Substance Addiction

Just What Is Addiction – Part 2

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

This is the concluding article of 2 on what substance addiction is. This complex condition affects individuals in many different ways, so let’s start with:

Why do some suffer addiction and others do not?

The exact reasons why some fall quickly into addiction while others using similar substances or amounts do not, but a family history of addiction is known to have an effect.

This means if a blood-relative such as a parent or grandparent suffered with substance addiction then the chances are increased that you will.

There is also the environment in which you are living to take into account. If this is one where drugs or alcohol are freely available and openly used, then the chances are that a person will begin substance use at an earlier age than those living in environments where substance use is not so prevalent.

 The earlier a person begins using drugs or alcohol the greater the chance of them becoming addicted to a substance later in life.

Mental disorders:

Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and stress are also common factors when it comes to determining whether a person will fall foul of addiction.

The problem with such disorders is that we all feel these conditions during some periods of our lives, but those suffering more than most with these mental problems often do not realise that their condition is serious enough to warrant medical attention.

It is known that those who have a diagnosable mental disorder are far more likely to develop more than one addiction. Dealing with one addiction is difficult enough, to have to cope with multiple addictions can be devastating.

Those with more than one substance addiction are termed as having co-occurring disorders and it is crucial that once this is identified that specialised treatment is given to that person to ensure each condition is treated separately.

One thing is certain:

The more regularly a person dabbles with substances the more they will want. This is because the body builds a tolerance to that substance. As tolerance builds it means that more of the same is required to achieve the same effects as previously experienced.

Continued tolerance will eventually lead to dependence because the body and brain cannot do without your substance(s) of choice. These substances alter the way your brain works and this makes it extremely difficult to resist the strong urges to continue substance abuse.

Don’t let things slide:

It is far easier to continue using substances and ignore the growing need for them than to do anything about it. Many put their use down to ‘enjoyment’ and convince themselves they can stop use whenever the wish, but ‘now’ is just not that time.

The importance of recognising your substance abuse is getting out of hand is crucial and there should be no shame in admitting this.

You are not alone:

If you have tried, but failed to stop your substance use it is important to understand that embarrassment should not come into the equation in terms of seeking assistance. Quite the opposite, by seeking professional help you are making a brave statement about your character and desire to quit.

It is also important to understand that countless people before you have been in your position and countless more in future will be, but with professional help you can leave addiction where it belongs; in the dim and distant past.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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