The Causes and Effects of Substance Abuse
The Physical and Mental Toll of Substance Addiction
There are many different types of substances, each with their own effects both mentally and physically, that can lead to abuse and addiction. It is important to understand the causes and effects of substance abuse in order to know when to seek treatment at a reputable facility that offers multiple programs to help individuals served live a healthy and happy life free from the dependence on drugs.
The drug problem is not just in America. It is a growing problem around the world. Drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and even household items are being abused at an alarming rate. Prescription drugs are among the most frequently abused. The elderly represents a growing concern for the nation where drug abuse is concerned. Youth are also abusing drugs at increasing rates. When there is an addiction involved, everyone in that person’s circle of influence is affected. There is no upside to addiction—only a negative downside. The addicted person keeps spiraling downward until a decision is made to enroll in rehab.
Substance Addiction is on the Rise
Finding Solutions to Substance Addiction
There is no doubt that substance abuse is on the rise. Life just seems to be getting a lot more complicated for people of all ages. Changes in the economy, injuries, and life’s uncertainties are driving people to find ways to escape. Unfortunately, not every means of escape is safe or legal. .
What Causes Substance Addiction?
There are many factors that lead to substance abuse, including:
- Family History
- Immediate Environment
- Chemical Makeup of the Substance
Medical experts have found a certain gene that is present among 62 percent of those addicted to drugs. The gene contributes to addictive personalities and can be traced from children to their parents as well as their parents and beyond. Genetics also play a huge role in the family history of addiction. Studies show that if someone has a long family history of substance abuse or mental health disorders, that person has an increased chance at developing an addiction or mental health disorder as well; the more people, the more susceptible they are.
Immediate environment also plays a large role in developing an addiction. When people are under a lot of stress or experience something traumatic, they often turn to substances to help relieve their symptoms. Using a substance for a prolonged period of time develops into substance abuse which leads to tolerance and dependence. Tolerance is characterized by the body becoming used to the initial effects of the substance; therefore, it will need more and at a more frequent rate in order to feel some sort of effect. When the body needs more, the chances of an overdose are increased greatly. Dependence happens when the brain no longer produces the natural sensations that the substance produces artificially.
It is important to know that the brain produces certain mood-boosting and pain-relieving receptors for the body and when a substance is introduced, the brain begins to slowly decrease its natural production because it becomes used the substance producing it. Overtime, the brain will discontinue its production, causing the body to rely solely on the substance to create those sensations. A user will not only need the substance to create those feelings, but eventually, because of tolerance, will need the substance to function normally.
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The Effects and Symptoms of Substance Abuse
Not only will substance abuse cause the brain and body to stop functioning normally but it will cause many detrimental effects to mental and physical health. Substances, such as methamphetamine and heroin, cause severe dental damage, increased blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. They may lead to heart attacks, convulsions and insomnia. The mental effects they cause include hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety and depression which can lead to isolation and suicidal thoughts.
Even legal prescription medications, as well as painkillers can lead to addiction, overdose and suicidal thoughts if they are abused. Painkillers, such as Oxycontin, are known to cause:
- Pain in the head
- Cold flashes
- Throwing up
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle, joint or bone pain
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Inability to stop fidgeting
- Physical or psychological dependence
Substance abuse will also lead to behavioral changes, such as:
- Uncontrollable compulsion to regularly use the substance
- Lack the ability to cease using the substance
- Ensuring constant availability of the substance
- Finding any means necessary to obtain drugs, even if it’s illegal
- Falsely believes there are benefits of regularly using the drug
- Engaging in risky and inappropriate behavior
- Frequently getting in trouble
- Sudden change in friends or hobbies
Treating Substance Addiction
Substance Use and Misuse
Treatment offers detox and other elements of rehab including cognitive therapy and counseling. Detox is the most challenging period for many recovering addicts. This is where treatment removes harmful chemicals from the body. The addict’s body must stabilize before other aspects of rehab begin. Patients receive medications and support. Cognitive therapy helps them to work with the mental aspect of their addiction. They learn that their own actions and thoughts have ultimately brought them to where they are at the moment. Constructive counseling helps patients to connect with their counselor and others battling the same addictive challenges.
Outpatient treatments are just as effective. The big difference is that patients can return home at the end of their daily rehab session. If you or a loved one suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, get the immediate help you need to break free and to pursue a life of sobriety.
Substance Abuse Rehab Facilities Provide Guidance and Support
There are over 14,000 substance abuse facilities all across the nation that provide programs designed for individuals to learn how to live a healthy and happy life free from the affects of active addiction. Substance abuse programs include a safe and effective detoxification (detox) process that removes all toxic substances from the body. Following a detox, patients participate in effective therapies that teach them how to recognize their negative behaviors and replace them with positive coping mechanisms.
Substance abuse facilities and the programs they offer significantly increase self-awareness and boost self-esteem. They prepare patients to return to their daily lives with the strength to avoid peer pressure. Substance abuse programs provide patients with a new outlook on life and the motivation to remain sober and healthy for a lifetime.