You probably know all about addiction. That’s especially true if you or someone you care about has suffered from it in one form or another. In fact, over 30 million Americans use illicit substances illegally or improperly, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.

It’s easy to blame the addict, society, yourself, or anybody and anything when you’re hurting. In truth, the blame shouldn’t be assigned to anyone, especially the one who suffers from it. That’s because substance abuse isn’t a choice anybody consciously makes. Rather, most people don’t know how to overcome it, so the damage continues, as hope starts to fade.

The First Thing About Addiction: It’s a Mental Health Disease

Substance abuse is certainly a complicated mental health disease with a wide variety of symptoms. One unique concern about it is the compulsive abuse of drugs, despite the awareness of harmful consequences. To too many people, it seems as if the person is making a choice to remain addicted to drugs. But others understand that it’s a compulsion they can’t control.

Substance abuse can take on a life of its own and overwhelm the life of anyone with an addiction. Research studies are still ongoing to learn more about the correlation between addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Research studies usually begin and end with the question, “Did addiction cause chronic mental health disease or did the chronic mental health disease cause the addiction?”

After all, studies have revealed that addiction is a mental health condition. It has both mental and physical symptoms and consequences. Discovering the correlation between addiction and other mental health disorders may lead us to solutions for both in the future.

What is it About Addiction that Affects the Brain?

Researchers striving to learn more about addiction have discovered that chemical imbalances are a direct result of it. This is true of every person with an addicted brain. It doesn’t matter if the they live in Texarkana, Texas, Bangor, Maine or anywhere in between.

A person’s behaviors and body functions drastically change, as the addiction gains control over his or her life. That’s because substance abuse changes the brain’s wiring in judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and impulse control.

Drug and alcohol abuse work on the brain’s reward circuit. This is a serious concern because of its profound impact. Abusing these substances significantly increases dopamine, which floods the brain with feelings of euphoria. Not only does this bring numbness to negative feelings, but it also considerably enhances positive feelings. In other words, substance abuse compels people to repeat their negative behaviors regardless of the consequences.

Who’s Most at Risk for Substance Abuse?

The risk of developing an addiction is generally based on your genetics, environment, medical history, and age. Some underlying mental health issues may also put you more at risk of developing an addiction.

If a mental health disorder is present concurrently with ongoing substance abuse, doctors refer to it as co-occurring disorders. The presence of co-occurring disorders allows the symptoms of both to exacerbate each other. This creates a vicious cycle in which you feel you can’t ever break free.

How to Treat and Overcome Substance Abuse

The way forward in treating and overcoming addiction can be a long one, and no one should have to do it on their own. A support system at home is ideal. Treatment programs teach the patient and his or her support system about substance abuse. This helps the patient to overcome it once and for all.

The best and most effective way to treat and overcome addiction is by going through a treatment program. Opt for one that offers medical treatment, individual counseling, group therapy, as well as substance abuse education.

Contact Texarkana’s Better Rehab Center when you’re ready to find a healthy way forward. Better Rehab Center is one of your best defenses in fighting back against substance abuse. The healthy coping mechanisms you learn make all the difference in successfully taking one step forward.

With every step towards the light, you get closer to recovery and the rest of your healthy future. Call us to learn more about recovery and how it’s possible for you.

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