Anyone with a loved one who has struggled with addiction or has battled addiction themselves knows that the facts about people suffering from substance use disorders are often misconstrued. One of the most common misconceptions is that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could quit using drugs simply by choosing to. This “conventional wisdom” is more than just needlessly judgmental – it can also be harmful. Placing the blame for the addiction issues on the individual suffering from the disease can discourage those individuals from getting the help they desperately need.
The fact is, substance use disorder is a complex disease that affects people of all ages, classes, and ethnic backgrounds. As such, successfully overcoming it takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Since drugs physically and chemically alter the brain, this makes quitting difficult. At times, it can be impossible, even for those who want to.
Help is available, however. Lakeview Health in Jacksonville, Florida, is a data-driven residential treatment center that uses extensive research to understand how substances like prescription drugs, alcohol, and illicit substances can affect the brain. In response to this research, we have developed successful addiction treatment programs and specific treatment plans to help people recover from drug and alcohol addiction.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive. It’s difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people. However, repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control. This interferes with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These changes to the brain’s chemistry can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease – people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.
There are always cases where a person relapses, but relapse does not mean that treatment failed. More to the point, as we have indicated above, relapse should not be seen as a moral failing or an indication that recovery is not the right choice for someone. Quite the opposite is true. Relapse is far from an ideal circumstance, but it can strengthen an individual’s resolve when it happens. That fact is that most individuals who seek treatment for addiction relapse at some point. This does not mean that they do not go on to achieve genuine, long-term recovery.
What Kinds of Therapy Can You Expect?
Substance abuse affects the brain’s “reward circuit” by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. Under normal circumstances, this reward system controls the body’s ability to feel pleasure and motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. This over-stimulation of the reward circuit causes the intensely pleasurable “high” that can lead people to take a drug repeatedly.
As a person continues to use a substance, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine by making less of it and/or reducing cells’ ability in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug – an effect known as “tolerance.” They might take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high. It can also cause them to get less pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like family, hobbies, food, or social activities.
Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:
Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them.
Do I Need an Addiction Treatment Program?
If you are worried that you or someone close to you has become or is becoming addicted to a substance – even if that substance is legal – there are certain warning signs that you can watch for. These include:
They spend a significant amount of time acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of the substance, and they crave it when they are not using it.
Even though they have experienced adverse physical or psychological effects resulting from their substance use, they have continued to use the substance.
They have tried to reduce or cease their consumption of the substance but have failed to do so. When they have done so, they have experienced withdrawal symptoms.
They have drunk alcohol or used substances in situations where they could pose a threat to themselves or others, like before driving, operating machinery, or taking care of children.
They have been unable to fulfill the duties of work, school, or family because of their substance use.
As the substance has taken over, they have begun to distance themselves from the people and activities they once enjoyed.
If any of these behaviors or symptoms sound familiar, you or the person in question may have a substance use disorder and should consider seeking professional help in an addiction treatment center Like Lakeview Health.
Addictions Treated at Lakeview Health
At Lakeview, or team of difference makers makes a point of customizing the treatment to suit the needs of each of our patients. One of the many ways we do this is by treating a broad range of addictions at our alcohol and drug addiction treatment center. These include but are not limited to:
- Benzo addiction treatment
- Cocaine addiction treatment
- Heroin addiction treatment
- Marijuana addiction treatment
- Meth addiction treatment
- Opiate addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment
- Polysubstance addiction treatment
- Adderall addiction treatment
- Ambien addiction treatment
- Over-the-counter drug addiction treatment
- Prescription drug addiction treatment
- Vyvanse addiction treatment
- Percocet addiction treatment
- Vicodin addiction treatment
- Xanax addiction treatment
- Painkiller addiction treatment
If you or someone you care about is struggling with a substance use disorder that involves any of the above, the time to act is not. Reach out to Lakeview Health today to learn more.
What Predictive Factors Can Lead to Addiction?
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences the risk of addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:
The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person’s risk of addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence the risk of drug use and addiction.
A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction.
Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction.
Is There A Cure For Addiction?
As with most other chronic diseases, addiction treatment isn’t technically a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years – possibly for their whole lives. Studies show that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy provides most patients with the best chance of success. Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to a successful and continued recovery.
More important, drug use and addiction are preventable. Prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are useful for preventing or diminishing drug use and addiction. Although personal experiences and cultural attributes tend to affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, drug use can be avoided. Education and outreach are key to helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have the most important roles in teaching young people and preventing drug use and addiction.
What Do I Need to Know About Substance Abuse?
There are several key points to keep in mind as you consider contacting an addiction treatment program like Lakeview Health. Among these are:
- Substance use disorder is a chronic disease characterized by seeking or compulsively using alcohol or drugs, despite the negative and harmful consequences. These drugs may be illicit but may also be prescribed or otherwise easily obtained, like alcohol and over-the-counter medications.
- Brain changes that occur over time with substance use challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to use substances. This is why substance use disorder is considered a relapsing disease.
- The term “relapse” refers to the failure to stay in recovery and is marked by a return to substance use after an attempt to stop.
- With increased usage, the brain gets used to high amounts of dopamine. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug – also known as “tolerance.” They might take more of the substance, trying to achieve the same dopamine high.
- Drugs affect the brain’s reward system by inundating it with the chemical messenger dopamine. This over-stimulation of the brain’s reward system causes the pleasurable “high” that leads people to use a substance repeatedly.
- No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to a substance. A sequence of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors weigh the risk of addiction. The more risk components a person has, the greater the chance that using substances will lead to addiction.
- Substance use disorder is treatable and can be successfully managed with the help of an addiction treatment center like Lakeview Health.
- Substance use and addiction are preventable. Teachers, parents, and healthcare providers have major roles in educating young people and preventing substance use and addiction.
Begin at Our Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
Lakeview Health’s Jacksonville, Florida inpatient treatment center provides those in need of help with the most comprehensive care possible. From alcohol addiction treatment to drug addiction treatment, we help those struggling with a substance abuse disorder achieve their recovery goals.
Effective aftercare programs should include ongoing treatment and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.
To begin with, our programs and services, contact Lakeview Health today by calling 866.704.7692.
We currently accept Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare. We do not currently accept Medicare, Medicaid, or Florida Blue.