Stopping drug and alcohol abuse is only the first step to recovery. Most people need additional assistance to effectively manage emotional and physical responses to discontinuing use as well as the cravings, and triggers which lead to substance abuse. Additionally, the social networks surrounding those in an addictive or abusive cycle are often filled with other people trapped in the same patterns. Our experienced licensed and certified therapists understand when someone is struggling with a dual diagnosis or primary addiction there is a high risk for relapse and are prepared and skilled partnering with people to navigate recovery. The treatment team will explore the complexities of each case and allow ample time for a thorough assessment to build the foundation for an informed recovery plan. Discovering the relationship between substance abuse and a person’s mental, emotional and physical health is essential to stabilizing and supporting the client and family through treatment.
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. Continued use can disrupt one’s thoughts, behaviors, and overall physical well-being. Because the desire to continue using drugs and alcohol is strong, a person may compromise values and morals and sacrifice primary relationships. Being addicted to a substance has strong physical and psychological controls on a person.
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 the elimination of drugs and alcohol. A residential treatment program is suggested to be the most effective way to help a person recover from a substance use disorder. A residential setting support recovery by offering:
- 24-hours in a drug-free setting
- Community of support
- Accessible licensed, trained and experienced professionals
- Recovery planning approach stepping down through care continuum
- Emersion into experiences and education to build skills, life strategies, social networks and vocational readiness for sustained recovery
Characteristics of Substance Use Disorder
There are clear indications that your loved one may be suffering from a substance use disorder, it is best to review your observations with a professional and decide if addiction treatment is needed.
Below are some of the common indicators that someone may be suffering from a substance use disorder:
- 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
- Extreme weight loss
- Trouble staying awake
- Sleeping for abnormally long periods of time
Categories of Substance Abuse
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 or commonly referred to as drug rehabilitation programs. Often, this is the time when those closest to the person with the addiction recognize that something is wrong. It is essential to intercede at this point to help protect your loved one from more 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 – Because 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 to use, despite knowledge of negative consequences. Failure to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
- Pharmacological – Tolerance is high, needing more substances to obtain effects. Withdrawal symptoms are present when the substance effects wear off, indicating physical dependence.
Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health
More than 50% of individuals with an addiction to drugs or alcohol also have a mental health disorder. Continued substance abuse will worsen mental health symptoms, and if there is an already existing mental health disorder, symptoms will still be 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 by drug or alcohol addiction.
The complex nature of treating both disorders at the same time requires highly trained and expert professionals. It is difficult to find treatment facilities competent and licensed to treat the co-occurring and dually diagnosed individual effectively. Lifeskills South Florida has become one of the National Centers of Excellence that professionals and families seek out for this type of specialty care because of their experience and success in treating this population. Lifeskills South Florida is dually licensed with a team of licensed and certified clinical staff fully ready to engage client and families in recovery.
What are Process Addictions?
Process addiction is also known as a behavioral addiction. A process addiction is like a drug or alcohol addiction in that it produces short term rewards that then result in a lack of control over the behavior. Certain behaviors, such as gambling, shopping, Internet, or video games, can produce a “high” or reinforcement in the brain that increases the desire to continue the behavior despite any negative consequences. Process addictions follow the same pattern as a drug or alcohol addiction in that individuals can become so dependent on the behavior that everyday life can become a struggle. Like substance addiction, there are levels of severity with a process addiction which can result in problems with relationships, finances, work-life, and home life. Individuals with a process addiction will often tire of the behavior and the toll it has taken on their life. However, those who stop will often experience similar withdrawal symptoms as that of a substance addiction where they may become agitated or irritable or have personality changes, disruptive sleep patterns, or other physical issues. Treatment for process addiction is available for those who need help in overcoming the emotional and mental difficulty the addiction has caused.