Substance Addiction — these two words describe a life ensnared by a horrifying disease. What begins as curiosity or perhaps a coping mechanism to deal with life’s troubles can quickly escalate to a disorder where you return to drugs or alcohol over and over again. Even when the substance hurts you and your closest relationships, addiction’s grasp makes it nearly impossible to break free.
What is Substance Addiction? What is it about drugs and alcohol that can devastate a life? In this post, we will seek to explore the effects of Substance Addiction. Through understanding, you can get help if you’re struggling with this insidious disease.
Understanding Substance Addiction
Why do over 20 million people in the U.S. struggle with a Substance Addiction? Substance Addiction is a complex and chronic disease characterized by a compulsive need for drugs or alcohol despite their harmful effects on your life. While the initial choice to use may have been your decision, repeated abuse affects your brain’s chemistry causing you to lose control.
Most drugs and alcohol impact the brain’s reward circuitry by flooding it with dopamine, a chemical messenger that impacts feelings of pleasure. Dopamine motivates you to repeat behaviors, usually, those needed to help you survive and thrive, such as eating, sex or spending time with those you love.
Substances such as drugs and alcohol overstimulate the reward circuit. The intensity of the pleasurable “high” it produces, causes people to repeatedly seek out that substance. However, over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, and users need more of that substance to feel the same effects — this process is known as tolerance.
Substance Addiction is a deadly cycle, and often, those held captive cannot break free without professional intervention.
Signs of Substance Addiction
How do you know when drug use or drinking alcohol has crossed the line into Substance Addiction? If you’re not sure whether you or a loved one truly has this horrible disease, here are some signs that could indicate a Substance Addiction problem:
- Relationship issues
- Less pleasure from things you once enjoyed, such as food or activities
- Difficulties with your primary responsibilities, including work, school or caring for your children
- Unsuccessfully trying to quit
- Legal difficulties
- Symptoms similar to an illness, such as shakiness, vomiting, paranoia or depression
- Difficulty having a good time without using substances
- Concerns from loved ones and friends
How We Can Help with Substance Addiction
As with any other chronic diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes, treatment for Substance Addiction is not a cure. While we cannot make any guarantees, the team at 7 Summit Pathways will be there every step of the way through your Recovery journey and help you carry the load.
At our comfortable and safe treatment facility, you’ll find an environment where you feel welcome to come as you are. We offer personalized, one-on-one care that incorporates a variety of holistic therapies and methodologies to help you build a strong foundation for long-term success.