Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Drug and alcohol abuse are serious problems in the United States. As many as 17 million adults in the country suffer from alcoholism. The U.S. consumes 80 percent of the planet's prescription painkiller drugs and about one in four people who try heroin will become addicted to it. Statistics regarding drug and alcohol abuse are scary. With overdose rates escalating in many cities and communities nationwide, it's important for individuals with drug or alcohol abuse problems to get the help they need to prevent their habit of becoming a full-blown addiction.
What Makes Drugs and Alcohol Addictive?
Alcohol and drugs of abuse can cause a person to become dependent on them. When that dependency is both physical and psychological, the abuse problem has likely become an addiction. Addiction is a chronic brain-lapsing disease that can be managed but not cured. When a person is addicted to a drug, they will continue to abuse it in spite of the harm it causes to themselves and important aspects of their lives. Some drugs are so addictive that a mere few uses can result in a physical dependency. Heroin and meth, for instance, are classed among the most addictive illicit drugs. Many prescription drugs like opioids, which provide effective pain relief, are also highly addictive and can lead to dependency.
What Are Common Drugs of Abuse?
As mentioned, illicit drugs like heroin and methamphetamine are common drugs of abuse. These drugs are widely abused around the country in both city and rural settings. Other drugs frequently abused include cocaine, LSD, marijuana, and club drugs like MDMA. Prescription drugs that are commonly abused include opioid painkillers like Fentanyl, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium and stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are also commonly abused prescription drugs. Abusing these drugs can lead to addiction. If you are abusing addictive substances such as these or alcohol, you are at risk for developing an addiction.
Are Some People at Increased Risk for Addiction?
Anyone who abuses drugs or alcohol can succumb to addiction. No one is immune from this disease. Even so, there are risk factors that make some people more vulnerable to the development of addiction than others. Establishing a pattern of substance abuse as a teenager puts a person at increased risk for addiction. Growing up in poverty or growing up with an adult who abuses drugs or alcohol also increases the risk of addiction. Some people may be more genetically vulnerable to addiction. Yet, given certain circumstances that include the abuse of a substance, any person can become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
What Does It Mean to "Abuse" a Drug or Alcohol?
"Abuse" might seem clear to some people when it comes to drugs and alcohol, but it's actually not altogether easy to define, but it's important to understand what it is and what it may be. After all, alcohol is legal, so, is it abuse to drink if you're legally able to? Also, in the case of prescription drugs--how can they be abused if they're lawfully prescribed by a board-certified doctor for a legitimate medical reason?
First, even legal substances can be abused. Taking drinking to the point where one blacks out or becomes intoxicated is a form of substance abuse. Drinking each day or most days during the week to de-stress can be said to be an abuse issue. Drinking while driving or mixing alcohol and drugs these are also forms of abuse.
When it comes to prescription drugs, if you take a dose of medication before you're supposed to or double up your medication, you are abusing it. If you doctor shop in order to obtain more of a prescription drug, you are engaging in drug abuse. Naturally, using illicit drugs is a form of drug abuse. Drug and alcohol abuse puts a person at increased risk for developing a substance addiction.
What Are Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Abuse?
Many addictive substances are associated with very specific signs and symptoms of an abuse or addiction problem. However, there are some general signs and symptoms that indicate a serious drug or alcohol issue. Some of these include:
Increased secretiveness Feeling the need to use the addictive substance regularly Feeling preoccupied with thoughts of drinking or using drugs Taking greater amounts of the substance than you intend Ensuring that you have a supply of the substance on hand Withdrawing from family and friends Spending time alone or with other people who abuse drugs or alcohol Failing to meet work, school, or family obligations Engaging in high-risk behaviors like driving while under the influence, sharing needles, or having unprotected sex Failing to stop using the substance--even when you want to Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
If you experience these signs and symptoms, you may have a substance abuse disorder or addiction.
How Is Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treated?
First, it's important for each individual who suspects they have a drug or alcohol problem to be evaluated at a drug treatment rehab. An addiction specialist can help you determine the nature and level of your problem. This is important because it allows them to recommend a customized treatment plan that specifically addresses the individual's health and addiction. Also, a serious substance addiction might best be treated at an inpatient rehab. A person who does not have an addiction but shows signs of an abuse problem may benefit from either inpatient or outpatient rehab. Getting a proper assessment ensures that you'll get the treatment you need to achieve recovery.
What Happens in a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center?
Today's substance abuse and addiction treatment centers are staffed by healthcare practitioners that include psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, counselors, nurses, and doctors who specialize in addiction medicine. Addiction is a disease and these centers treat it as such. After an initial assessment that includes a urine test and blood test, addiction specialists can recommend a treatment plan. Often, people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs will require medical detox. Yet, a person may need detox even if they are not addicted; they may have a physical dependency but not a psychological one.
On the other hand, some individuals may not be addicted and do not need a stint in medical detox because they have not developed a physical dependency. If you do require a medical detox, you can expect to be carefully weaned off the addictive substance. This may require anywhere from two to three weeks. During this time, health-care providers can treat symptoms of withdrawal if they arise. Once medical detox is complete, other treatments that address the psychological and behavioral aspects of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction can begin.
Many of today's addiction rehabs feature a strong focus on cognitive behavioral therapy. Individuals can expect to participate in individual and group counseling sessions with a trained therapist or counselor. It's important for people to examine the factors that have led them to abuse drugs or alcohol so that they can manage them when they return to their lives. If negative emotions like anger or sadness cause them to drink or abuse a drug, they need to learn how to manage these emotions in healthy ways or they are likely to relapse and abuse drugs or alcohol again. During therapy sessions, individuals will focus on how to prevent relapse. They'll learn how to identify triggers for relapse, and what to do to maintain their sobriety.
Alternative Treatments and Therapies for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Some treatment centers specialize in certain age demographics like teens, for instance. Others might cater to men or women. Some may specialize in treating people associated with certain occupations. Other facilities offer what can be called alternative treatments for drug and alcohol abuse and addiction problems. Some people don't respond well to traditional treatments like group counseling. They may, however, find that a treatment like art therapy allows them to open up more and to move forward down their recovery path.
In addition, increasing numbers of addiction rehabs are offering holistic treatment programs for individuals with an abuse or addiction problem. Many factors can lead to the development of addiction, so they've found that it makes sense to take a well-rounded approach to treatment. For instance, eating well and exercising can impact a person's overall health and sense of well-being. Participating in a therapy like restorative yoga can provide a person with new skills for developing mindfulness and self-awareness--traits that can help them maintain their recovery path. Some facilities may help people learn new methods for de-stressing in healthy ways like hiking or horseback riding.
There are many different treatments available today for people suffering from a drug or alcohol abuse problem. Our service can help you choose an addiction treatment center that suits your needs and budget. No matter where you live, we can help you find a treatment center in your vicinity. With treatment, you can prevent your substance abuse problem or addiction from worsening to the point that it seriously impacts your life and threatens your health and well-being. The sooner you address this problem, the sooner you can enjoy improved health and recovery.
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