Substance Use Disorders
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services published a study in 2013 indicating that 24.6 million Americans were illicit drug users and only 2.5 million received addiction treatment. Through recognition and education we are able to have a positive impact in getting our loved ones the treatment they need to eliminate substance abuse.
What is Substance Use Disorder?
A substance use disorder is the term given when someone has a set of symptoms related to problematic use of drugs and alcohol. There are three distinct areas were a person’s life is disrupted due to their continued substance abuse: thoughts, behaviors and overall physical well-being. Despite negative consequences, a person may compromise values, morals and sacrifice primary relationships because the desire to continue using drugs and alcohol is stronger.
Prolonged use of drugs and alcohol can change brain circuits and have a negative impact on how a person thinks and feels. Some changes may persist even after drugs and alcohol abuse has been eliminated. It is suggested that the most effective way to help a person recover from substance use disorder is attending a residential addiction treatment program.
Characteristics of Substance Use Disorder
There are very clear indications that your loved one may be suffering from a substance use disorder. If you are worried that your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, it is best to review your observations with a professional and decide if addiction treatment is needed.
Here is a list of possible indicators that something is wrong with your loved one:
- Mood Swings
- Always Broke
- Not following through on commitments
- Drastic change in friends
- Dropping out of school
- Flunking a semester
- Failure to transition to adulthood
- Avoiding family
- Disappearing for periods of time
- Drastic weight loss
- Trouble staying awake
- Sleeping for abnormally long periods of time
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists four categories of classification of use. Of those four, Social Impairment is when most people enter addiction treatment programs. Often, this is the time when those closest to the person with substance use disorder are able to recognize that something is wrong. It is essential to intercede at this point in order to help protect your loved one from additional physical and emotional damage due to substance abuse. Below is a list of the four categories, as indicated in the DSM-5.
- Impaired Control – Taking large amounts of substances over a longer period than intended. Unsuccessful attempts to cut down and/or ongoing cravings or urges to use.
- Social Impairment – As a result of substance abuse, your loved one has failed to fulfill roles such as work, school and employment. Increased interpersonal problems such as withdrawal from family and giving up social and recreational activities.
- Risky Use – Using substances is physically hazardous and your loved one continues use, despite knowledge of negative consequences. Failure to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
- Pharmacological – Tolerance has been built, requiring more substances to obtain effects. Withdrawal symptoms are present when the substance effects wear off, indicating physical dependence.
Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health
Your loved one may already suffer from a mental health disorder or has acquired a substance- induced mental health disorder through substance abuse. Either way, continued substance abuse will exacerbate mental health symptoms. If there is an already existing mental health disorder, symptoms will remain present long after alcohol and drug use is eliminated. Many times, people use substances to help distract from the discomfort of mental health symptoms. Others are predisposed to the development of mental health disorders that may be triggered through substance abuse.
Long term residential addiction treatment offers trained professionals that are able to help you distinguish if this is a substance-induced disorder or a true mental health disorder. The DSM-5 offers an explanation of substances that mimic mental health symptoms when either intoxicated or going through withdrawal. “Alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics and alcohol will produce prominent and clinically significant depressive disorders, while anxiety conditions are likely to be observed during withdrawal syndromes of these substances. Stimulants (amphetamines and cocaine) are likely to be associated with substance induced psychotic disorders, with substance induced anxiety disorders and substance induced major depressive episodes observed during withdrawal.” (DSM-5)
Addiction Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
Eliminating drug and alcohol abuse is only the first step to recovery. Often people need additional assistance to learn how to effectively manage mental health symptoms, cravings and triggers which lead to substance abuse. Attending a residential addiction treatment facility will give your loved one time to allow physical, emotional and mental health healing. You have options, call a Lifeskills South Florida Admissions Counselor at 844-749-1560 and find out how we can help you today!