Understanding Substance Use Disorder


  March 16, 2018    

Substance Use Disorder is an unfortunately pervasive issue in today’s America, with drug overdoses surpassing car accidents to represent the most common form of accidental death nationwide in 2016. Additionally, many individuals view substance abuse and addiction as problems that only concern particular pockets of society. Terms like “Junkie” and “Drug addict” provide a connotation that stigmatizes those suffering from substance use away from the general population, which paints an inaccurate picture. In reality, substance use disorder affects people from all walks of life. Substance abuse does not discriminate with regard to racial, ethnic, income, or social demographics, and can impact the lives of anyone who may develop a pattern of drug use, either through illicit means or prescribed medication.

 

What Constitutes an Addiction?

 

Addiction can take many forms, and involve an array of substances and behaviors. Alcohol, cannabinoids, tobacco, and opioids are currently the most prominent substances that lead to addiction, but various other substances and patterns of action can open the door to drug abuse disorder. According to the CDC, 2014 records indicate that:

 

  • Approximately 17.6 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse
  • Hallucinogens accounted for 246,000 cases of drug abuse.
  • 913,000 individuals suffered from cocaine abuse
  • Opioid deaths have jumped 265% for men, and 400% concerning women, since 1999
  • 1.6 million individuals used stimulants for recreation, 4.2 million were cannabis users, and 546,000 abused inhalants among those ages 12 and up.

 

These statistics fail to reflect the entirety of the drug abuse problem in America, but do shed light on some of the more common and urgent causes of substance abuse, which may signal the need for treatment.

 

The Importance of Substance of Abuse Treatment

 

According to the CDC, only 20% of those suffering from alcohol abuse gain access to effective treatment. This trend applies to many other drug abuse scenarios as well. A key factor in successful recovery is seeking initial care. Drug abuse treatment begins with recognition. California hasn’t experienced the significant increase in drug abuse cases that states in the Midwest and East coast have experienced. This has led many in the area to overlook the symptoms of addiction. Many addiction sufferers either fail to recognize their symptoms, or opt to self-medicate, which can serve to exasperate the situation. Those in need of addiction treatment and care often don’t receive the professional attention that is truly required for ongoing recovery.

 

Addiction affects the entire person, not just the brain or any other particular component. Therefore, successful addiction treatment requires a holistic approach that addresses the full scope of needs an addiction sufferer may face.

Co-Occurring Disorder  Cases and Information

The term “Co-Occurring Disorder” refers to a scenario involving drug abuse that also features mental health issues. Many people suffering from drug abuse also encounter either ongoing or newly developing mental health problems. Such mental health conditions may include but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Codependency
  • Paranoia
  • Schizophrenia

 

Over 50% of drug abuse cases are co-occurring-disorder cases in tandem. Several forms of drugs, such as opioids, leave people particularly vulnerable to developing drug abuse habits. Many individuals develop drug problems through an extension of a mental health issue. Many patients are prescribed opioids and other substances to help treat pain and several mental health conditions. Patients are introduced to opioids and other forms of pain medication through this avenue, and are often unaware of the potency and danger such drugs can present when abused. Addiction sufferers often develop abuse patterns after running out of a prescription, or taking larger doses than prescribed. Once the addiction takes hold it’s tough to break, particularly in dual diagnosis cases, wherein an accompanying mental health problem interacts with the new addictive pattern.

 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) reports that 60% of co-occurring disorder cases are not given the required treatment. A large segment of the population suffering from addiction therefore experiences a compounded lack of care. Most addiction sufferers do not seek or receive care from the outset, and those who do seek care often fail to receive comprehensive treatment.

 

Effective Treatment Methods

 

Effective treatment for drug abuse is based in a multidimensional approach and continued effort toward improving one’s health overall. Exercise, dieting, counseling sessions, emotional care, and mental stability play a large role in conducting a thorough assessment and administering successful treatment. Successful treatment describes not only what may occur in an addiction treatment center, but the extended commitment to better overall health, which is developed through improved habits and overall wellness.

Addiction Recovery on Location

One’s surroundings play a huge role in determining the outcome of a treatment plan. People often find themselves in addictive patterns due to environmental factors they often fail to recognize. Social circles, family, friends, and pressure situations often contribute to addictive behavior and other mental health problems. Some recovery centers offer beautiful, temperate, surroundings that incubate and can often accelerate the recovery process. A serene environment, combined with leading therapeutic methods and medically trained personnel can properly address the needs of an addiction sufferer and allow the transition to sobriety to begin from a place of relaxation and mindfulness.

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