Substance abuse is much more than enjoying alcohol or trying drugs for the first time. People falsely believe that substance abuse is an excuse and can be easily taken care of. In reality substance abuse is a serious matter and can lead to addiction, with physical and mental damages to the individual. Over time, an individual will increase the amount of substance per use and the amount of times using the substance. Drugs and other illicit substances will slowly re-wire the brain, installing an immense and constantly increasing desire for the substance. In many situations, the user will be unable to function without the substance after continued abuse.
Substance abuse is the early stage of addiction as the brain develops a necessity for said substance. Illicit drugs affect the pleasure centers in the brain which transmit the message of using more substance to feel better. The more frequently a person consumes the substance, the stronger the urges become. The frequent abuse of the substance may start out voluntary and become an addiction out of the abuser’s control.
The possibility of substance abuse can occur with a variety of substances. Due to the body and brain being conditioned to rely on the substance, life without the substance can become impossible. Attempting to cease abuse of drugs and other illicit substances without help will be incredibly difficult. With professional help and a positive support network, an individual can stop abusing the substance and lead a healthy lifestyle.
There are numerous substances which one can abuse, without realizing so. The substance can become a silent necessity of an individual’s life for months, even years, before the individual notices. Nicotine and alcohol are both substances which can be abused and lead to addiction, commonly used as coping mechanisms in daily life.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse – NIDA – found that almost 19 percent of drug treatment admissions were related to marijuana use in Colorado during 2013. The same study found that at least seven percent of admissions were related to prescription opioid abuse. Drugs and medication prescribed for healing can be abused and lead to addiction down the line. In some cases, an individual will build a dependence on the medication and need constant consumption to function each day after the treatment process. When abusing a medication, an individual will feel stronger effects than in a normal dose and continue to increase the amount of medication consumed.
Other drugs that can be abused include LSD, Ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and more.
The Behavioral Health Barometer for Colorado, published in 2014, measured the varying levels of substance abuse in the state in association with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Barometer found substance abuse can happen at any age, as around 117,000 individuals 12 years of age and older abused or were dependent on illicit substances in 2013. Substance abuse will begin to take control of one’s life away from the individual. While the initial decision to consume the substance is on the individual, continued use will be due to the brain functioning differently from the substance. The abuser should take responsibility for the substance abuse, but should not be shamed for it. Shaming an individual for substance abuse will only trigger more abuse.
The factors spurring substance abuse vary per person. For some, their environment may be stressful, hectic or toxic prompting substance abuse as a reaction or coping mechanism. Others may abuse drugs due to struggling with a certain stage of development in their lives ranging from work stress to a personal tragedy to dealing with trauma. Still others may have a genetic history of substance abuse and addiction that predisposes them to the same habit patterns.
Treatment for substance abuse depends on the user’s circumstances and the severity of their substance abuse. There are a variety of treatment methods available to deal with substance abuse, and most will utilize detoxification, medication and therapy. The most difficult step for a person fighting substance abuse, is admitting that he or she needs help. It should be understood though that seeking help is no a sign of weakness but rather one of strength. Seeking treatment or advice on how to move forward is a strong step in the right direction.
If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse there is help available. To learn more about substance abuse, how to recognize it and where to seek help, contact the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors over the phone or online. Start the path to recovery today.