Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Drug & Alcohol
Addiction



Addiction is a disease of the brain that impacts millions
of individuals and families around the globe each year.
Individuals who struggle with an addiction to drugs and
alcohol are often resistant to outside input and assistance,
especially if they have yet to admit they are facing a serious
and potentially life-threatening problem.

What is Addiction

It is possible to become addicted to just about anything with enough indulgence and use of a substance. Children can have serious addictions to sugar when overloaded with it each day. Grown adults can quickly become addicted to gambling once they have felt the rush of winning unexpectedly. The human brain is designed with a built-in reward system, causing those with addictions to seek out the substance or vice that feels the most gratifying, even if it is detrimental to their health and overall surroundings.

Understanding that addiction is prevalent in all facets of society is essential to avoid alienating those who are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Drug and alcohol addictions can quickly cause individuals to feel dependent on the substance of their choice. Some of the signs of a growing and developing an addiction when involving drugs and alcohol may include:

  • Preoccupation: Having a preoccupation with obtaining drugs or alcohol is a telltale sign that an individual is likely developing an addiction.
  • Lack of Self-Control: Individuals who display a lack of self-control when using or consuming substances may struggle with addiction.
  • Increased Desire: An increased desire for alcohol or drugs is extremely common among those with developing or existing addictions.
  • Denial: Denial and dismissive behavior are often displayed among those who refuse to accept their addictions and the consequences their actions have had on their own lives and the lives of those around them.
  • Lack of Emotional Response: Individuals with severe addictions are more likely to exhibit a lack of emotional response.

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How Addiction Impacts the Brain

An addiction to drugs or alcohol is considered a disease of the brain as the brain’s reward system is triggered each time an individual consumes drugs or alcohol (often after becoming mentally and physically dependent on the substance). Once the brain’s reward center is activated, an individual is likely to seek more of the substance they prefer. Over time, an individual’s tolerance for the substance grows rapidly, requiring more alcohol or drugs to achieve the same euphoria or high as when they first began consuming the substance.

Depending on the drug or type of alcohol being consumed, addiction can result in long-term effects and malfunctions throughout the body. Some of the most notable long-term effects linked to addiction include:

  • Cognitive Impairment: Severe addictions to drugs and alcohol can lead to long-term impairment of the brain. Slurred speech, jumbled thoughts, and physical stability can all be greatly impacted by long-term addiction.
  • Behavioral Changes: Displaying a flat affect and a lack of emotional response are common outcomes of severe addiction.
  • Tremors/Balance Issues: The consumption of too much alcohol or drugs can lead to balance issues or trouble with maintaining stability while walking.

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Risk Factors of Addiction

Unfortunately, there are many risk factors involved in developing an addiction that does not always require repeated exposure to drugs or alcohol. Some of the most common risk factors of future addictions include:

  • Early Exposure: Individuals exposed to alcohol or drugs at a young age have a significantly higher chance of developing an addiction later in life.
  • Genetics: Individuals who have parents or relatives who struggle with severe addiction are more likely to carry the addiction gene themselves.
  • Trauma/PTSD: Addiction runs rampant among those who have experienced a serious traumatic incident or those who have been formally diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Depression/Anxiety: Depression and anxiety can lead to dependence or an addiction to drugs and alcohol when not properly diagnosed and addressed.
  • Mental Illness: Oftentimes, underlying mental illness or disorder can lead to unwanted addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Don’t Wait for Tomorrow. Get Real Help for Addiction Today.

Let AmHealth’s Addiction Treatment Program Help Today

There is no one treatment plan that works for everyone to overcome an addiction. There are inpatient rehabilitation centersoutpatient rehabilitation programs, and even local sponsor meetings available for those uninterested in formal programs or unable to find the right solutions in their local area. Some of the features of each type of rehabilitation treatment available include:

  • Inpatient Rehabilitation: Inpatient care requires individuals to live within the rehabilitation center they have chosen. Dual diagnosis, medically-monitored detoxing, and medical staff are available throughout the duration of your selected program (lasting 30, 60, or even 90 days). Includes individualized therapy, group counseling, and sponsor meetings.
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation: Outpatient rehab programs do not require individuals in need to live on-site, but still provides programs such as specialized counseling, therapy, medical advice, and sponsor meetings.
  • Sponsor Meetings: Sponsor meetings are great for individuals who already have a massive emotional and mental support network in their lives. Sponsor meetings provide individuals with the opportunity to express their feelings and the challenges they face each day while learning to listen to the stories of others. Obtaining a sponsor is a great way to prevent giving in to temptations and using drugs or alcohol while living a life of sobriety.

While overcoming drug addiction is never easy, it is possible with the proper support, guidance, and the necessary resources available locally and online. When an individual understands the underlying causes and triggers of their addiction, it becomes much easier for them to move forward with a plan of action to begin living a life of sobriety that is healthier, happier, and ultimately more fulfilling.

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