The words that are used to describe something matter a great deal — especially to those who are experiencing it. The change from stating that a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs to calling it a substance use disorder reflects the growing body of research that indicates that this condition has nothing to do with a person’s personality, character, or any other trait like that. Instead, it is a medical disorder that can affect a person physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
What is Substance Use Disorder?
With the phrase still in its early stages of being used, you might wonder what it is. Another name for the condition is drug addiction, though that phrase is falling out of favor among many medical professionals.
Substance use disorder is a disease. Therefore, the name change better reflects that. It affects both a person’s behavior and brain. Ultimately, this disorder makes it impossible for the affected individual to control their use of the substance. This substance can be either legal or illegal, with both street drugs and prescription medications involved, depending on the person.
Some common substances that can contribute to a substance use disorder include nicotine, alcohol, heroin, marijuana, and prescription drugs, such as painkillers. Part defining substance use disorder is understanding that a person might continue to use the substance in spite of the harm and discontent it’s causing in their lives and on their body.
How Does Substance Use Start?
Just as substance use disorder itself is a complex condition, often so are the circumstances that it begins under. While there is a perception that most drug use begins as the result of experimentation, that is only one part of it.
There is a significant number of people who started off using medications, such as painkillers, that their doctor prescribed for them. For any number of reasons, they ended up becoming addicted to the medication. In many cases, the person’s pain wasn’t being adequately controlled. Thus, as their tolerance increased, they increased their dosage.
Who Gets This Disorder?
Understanding substance use disorder also involves realizing that this condition knows no boundaries. There is no way to predict who will experience the disorder. While some of it might depend on the substance taken (opioid painkillers are well known for being addictive), in other cases, the answers to this question might lie within the way a particular person’s brain works.
That is, some people might be more likely to become addicted to a substance. There is some research suggesting that people with certain mental health conditions, such as borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, could be more likely to experience an addiction to a substance.
What are the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder?
There are a number of symptoms that you can look for to determine if you or someone you love has a substance use disorder. It’s important to always have someone evaluated by a trained medical professional for an official diagnosis, though. There are mental health conditions that have many of the same symptoms of a substance use disorder, with some crucial differences. In some cases, the person might have both substance use disorder and a mental health condition, commonly referred to as co-occurring disorders.
Finding Help for Substance Use Disorder
The first step in getting help for substance use disorder is to find a high-quality treatment center. Serenity House Detox & Recovery FL’s professional staff is compassionate, caring and highly trained. We offer the following services:
Call Serenity House Detox & Recovery FL today at 866.294.5306 to learn more about how we can help!