FAQS: What is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse is characterized by the use or misuse of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and drugs.
This can lead to dependence and tolerance, as well as uncontrollable cravings and withdrawal effects upon cessation.
What Are Some Common Signs of Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse affects different people in different many ways, depending upon the substance and the individual. There are several common signs that a person may exhibit when he or she becomes addicted to a substance:
- The neglect of primary responsibilities, such as school, work, parenting, and other daily living necessities. Examples include school or work absenteeism, the inability to properly care for children, and financial responsibilities such as paying bills.
- Financial and/or legal consequences manifest as a result of substance abuse. Examples include being arrested for impaired driving or drug possession, stealing to support a habit, or being involved in an assault or domestic violence while under the influence.
- Relationship problems manifest as a result of substance abuse. Close relationships become strained due to alcoholism or addiction, often involving shame, anger, guilt, and worry.
- Compulsive behaviors revolve around the substance. Examples include stealing money, driving while intoxicated, having unprotected sex, etc. Also, substance abusers may begin covertly drinking or using drugs alone in attempt to divert suspicion.
How Quickly Can Substance Abuse Progress Into Addiction or Dependence?
There is no set timeline – the length of time needed to progress can be affected by the substance of use, the amount of use, availability of the substance, and personal biology and genetics. It goes without saying, for example, that someone who uses a large amount of heroin or cocaine every day may be quicker to develop a dependency than another who binge drinks once a week.
Also, individual characteristics may influence which substances and how quickly addiction occurs. Some people are simply genetically predisposed to developing addictions.
What Effects Do Drugs and Alcohol Have on the Brain?
Long-term use of drugs or alcohol can lead to severe effects on the human brain. When abusing substances, the brain produces higher amounts of dopamine than usual, causing brief happiness and pleasure. If substances are used on a regular basis, they can cause the brain to react differently when lower levels of dopamine are present. This can cause depression, as well as the inability to enjoy activities or things that once mattered – especially when sober.
Is There a Cure for Addiction?
Since addiction is considered a disease, many wonder if it is curable, like other diseases, with medication. However, there is no firm “cure” for addiction, but it is treatable.
When one receives treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, he or she is taught to employ the coping mechanisms needed to deal with triggers and stressful situations.
And once short-term abstinence is achieved, the brain begins to “reset,” cravings subside, and triggers become easier to manage.
How Do You Know If You’re Dependent on a Substance?
Dependence is most easily identified when the user attempts to quit or cut back. This results in many unpleasant withdrawal effects, including depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, lethargy, shakiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. Along with cravings, it is these effects ,as the result of dependence, that are usually responsible for relapse.
What Are Some Treatments Used for Substance Abuse?
Just Believe Recovery uses a variety of techniques to treat substance abuse, including behavioral therapies, group and individual therapy, medication management, psychological evaluation, family counseling, art and music therapy, and more.
Clients are taught how to improve coping skills and management of triggers, while interacting with therapists and peers in effort to gain insight and improved understanding of themselves and their behaviors.