Understanding Drug Addiction
People with drug addiction have a chronic need to continue using substances that have an overall negative effect on their physical and mental health. One of the most persistent misconceptions about people who abuse drugs is that they won’t quit because they lack willpower or don’t have the right morals. While the initial action may be voluntary, the inability to stop using occurs because drug addiction is a disease that usually necessitates more than a determined mindset to overcome.
The complexity of drug addiction means it typically requires treatment by addiction specialists and medical professions capable of helping individuals unravel their addiction’s roots. Substance abuse disorder changes how the brain processes information. This is due to increased dopamine production, a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling emotions, self-control, and how we process pleasure and pain.
Drug users often experience a sense of relief and euphoria that a person continues trying to replicate. The brain eventually adapts and lowers the effects of the dopamine and the “high” experienced by a frequent user. As tolerance builds, an individual often seeks out more of their drug of choice and tries to replicate the original sensation. As this goes on, people tend to turn away from other things in life they once enjoyed, like food, social activities, or spending time with family.
The changes drugs cause to the brain persist for long periods or even become permanent. Some of the effects people can experience from long-term drug use include:
- A tendency to make bad decisions
- Impaired learning
- Poor judgment skills
- Inability to handle stress
- Erratic behavior
- Poor memory retention
People often relapse when they try to stop using drugs because their brain continues to tell them how much their body needs that fix. It’s not uncommon for people to require more than one visit to an inpatient or detox treatment program to finally overcome their drug addiction. Gaudenzia is a place where individuals can come for help with drug addiction.
People with mental health disorders have a higher risk of developing a problem with substance abuse.
Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
For some people, drinking alcohol is synonymous with celebrating with friends or having fun at a social event. Drinking is common during mourning, and some people use alcohol to cope with mental illness. Having one or two drinks per day is considered moderate drinking for most individuals, depending on the beverage. However, some find themselves consistently drinking alcohol to excess. Social and emotional problems affect people’s self-esteem, causing them to drink alcohol more frequently.
Signs of alcohol abuse typically crop up in a person’s routine. They may start slacking off at work or miss days due to still being under the influence of alcohol. Family members may notice them not showing up at events. Many people who frequently abuse alcohol end up in legal trouble. They may get arrested while driving or becoming belligerent in public while intoxicated.
A person can build up a tolerance to alcohol in the same manner as someone who uses drugs. A lack of access to alcohol can lead to signs of withdrawal like:
An alcohol use disorder can have significant impacts on a person’s health. The short-term effects can include memory loss and constant hangovers. If an alcohol use disorder goes on without treatment at a place like an addiction treatment program, they may end up with long-term health problems, including:
- Digestive issues
- Cardiovascular problems
- Brain damage
- Permanent memory loss
Once it’s gotten to a point where a person has no control over their drinking, admission to an inpatient treatment program may be needed. Gaudenzia’s inpatient or outpatient rehab program can be the first step in overcoming alcohol dependency.
While men are more likely than women to develop an alcohol use disorder, women often experience more severe health issues at lower consumption levels.