Substance use disorder (SUD) changes people in many ways. It distorts their thinking, affects their behaviour right down to the body’s physical functions. The chemicals found in these substances alter the way the brain is normally wired. While on these substances, brain images would show changes in the areas that control judgement, behaviour, decision-making, learning, and storing memory. These changes can last long and can potentially be permanent.
Individuals become intoxicated bringing about powerful feelings of pleasure, heightened sensitivity to stimuli as well as a sense of calm. This results in intense cravings and making it very difficult for the individual to stop the destructive habit.
Individuals with addiction develop tolerance over time, which means they need larger amounts to feel the effects. Although some signs of alcohol and drug abuse can be detected and caught early, others are not easily identifiable. Some people may deny that they have a problem at all because of the stigma and negative implications associated with alcohol and drug abuse. They would hide their drinking and drug problem making it hard for friends to provide help and proper intervention. But due to some addiction recovery options, it's is now possible to get over from this addiction.
Risk Factors of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
How does drug use begin? How does it progress? What are the factors that can add to an individual’s risk for substance and alcohol abuse?
These are samples of risk factors associated with addiction:
The method of administration also plays a role. Smoking or injecting drugs significantly increases its addictive capability.
Symptoms of Drug Abuse
While each drug causes different physical effects, they have one thing in common: chronic use can change the way the brain works. Taking the drug triggers the brain's hormone dopamine, stimulating feelings of pleasure. The brain recognises this and wants more. The addiction to substances has now kicked in and equates the drug intake as a survival action very much like eating and drinking.
A person may experience any or many of these symptoms as well: Jaw-clenching/teeth-grinding (effects of being high on ecstasy), lack of motivation, forgetfulness, unusual body odours, and poor physical coordination.
If you are concerned about your own or a loved one's substance use, understanding why dependency develops — and why it can have such a stronghold — will give you a better insight of how best to deal with the problem and regain control of your life. You can overcome the harmful effects of drug use with the right treatment and support.
If you’re ready to seek help recovery is within reach at The Arden Centre. It’s never too late.
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