Addiction Clinic Questions and Answers
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An addictive disorder is a complex condition where, despite the harmful effects of a substance, the user is unable to control their use of it. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing illness that develops over time. Addictive disorders typically involve alcohol and/or drugs being overused and are common disorders. Substance-related addictive disorders fall into one of three different categories – substance use disorder, substance dependence, and chemical dependence. Substance use disorder is an addictive disorder in which substance use, typically drugs or alcohol, causes problems or distress for the user. Substance use disorder is often noticeable when the user misses school or work, uses substances in dangerous situations, has legal issues related to substance use or the continued use is found to be affecting relationships with their friends and family. A substance being use disorder can be illegal substances or legal substances. Substance dependence is not the same as substance use disorder and the symptoms are not as noticeable. In the case of substance dependence, the user continues to use drugs or alcohol, even though they are experiencing problems as a result. With dependence, the user has an increased tolerance for the substance, which means they need to take more to achieve their desired result, they can suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they try to cut back, they withdraw from social and physical activities and they continue to use the substance, even though they may be experiencing psychological or physical issues as a result of the substance. Chemical dependence is the compulsive use of chemicals, again drugs or alcohol, and is an addictive disorder as the user is unable to stop using them despite the problems caused by their use.
Addiction causes an intense stimulation in the brain and with continued exposure to the substance, the brain will crave the stimulation that the substance causes. This leads the individual to continue using the substance to recreate the euphoric feeling. Because of the impact that the substance has on the brain, with continued use as is the case with addictions, over time it can lead to severe brain damage which can result in death. The brain’s reaction to the substance will depend on a number of factors such as the frequency of use, the type of drug used, how many different drugs are used, and how far along the individual is in their addiction. Different kinds of drugs have different impacts on the brain. The substance will also affect other parts of a person’s body through the connection to the brain, including the nervous system.
An individual suffering from addiction can be addicted to any number of substances. To be addicted to a substance means the individual continues using the substance although it may be causing problems with their physical or mental health, leading to strain in their personal relationships, they are having to hide the use of the substance and they are missing school or work, or not following through on commitments. Addictions aren’t always related to substance use; they can also be behavioral addictions. In the case of behavioral addiction, there are still negative consequences to the person’s social and personal life, as well as their mental and physical health. With a behavioral addiction, a habit can turn into an obligation, with the individual experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t able to perform the behavior.
Addictive behaviors present themselves in many forms. The most common are an inability to quit, relapses back into the habit when they do quit, losing control of their consumption, no longer feeling the pleasure of the addiction, using substances to control their stress or negative feelings, and potentially being genetically predisposed to addiction. Individuals suffering from an addiction often express a desire to stop but aren’t able to decrease their use or step back due to withdrawal. They can also increase their use of the substance because they are no longer feel the pleasure or high that they once did, therefore increasing the amount they use to reach the same euphoric feeling. Using substances as a means to escape stress, negative feelings or bad memories is also an addictive behavior.
For more information about addiction, call us or schedule an appointment through our website. We would be pleased to help you! We serve patients from Chattanooga TN, Tyner TN, Ridgeside TN, Harrison TN, East Ridge TN, Ooltewah TN, Red Bank TN, and surrounding areas.