Substance abuse disorder is a condition in which the use of one or more substances (such as alcohol or illicit drug) becomes detrimental to an individual’s wellbeing. Many factors can contribute to this condition such as relationship stress, work-related issues, chronic pain, learned behavior or a combination of several causes.
A study conducted in 2010 found that about 5% of the general population, or 230 million, used an illicit substance. Of these, 27 million had a high-risk drug use otherwise known as recurrent drug use causing harm to their health, psychological problems, or social problems or puts them at risk of those dangers. In 2015 substance use disorders resulted in 307,400 deaths which represents a 46% increase over a 25 year period. Of these, the highest numbers are from alcohol use disorders at 137,500, opioid use disorders at 122,100 deaths, amphetamine use disorders at 12,200 deaths, and cocaine use disorders at 11,100
To prevent or address issues created by substance abuse, it is important to become familiar with the warning signs and symptoms, as well as listen to the honest feedback from family and friends.
Signs and Symptoms
The severity of substance abuse can vary in degrees from mild, moderate, or severe. A true diagnosis of severity should be conducted by a mental health professional who will consider the frequency and duration of symptoms as well as the level of detriment to a person’s life. Below are 11 potential symptoms of a substance abuse problem:
- The use of a substance for a longer period of time or in a larger amount than intended;
- An inability to cut back on the substance even when you want to;
- A persistent urge to use the potentially harmful substance;
- A deterioration of performance at work or school that corresponds to the substance use;
- Investing a significant amount of time and/or money obtaining the substance;
- Continuing to use the substance even after experience negative effects to your personal relationships as a result;
- Missing important professional or personal events due to the substance use;
- Continuing to use the substance even if/when the substance puts you in a dangerous situation or in harm’s way;
- The presence of physical withdrawal symptoms after you stop using the substance for a given amount of time;
- Continuing to use the substance, despite your knowledge of its potential to exacerbate current physical or psychological problems;
- Requiring an increasing amount of the substance to gain a desire effect.
Treatment for Addiction
Treatment may involve different interventions that vary in effectiveness from person to person. Treatment options include…
1) Counseling: For those who suffer from substance abuse and addictions, treatment often starts and ends with counseling. This involves talk therapy whether in an individual or group setting. It can be highly effective and with consistent compliance to treatment interventions, can lead to complete recovery. Therapy sessions can include teaching the client to identify events or situations that trigger the urge to use the substance and to replace the substance use with more adaptive and healthier thought and behavior patterns. The client will also be trained in ways to better manage stressors that trigger addiction.
2) Medication: Treating substance abuse with medications can be tricky since there is a heightened risk that the individual abusing the substance will transfer their dependency on another drug. If done correctly, under the supervision of a trained mental health professions, it can be a successful form of treatment. A mental health professional will determine potentially effective medications for a given individual (which may take some experimentation) and help develop a comprehensive plan included a combination of other forms of therapy.
3) Inpatient/Rehabilitation Facilities: Inpatient facilities, which are better known as rehab, have a good track record in the treatment of severe substance abuse and addiction. A stay at an inpatient facility requires a time commitment varying from a few days to a few months. The goal of inpatient / rehab facilities or is to free patients of their addiction, monitor withdrawal symptoms and train the individual to address and deal with issues contributing to the substance abuse and/or addiction.
Get Help Today
If you have a drinking problem—or think you might have a drinking problem—take that leap of faith and seek treatment today. A counselor at Thriveworks-Franklin can help determine whether or not you have a problem and also help you manage that problem. Make an appointment to see a Thriveworks Franklin Substance Use Disorder Therapist by call us at 617-360-7210. We are here to help!
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Mortality and Causes of Death, Collaborators (17 December 2014). “Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013”. Lancet. 385: 117–71