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Addiction Overview

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a severe physical and mental health issue. Those who struggle with addiction face many issues regarding their health, relationships, and professional or academic well-being.

When a person becomes addicted to substances, they prioritize substance use over other important areas of life. Many people overlook the consequences of addiction at first. Soon, they realize that their life has completely turned upside down. Sometimes it takes a loved one to point out the problem.

Addiction puts our health in danger. When we misuse drugs, we put the mind and body under a lot of pressure. Many people begin to use substances recreationally and believe that they won’t get addicted.

It is common to think that addiction only affects other people and that we are somehow immune. The truth is that addiction can affect anyone. It does not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, cultural background, or socioeconomic status.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a complex, all-consuming condition. When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the brain’s structure has changed. These structural changes make that person seek out the substance of addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction has a broad range of symptoms. They may not notice the signs of addiction until it has progressed so far that their lives have completely changed.

If you are worried that you or a loved one are struggling with substance misuse, consider the following signs of addiction. Noticing the signs can lead the affected individual into early treatment, which increases the likelihood of recovery success.

  • Changes to the social group, previously unheard of friends
  • Lies and secrecy about whereabouts and spending habits
  • Stealing, borrowing, or begging for money
  • Hidden drug stashes
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, burned spoons, small plastic bags, small weighing scales)
  • Failed attempts to quit
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Constantly talking about drugs

The following are some of the most common symptoms of addiction.

  • Increased tolerance to the drug
  • Withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued
  • Inability to cut down or stop using
  • Obsessive thoughts and behavior around substance use
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Weight loss/gain

The Consequences of Addiction

Addiction can have dire consequences on all aspects of a person’s life. It affects our mental, physical, and social health and well-being.

Mental Health and Addiction

Addiction is linked to depression and anxiety, psychosis, and mood disorders. Depression, anxiety, and mood disorders can develop due to addiction. They can also contribute to the addiction in the first place. Psychosis is a mental health issue that can directly result from substance misuse.

Many people first use substances as a means of coping with traumatic memories. Drugs and alcohol may provide temporary relief from one’s emotional distress, but this relief is temporary. Ultimately, addiction can make our trauma worse and complicate treatment.

Physical Health and Addiction

The physical consequences are the most obvious to the affected individual. Increased tolerance and physical dependence on the drug happen after even a short period of misuse.

Depending on the drug used, a person may suffer from:

  • Drastic weight loss
  • Liver and heart damage
  • Injection marks on the arms
  • Burnt lips
  • Nausea
  • Disease (HIV, Hepatitis C)
  • Abscesses and ulcers

Social Health and Addiction

Addiction can have a significant impact on our social health. The affected individual usually begins to notice the severity of their condition when their social health begins to decline.

Addiction can lead to:

  • Dropping out of school or university
  • Job loss
  • Hospitalization
  • Legal trouble, incarceration
  • Strained or lost relationships
  • Increased risk of abuse
  • Becoming a victim of violent crime

Addiction and the Brain

Research in Frontiers in Psychology tells us that the brain is neuroplastic. Its neural structure changes and adapts based on repeated patterns of behavior. Drugs and alcohol influence the brain.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that repeated drug use changes neural pathways in the brain. This causes substance dependence and addiction symptoms.

The good news is that recovery is possible. If you struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), you must seek professional treatment. Effective addiction treatment involves detox, rehab, and aftercare.

Since the brain is neuroplastic, it can be reshaped. Effective treatment helps clients engage in behaviors and self-management techniques to rewire the brain. Healthy ways of tolerating distress replace unhealthy behaviors such as substance misuse.

Here at Detox West Tennessee, we help clients get through that crucial first stage of recovery. Detox is where the body rids itself of all traces of drugs or alcohol that have built up following misuse.

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Types Of Addiction

Opiate Addiction

Opiates are naturally-occurring drugs derived from the opium poppy plant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opiate addiction is a growing problem in the U.S.

When consumed, they provide users with a sense of relaxation and euphoria. Opiates are incredibly addictive. The body can become dependent on opiates after even one use.

When a person misuses opiates, there are summon common signs and symptoms.

