3 minute read

Health & Wellness "Addiction"

HEALTH & WELLNESS - Addiction: What Is It?

21 million Americans have an addiction. About 20% of people who live with depression or anxiety also have an addiction to substances. (This is called a co-occurring disorder.) Nearly 74 of people who are addicted, some research indicates up to 90%, began their addiction (especially to alcohol) before the age of 18.

Addiction is many things, and addiction can occur with many things. In this article, we will be looking at Substance use as a disorder, an addiction. Addiction to substances is a chronic brain condition. This condition involves an area of the brain that is directly related to its reward system and processes. It is a complex disorder involving not just the brain but one’s environment, family history, trauma and other kinds of life experiences. Using substances at a younger age and the substance’s impact on a developing brain can also lead to addiction and destructive use. At younger ages peer interest in use may create personal interest and lead to use, abuse, and addiction to substances.

Part of what makes substance use addiction so complex is the number of substances that can create misuse and abuse and lead to addiction. Each of us is so unique in our physical make-up, in our genetics, environment, and life experiences that there is no real way to determine our ability to tolerate a substance in a way that will or will not become problem use for us. Here is a sampling of some of the substances that are often used alone or with others in this grouping and can lead to addiction: alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives, opioids, hallucinogens, methamphetamines, and inhalants. New derivatives of these appear and new street drugs are developed all of the time and further increase danger of misuse, abuse, and addiction.

Addiction is most often characterized by compulsive use and a desire to use regardless of harm or hurtful consequences. Although symptoms of addiction are different person to person, there are some effects that are a predictable part of addictive substance use:

Substance use increases, pleasure of use is reduced, but an ability to reduce or stop consumption is unsuccessful.

Work, school, home and relationship routines and responsibilities begin to suffer.

Consequences of use: physical, emotional, and mental does not reduce use of substances.

The idea of finding, obtaining, and using the substance becomes an obsession and takes precedence over anything else.

The substance begins to feel like the best way to deal with everything.

In addition, to using substances illegally, other unlawful behaviors may occur to obtain the substance (s).

Avoiding people and activities that were enjoyable before substances such as nonusing friends, hobbies or interests, the substance substitutes for all.

Lying about use or hiding substances.Despite all its complexities, addiction is treatable. At Lake Behavioral Hospital we pride ourselves in our expert care related to co-occurring disorders: both a mental illness and a substance abuse condition. Our inpatient and intensive outpatient and partial hospital teams can provide the very best in treatment for these complicated addiction disorders. Both teens (13 and up) and adults (including seniors) will receive the assistance they need to be better and feel better. Evidence-based programs will be utilized to create successful outcomes. Please call with any questions you may have and certainly call for a free level of care assessment 24/7/365. By appointment or walk-in, we are here to help. You can call 855-990-1900 anytime.