Seeing as half of all Americans ages 12 and older have used an illicit drug in their life, it’s no surprise that the topic of addiction comes up rather often. When referring to addiction to drugs or alcohol, the recognized term is substance use disorder or SUD. SUD impacts not only the individual addicted to a substance, but their loved ones and colleagues as well.

Even as addiction treatment becomes more effective than ever, the conversations about addiction are still quiet and done as if the subject was taboo. Part of overcoming this is educating as many people as possible on the subject to help them better understand that we’re helping to fight against at facilities such as America’s Rehab Campus.

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is when an individual’s use of drugs or alcohol begins having a severe impact on one or more parts of their life. This can range from physical health issues to failures to perform at work or school. It can also happen due to any type of drug or alcohol, even if some are considered more addictive than others. SUD and addiction shouldn’t be mixed up with drug or alcohol dependence though, even if they often coincide.

Dependence is when the body changes to accommodate drug or alcohol use and struggles to function when in back in a sober state. Addiction or SUD refer more to the inability to cease substance abuse despite the negative consequences that come along with it. Even though addiction is a lifelong condition, treating it makes it manageable and nearly nonexistent over time.

What’s the Source of Addiction?

Unfortunately there’s no single source of addiction within our mind or body. Instead, addiction forms due to a number of influences including your own genetic makeup. It’s true that if addiction is common in your family, there’s an increased chance that you’ll be at risk of developing addictive tendencies. In any case, it’s always best to simply avoid substance use if you’re concerned about developing addiction.

Not only does your body and health come into play, but the environment you find yourself in does too. If you grow up around rampant drug or alcohol abuse, the behavior may seem more normal to you as you get older. When you run into similar situations that led those around you to engage in substance abuse, your initial reaction is likely to be to do the same. Anyone from a close friend to a work buddy can influence how you view substance abuse.

Trauma that’s been left untreated can also put you at a higher risk of developing an addiction. The symptoms of trauma or mental illness are often self-medicated through drug and alcohol use. This is a dangerous practice that only serves to worsen both the addiction and dependency forming to the substance of choice.

Does Addiction Cause Other Mental Health Issues?

In severe cases of drug or alcohol abuse, other mental illnesses or symptoms can develop from nothing. What happens more often is that there is an underlying mental illness that was present before addiction and was made worse due to SUD. For example, someone may have PTSD but not be aware of it until drug or alcohol use triggers a traumatic memory. It’s important that trauma be dealt with but doing so with substance abuse can make it worse.

The changes that happen within the brain over long periods of routine exposure to drugs or alcohol can also linger for months after achieving sobriety. These symptoms can present as mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Most of these will fully fade over time, but others may require additional treatment from a mental health professional outside of your regular addiction treatment team.

The presence of another mental illness alongside SUD is known as comorbidity and requires specialized treatment to effectively address the dual-diagnosis. If only one is treated, the other is likely to cause symptoms to return and undo the effort put in.

Get Help With Everything Else at ARC

Even with all the research you can do ahead of time, the truth is that each story of addiction will unfold in its own unique way. The team here at America’s Rehab Campus understands this and provides individualized treatment to each and every one of our guests no matter what their situation may be.

It only takes a moment to reach out to the ARC team if you or a loved one are in need of addiction treatment. We’re standing by to answer your questions, schedule intake or arrange transportation to help you get treatment started as soon as possible.