The Complex Nature of Abused Substances and Getting Help for Addiction

Drug addiction is a growing problem, but many people do not understand why it can happen or how it can happen. Discover more about drugs and their causes.

Drug addiction help is commonly sought when an individual realizes the drug they are using has power over their life. Addiction is defined as a chronic, often relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug use. The initial decision to take drugs, for most people is voluntary, whether experimenting recreationally or having been prescribed medication for any number of symptoms. While some people will never display negative responses, others will find themselves, over a period of time, relying on the effects produced by the drug. Seeking help with drug addiction is a pro-active step toward taking back control of one’s life.

Why Medical Help for Addiction is Necessary

While varying drugs can produce different effects physically, all abused substances share the common effect of repeated use altering ways in which the brain and body function. Whether a medication or illicit drug, the brain typically releases serotonin or dopamine generating a calming, sometimes euphoric feeling which becomes associated with taking the substance. This disrupts natural levels of these chemicals, so feelings of depression or anxiety can emerge when the substances effects have diminished. Changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person’s memory, ability to learn, concentration and ability to make sound decisions. Depending on the drug, physical effects can include: heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, brain damage, sexual dysfunction, reproductive damage, aggressive or violent behavior, tumors, seizures and death. Once chemically dependent on a substance, detoxing can be dangerous, so receiving medical help for drug addiction is vital to making a successful and healthy recovery.

 Co-occurring Disorders and Recovery from Substance Abuse

Addiction is commonly associated with mental and behavioral health conditions, and integrated treatment programs will often help with drug addiction and with co-occurring disorders. Drug abuse often begins with self-medicating symptoms of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder and both the mental health issue and the addiction have their own unique symptoms. When someone is losing the ability to control their substance use, there will be demonstrated consequences. Missing work or preforming badly as a result of withdrawal symptoms will affect relationships and stability in all areas of an addict’s life. Mental and behavioral health problems will also increase as a result of substance abuse left untreated. Substance abuse problems and mental health issues don’t get better without treatment. Admitting there is a problem is the first step towards recovering control and enjoying life again.


The Effects of Untreated Drug Addiction

The variety of effects and consequences for drug abuse can extend into every facet of an individual’s life. Whether it’s home, the workplace, social activities or physical and emotional well-being, without help for drug addiction it’s uncommon for anyone to continue managing their life successfully while still engaged with their substance of choice. It is however, common for addicts to begin compromising values, cutting out things previously found enjoyable and diminishing one’s life in a downward spiral. An addict will eventually do anything to get their substance of choice which can lead to family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, crime, violence, institutionalization and death. While the statistics are staggering they do little to fully describe the degree of destructive public health and safety implications. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse problems, it is imperative to seek help as significantly as you would for any other chronic, relapsing disease, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease; drug addiction can be managed successfully with treatment.

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