These include:

  • Track marks on the arms (needles, injections)
  • Sudden, drastic weight loss
  • Flu-like symptoms

Opiate use poses a serious health risk. Users at risk of contracting a life-threatening disease such as:

  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/Aids

Misuse of opiates also increases the risk of:

  • Being a victim of physical or sexual abuse
  • Engaging in crime

We help clients detox from opiates by providing evidence-based, FDA-approved medical intervention. We prescribe methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone in the detox process to support the mind and body as the client begins to heal from prolonged opiate misuse.

Opioid Addiction

Opioids mimic the effects of opiates. These drugs are synthetic or lab-made. They come in prescription drugs such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), or illegally made fentanyl.

The U.S is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Many people take these drugs via prescription to help manage pain. However, they are highly addictive.

Many misuse their prescriptions by taking too much and not following their doctor’s recommendations. Misuse of prescription opioids soon leads to opioid dependence and addiction.

When this happens, professional treatment is essential. Detox involves opioid substitutes to prevent the withdrawal effects from being overwhelming.

Stimulant Addiction

Stimulant drugs are those which increase activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Cocaine and methamphetamine are popular illegal, recreational stimulants.

Some stimulants are legal, such as those prescribed by a doctor to manage the symptoms of ADHD. These include brand-name stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. Whether legal or illegal, stimulants have a high potential for misuse.

Misuse of stimulant drugs can lead to the following health complications:

  • Anxiety
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia

According to SAMHSA, stimulant addiction is one of the most common substance use disorders in the U.S.

Some of the signs of stimulant use are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Erratic behavior
  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Jitteriness
  • Weight loss

Detox is the first step. There are no stimulant-specific medications for stimulant detox. Instead, we prescribe medications to support clients mentally through the stages of stimulant withdrawal.

Alcohol Addiction

SAMHSA’S National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S and worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization, 200 million people worldwide struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). It is also the leading cause of substance-related death worldwide.

Alcohol addiction, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), requires intensive treatment. Over a prolonged period of misuse, alcohol puts the mind and body at significant risk of health complications.

Alcohol misuse can lead to:

  • Liver disease
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Certain types of cancer

Alcohol misuse also poses a risk to our behavioral health.

Those who frequently misuse alcohol put themselves at risk of:

  • Alcohol-induced motor accidents
  • Committing or being a victim of violent crime
  • Increased risk of sexual assault
  • Strained romantic relationships and friendships
  • Neglect of personal responsibilities

At Detox West Tennessee, our alcohol detox programs include the latest evidence-based approaches in alcohol recovery. We prescribe medication to minimize risk during withdrawal and to help restore the body to health.

Benzodiazepine Addiction

Doctors sometimes prescribe benzodiazepines to help clients struggling with anxiety disorders. They are anxiolytic, which means they reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, slow down activity in the CNS. As such, they provide users with a feeling of deep calm and relaxation. One of the biggest dangers associated with benzodiazepine misuse is overdose.

Taking too high a dose can lead to respiratory issues and coma. Benzos are particularly dangerous when combined with other drugs that reduce CNS activity, such as alcohol. Polydrug use involving benzos and alcohol can be fatal.

Benzodiazepine misuse is prevalent nationwide. Many people misuse their prescriptions. They take too much or go ‘doctor shopping – visiting different doctors to get the same prescription. Benzodiazepine dependence can happen quickly, and they are challenging to quit.

Benzodiazepine detox involves a tapering process. We gradually reduce the dosage over time. This prevents the body from going into shock, as it would if you suddenly stopped using benzos.

Expert-led Addiction Recovery Support at Detox West Tennessee

At Detox West Tennessee, we understand that addiction is a complex condition that affects each person differently. As such, we approach each client as a unique individual.

We begin each program by carrying out an in-depth physical and mental health assessment. We enquire about your history of substance misuse and the presence of any other underlying mental health condition. When we have this in-depth knowledge, we can provide the most appropriate and effective treatment.

Detox is the first stage of successful addiction recovery. After detox, we advise clients to continue seeking support.

Ongoing support includes various therapies and healing modalities led by mental health professionals. High-quality aftercare can help to prevent relapse and promote recovery maintenance.

Contact Us

Our expert-led, medically supervised detox program stabilizes your physical health. As such, it puts you in an optimal position to enter rehab. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder, please contact us today.

We know that addiction wreaks havoc on individuals and their families, but it does not have to continue. You can overcome your addiction as long as you take the first step and reach out for help. 

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