What Is Drug And Alcohol Addiction?

Addiction or dependence on one particular substance or activity is one of the most complicated areas of mental healthcare. Addiction can be hard to treat and there is much controversy about the causes and best ways to treat it. A mental-health professional is often helpful to those suffering from addiction to drugs or liquor.

Signs That Abuse Has Now Been Considered Addiction

Substance abuse may lead to addiction or dependence when the use of the substance and its rate increase. When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they are unable to control their impulses. They often experience withdrawal symptoms upon the abrupt absence of the substance. Alcoholism, which is a chemical dependency on alcohol, can lead to addiction and even death. Sometimes, people feel psychologically dependent on certain substances and may continue using them even when things are difficult or to relieve other mental problems. Sometimes, loved ones are unaware or denied that a person has a problem with addiction.

The following are indicators of chemical dependency:

  • Tolerating or needing to consume more substance to achieve desired altered state
  • The substance must be available throughout the day
  • Searching for the company of other users and cutting off all social ties that may be a problem with non-users
  • Resentful or dismissive expressions of concern from family members
  • Avoiding other activities, and failing to comply with obligations
  • Feeling withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not present
  • Hidden use from family members and friends
  • Binging–using extensively for many hours or several days
  • Feeling unable to quit

Therapy Can Help Overcome Addiction

A specialist in addiction recovery therapy can help those who are struggling with addiction set realistic and empowering short-term goals. Once sobriety is achieved, adaptive abilities can be learned as the person works toward restoring their physical and psychological health. The therapist may also begin to investigate the root cause of addiction with the patient as they implement new coping strategies. The therapist will work with the individual being treated to develop long-term goals. They may want to help the person rebuild damaged relationships, accept responsibility for their actions, or release guilt.

People who have become dependent on drugs and alcohol are more likely than others to be treated with therapy at Alta Centers. Several therapy options can help. Particularly, Cognitive-behavioral Therapy, as well as motivational interviewing (a person-centered therapy that relies on the person’s determination to change), have shown effectiveness in this area. Therapy can provide additional support to someone who is in a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous. However, some therapies are specifically designed for the facilitation of a 12-step program. Inpatient Treatment is also available to those who might have trouble achieving sobriety while outpatient.

Fears of legal consequences can make it difficult for people to seek treatment for drug addiction. In cases where the parent of the addict is concerned, Child Protective Services will be called in. However, privacy in substance abuse treatment is required by professional guidelines as well as state law (like all mental healthcare treatment) and special federal laws.

Medical Repercussions

Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to a host of health issues, including cirrhosis and heart problems, premature death, and circulatory problems. Brain damage and mental health problems can be caused by long-term alcohol use. Drug abuse can cause internal damage as well as neurological problems such as memory and hearing impairment. Other neurological effects include an increase in violence and aggression. Also, those who inject drugs are more at risk for HIV. Hepatitis. Aside from the obvious, drug and alcohol misuse can also lead to mood swings that are more severe than others.

With many commonly abused drugs, fatal overdose can occur. However, pharmaceuticals like opioid analgesics are most often responsible for drug overdose deaths. The exception to the rule is marijuana, where overdose death is extremely unlikely. However, excessive use or misuse of marijuana can result in health problems like memory problems, diminished lung capacity, mood, and cognitive impairment.