Is it true that substance abuse is the first stage of a brain disease? Or are those who call it a moral failing correct? The substance abuse definition that scientists now accept may surprise you.
The Official Substance Abuse Definition
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines addiction as a substance use disorder. It classifies three stages of drug dependence that may be mild, temperate or severe. Therapists use a variety of diagnostic tools to assess the severity of someone’s substance abuse. The findings then inform the treatment options.
A hallmark of the disorder is the repeated use of substances that interfere with daily living. When alcohol consumption results in health problems or an inability to work, it’s clear that usage has become problematic. Conspicuously absent from the definition is apportioning of guilt or a moral value judgment. This presentation runs counter-cultural to what many individuals believe about substance abuse.
The Slippery Slope of Addiction Includes Gateway Drugs
Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to become a person with an alcohol use disorder. Genetics, social aspects, and psychology factor into the development of addiction. You might be able to guess who’s more likely to develop a substance abuse problem. However, it’s impossible to pinpoint who won’t.
For example, many opioid painkiller patients eventually face an addiction to the drugs. It’s not their faults. The drugs change the ways the brain releases dopamine. In the process, the body builds a dependence on the drug for the process.
When people want to quit taking the opioids, they experience withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes, these symptoms can be so severe that individuals continue to take the drug even though they don’t suffer pain. Because of the high cost of the medications, some users switch over to heroin, which is also an opioid but markedly cheaper. The slope of substance abuse is indeed slippery.
Getting Help for Substance Abuse
No matter how you got to where you are, you need help. Professional addiction treatment is your best bet for achieving lifelong sobriety. Because experts agree with the disease model of dependency, the illness falls under the heading of a chronic condition. It rubs elbows, so to speak, with asthma or diabetes.
You wouldn’t think of treating them by yourself, would you? At a substance abuse treatment center, you get help in a number of ways. Examples of modalities include:
- Detoxification that helps you to break the physical dependence on the drug and manages discomfort in the process
- Psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy to evaluate negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Group therapy helps you to end self-isolation that drug abuse so often causes
- Family therapy rebuilds trust and provides the education loved ones need to support your recovery
- Holistic approach practices align the mind, body, and spirit with treatments that lessen anxiety and depression
When you’re ready to reach out for assistance, the friendly therapists at Silver Pines Treatment Center want to help. You don’t have to live with a substance abuse problem for another day. Call 267.719.8689 now to learn more about the substance abuse definition and begin recovery.