Addiction or substance abuse occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects the feelings of reward, motivation, and memory. The alcohol/drug or “reward” causes the body to develop cravings. Over time, those cravings can increase and cause a person to need more of that substance to get the same feeling or “high” due to tolerance. This can cause the body to feel a need for alcohol or drug/behavior to function. This craving can influence a person to go through great lengths to obtain their substance of choice.
Types of Addiction
Addiction doesn’t always surface as a substance abuse problem. It can affect someone’s behavior and manifest as other extremes like excessive exercising or overeating. No matter the circumstance, addiction can take a toll on the body and mind. Drug or Alcohol Addiction: This addiction is the compulsive use of alcohol or drugs despite negative consequences. A person who is addicted loses the ability to control or quit using a substance. Two components that are involved with addiction are tolerance and dependence. The more a person uses a substance, the more they will need to get the same “high” or feeling because they have developed a tolerance. Some examples of substances include:
Behavioral Addiction: There are other types of addiction that can affect the way a person behaves. Research shows that it is possible to have a behavioral addiction such as gambling or sex. If a person shows a loss of self-control while the behavior happens then they could have a problem. Some common behavioral addictions include:
- Social media or cell phone use
- Video games
Symptoms of Addiction
Substance abuse or addiction stems from a complex brain condition that causes someone to compulsively use alcohol/drugs or participate in behavior in an inappropriate way. The person with this problem has an intense need for the drug or alcohol/behavior and will do anything to find it. It can take over someone’s life and cause many problems. Addiction can alter an individual’s life and people who experience it are prone to relapse and remission. Substance abuse ranges from mild to severe. The symptoms will typically become more severe if addiction occurs and can cause health conditions. Some common symptoms of addiction include:
- The inability to remain abstinent from drugs or alcohol/behavior
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite negative health consequences
- Fixation with alcohol or drugs/behavior
- Using drugs or alcohol to deal with problems
- Taking risks and participating in risky behavior
- Initially taking large doses of alcohol or drugs and therefore having to increase use to get the same effect
- Withdrawal symptoms including diarrhea, trembling, seizures, sweats, and sometimes violence.
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Appetite changes
- Insomnia is a common symptom during the withdrawal phase
- Financial difficulty
A common problem that people face when they have an addiction is participating in risky behaviors. Although it may seem common, some people may develop a problem with substances, and others will not. Addiction can affect any age, gender, race, ethnicity, and economic status. Many people who use substances frequently will never develop a substance abuse problem. Some risk factors for substance abuse include:
- Genetics: There are studies that show that genetics can play a role in whether they will develop substance abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that up to half of a person’s risk of addiction is based on DNA. You are more likely to experience addictive behaviors if you have a family member who has experienced addiction.
- Environment: The environment is another factor that can contribute to the chances of becoming addicted to substances. Lack of parental involvement can play a role as well as peer pressure. Young people who are dealing with abuse or neglect will use substances to cope with their emotions during the process.
- Early Use: The age to which you start using drugs or alcohol can play a role in whether you become addicted. A survey done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism determined that young adults between the ages of 18-24 are the most likely to have an alcohol use disorder or other drug addictions.
- Drug Used: Depending on the drug of choice, addiction can come on slowly or quickly. For example, drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are more likely to be addictive than alcohol or marijuana.
Healthy Roles of Family in Addiction
Even though there may be situations where a family member negatively treats the addicted person in the family, it usually comes from a place of love. Family members don’t always know the best way to handle the situation. This is especially the case if the addicted person does not want help or is unaware that there is a problem. If addiction is properly treated, it can be overcome. The role of the family is to help monitor, maintain, and support the person who is going through the addiction process.
The best way to overcome an addiction is to get help right away. There are treatment centers available that can help with the withdrawal symptoms and allow the person to recover in a safe environment. In 2018, there was a high population of Americans dealing with substance abuse disorder, around 20.3 million people. It is estimated that nearly 19 million of those people aged 12 and older needed treatment. It can be intimidating to overcome an addiction but it’s important to get the help you need. There are people that understand what you are going through and care about your well-being. The specialists who work in the recovery field often have been in your shoes and have dealt with addiction problems themselves. If you are looking for more information about treatment options, Las Vegas Recovery Center is here to help. We are just a phone call or mouse click away at all times. Call (888) 219-1158 to contact one of our admissions counselors today, they will be able to answer all of your questions and concerns.