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Substance Use Disorder (SUD) / Addiction Treatment

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Substance use disorder (SUD), also known as addiction, is a complex condition characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use despite the harmful consequences it causes. SUD affects people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and can lead to severe physical, psychological, and social problems. In this blog post, we will explore the types of SUD, its prevalence, signs and symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Types of Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder can involve any substance that has the potential to cause addiction. The most commonly abused substances include alcohol, opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and marijuana. These substances can be grouped into different categories based on their effects on the brain and body.

Depressants: These are substances that slow down the central nervous system, leading to sedation, relaxation, and decreased anxiety. Examples include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.

Stimulants: These are substances that speed up the central nervous system, leading to increased alertness, energy, and euphoria. Examples include cocaine, amphetamines, and nicotine.

Opioids: These are substances that bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, leading to pain relief, sedation, and euphoria. Examples include heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers.

Hallucinogens: These are substances that alter the perception of reality, leading to visual and auditory hallucinations, altered thoughts, and feelings. Examples include LSD, psilocybin, and PCP.

Prevalence of Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a significant public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 21.6 million Americans aged 12 and older had a substance use disorder in 2020. Of these, 14.5 million had an alcohol use disorder, 4.5 million had a drug use disorder, and 2.5 million had both.

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder

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The signs and symptoms of substance use disorder can vary depending on the type of substance and the severity of the addiction. However, some common signs and symptoms include:

Cravings and urges to use the substance

Continued use despite the negative consequences

Withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not used

Tolerance, where increasing amounts of the substance are needed to achieve the desired effect

Neglecting responsibilities, such as work, school, or family

Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or unprotected sex.

Physical symptoms, such as weight loss, tremors, and red eyes.

Behavioural changes, such as mood swings, irritability, and aggression.

Causes of Substance Use Disorder

The causes of substance use disorder are complex and multifactorial. They can be influenced by genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some common risk factors for developing SUD include:

Genetics: Certain genes can make some individuals more vulnerable to addiction.

Family history: Having a family member with SUD increases the risk of developing the condition.

Trauma: Experiencing traumatic events, such as abuse or neglect, can lead to substance use as a coping mechanism.

Mental health conditions: Individuals with mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are at a higher risk of developing SUD.

Social factors: Peer pressure, social acceptance of substance use, and availability of drugs can also contribute to the development of SUD.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction/substance use disorder, click here to seek help from a qualified mental health professional for psychotherapy as addiction treatment.



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