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Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse indicates the use of damaging and unhealthy psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illegal drugs. Psychoactive substance use can advance to a dependency syndrome. On the other hand, dependency syndrome is defined as a collection of factors that is affected with repeated use of substances. Substance abuse often leads to:

“Addiction is a disease and must be treated like we treat other diseases.” - David Sheff

Abusing any drug, including alcohol, can cause an addiction. You may be developing one if you have a tendency to exhibit symptoms like:

  • A strong inclination to take a drug
  • Struggles in controlling its use
  • Continuing its use despite harmful consequence
  • Giving more importance to its use than other activities and obligations
  • Increased tolerance
  • Physical withdrawal

Some of the commonly abused substances include:

  • Marijuana – Marijuana is a mild hallucinogen that comes from the cannabis sativa plant.  It is the most prevalent illegal drug used in the United States.  Marijuana slows memory, makes it hard for a person to concentrate, and additionally people become paranoid when taking it.
  • Cocaine – Cocaine is a very potent and addictive stimulant that gives a euphoric reaction when inhaled.  The euphoric feeling only lasts for about 30-45 minutes.  Cocaine is commonly in powder form and is snorted or it can be in rock form called crack and smoked.  Cocaine constricts blood vessels and speeds up the heart rate.
  • Opiates – Opiates include street drugs like heroin and painkillers like OxyContin.  Opiates remove pain and trigger the brain’s reward system.  They imitate the effects of naturally occurring brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, and are highly addictive.
  • Methamphetamines – Meth, as this substance is often called, appears in a white powder or clear crystal form.  It can be smoked, snorted, or injected.  Methamphetamine speeds up heart rate, causes sleeplessness, and increases blood pressure.  Methamphetamine, when used for a long duration of time, can cause severe anxiety, insomnia, and other psychotic disorders.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant that causes impaired judgment and lags motor skills.  When used over long periods of time, it can have catastrophic effects on physical health including heart, liver, and respiratory disease, as well as affecting social, professional, and emotional aspects of a drinker’s life.

Substance Abuse and Addiction: The Relationship

Addiction is a physical or psychological dependence (or both) on a certain substance. Although not every substance abuser will be physically addicted, meaning, he will not go through withdrawal symptoms when ceasing use, many people do become addicted. The longer and heavier the sustained use of a substance, the more likely a full-blown addiction will develop.

Once you get to the point of physical dependency, it will become harder to quit using. Even though many can see the tragic consequences of continuing to use, such as losing a job, destroying a relationship, legal problems, and deterioration of health, it can be hugely intimidating for many to admit there is a problem and get help. Many times the best option is to call a substance abuse rehab center such as His House to get some guidance on how to proceed. Or, if you feel a loved one is flirting with addiction, you can call for them.

Common Reasons for Substance Abuse

There may be several reasons why a person gravitates towards substance abuse, and they can be a combination of these reasons. Typically, when a person leans towards substance abuse, it is a manifestation of an ongoing psychological problem. Some common reasons for substance abuse include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Relationship problems
  • Self-medication to deal with a mental illness
  • Teenage rebellion
  • Part of a personality problem
  • Environmental influence
  • A way to boost self-esteem
  • Coping with grief

Environmental Factors

Generally, substance abuse treatment programs have found that a patient’s environment can be just as, if not more, important than the individual’s personality and genetics.  Some environmental factors which contribute to substance abuse:

  • People who grew up with a dysfunctional family are more likely to turn to substance abuse
  • Some people who are raised in impoverished communities often turn to drugs as a way to cope with the stresses involved with poverty
  • Families of substance abusers often see problem drinking or drug abuse as normal

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

Early intervention for substance abuse often escalates the success rate for treatment and rehabilitation. Family and friends are usually the first to notice signs and symptoms of a substance abuser. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Abandoning activities he once enjoyed
  • Hanging out with uncommon friends
  • Disruptive attitude
  • Irritability
  • Uncommon apparatus like rolled tin foils, pipes, small boxes
  • Ignoring friends and family members in order to get high or drunk
  • Getting drunk or high on drugs regularly
  • Insisting others drink or use drugs
  • Suspension from work or school because of an alcohol or drug-related matter
“Every addiction no matter what it is, is the result of trying to escape from something by going in the direction of a need that is currently not being met. In order to move past our addiction, we have to figure out what we are trying to use our addiction to get away from and what we need we are trying to use our addiction to meet.” - Teal Swen

Treatment for Substance Abuse

Rehab for substance abuse gives addicts a great chance to rehabilitate themselves and begin a new life. Substance abuse treatment programs work to fully reinstate your sober lifestyle.

Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Outpatient programs involve a non-residential approach to substance abuse rehab. Patients live away from the treatment center but visit daily or several times a week for therapy, addiction treatment, drug testing, and so on. While this can help some drug addicts through all the phases of their recovery, more intense or long-lasting addictions require inpatient or residential treatment.

Residential Treatment Programs for Substance Abuse

Residential treatment grants addicts ample time to focus on his recovery. It greatly escalates the chance of a successful rehabilitation and treatment. Residential treatment also gives the social support needed for a full rehabilitation, through constant supervision and 24/7 focus on recovery and health.


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