance, withdrawal symptoms can occur if you stop using. These symptoms include seizures, vomiting, and depression. Because of this, a safe, medically-supervised detoxing process is an incredibly important first step in the recovery process.

Inpatient Treatment

After detox, you normally have the option to pursue either inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment. During inpatient treatment (otherwise known as residential rehab), you stay on-site at a treatment center, attending programs, meeting with your medical team, and learning more about your addiction. Inpatient treatments vary in length but generally requires you to stay longer-term at a facility than outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Typically, outpatient treatment is divided into 2 categories: partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). PHPs are more intensive than IOPs, requiring you to work on your addiction for more hours during the week. Sometimes, you even stay on-site at a treatment facility. IOPs, on the other hand, are more easily integrated into your day-to-day life, although you still must work on your sobriety for a good amount of hours.

Ongoing Treatment / Continuing Care

Your work is not done after rehab. Staying sober gets easier after time, but you still must work on it every day. People approach long-term care in a variety of ways, but here are just a few of your options:

  • Individual therapy
  • Check-ups with a mental health professional
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Support groups

We can help you

At The Blackberry Center, you will have the opportunity to begin the journey to lifelong recovery in our state-of-the-art facilities.

If you or one of your loved ones are struggling with addiction, we can help. We use a personalized approach to addiction treatment. Our focus is on treating the disease, not the symptoms. We put our patients first every step of the way.

Our substance abuse-only treatment programs include detox, residential and PHP.  Our on-site rehab programs focus on a comprehensive recovery approach. They address your physical, mental and spiritual needs for optimal wellness.

Your needs are unique. We treat you as such.

Reach Out For Help Today

We welcome you to The Blackberry Center. From support groups to individual therapy treatment options, we are here to fight the addiction battle with you.

Reach out to us online today. You can also call us at 407-449-8410.

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