When does the occasional drink or two turn into a binge? How do you recognize the warning signs that your painkiller use may be something more ominous? What is substance abuse and how do you treat it? If you find yourself asking these questions, understanding how to answer them is paramount to your well-being.
What is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse differs from use because of its potentially harmful outcomes. In some scenarios, substance use eventually leads to abuse. The use of illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and club drugs often become substance abuse problems. However, there is more at play particularly if the abuse involves a legal substance.
A good example is the opioid epidemic in the United States. Prescriptions for opioid painkillers increase and so do the number of dependent individuals. Eventually, a patient who legally obtains the drugs may begin abusing their prescription. Typically, this happens when the need for the drug subsides, but the desire for the same high intensifies.
Effects of Drug Abuse
No matter what your substance of choice is, there are universal drug abuse side effects. Initially, you develop a dependence that leads to unhealthy behaviors. You’ll do anything to get the next dose, even if it’s illegal. Finding yourself unable to control your substance use, you may continue using whenever the previous dose wears off.
Even when your health begins to suffer, you’ll keep using. You may develop a tolerance that leads to increasing your usual dose. Your relationships may suffer, you may be consistently broke and even lose your job. Even so, your use continues.
What Is Substance Abuse Detox?
Over the course of an addiction, chemicals from the consumed substance cause the brain and body to adapt. At first, the body is unused to the presence of a substance, allowing for quick and potent highs. Over time, however, the body adjusts, and it takes more of a substance used more often to achieve the same high. As the body builds tolerance, the brain drives cravings, which in turn fuels the vicious cycle of addiction.
When a physical dependency is unfulfilled, the affected person undergoes withdrawal. Withdrawal is particularly severe for heavy users, and for users of alcohol, heroin, and benzos. This severity is dangerous not only to a person’s health, but also to their recovery. If a person undergoes withdrawal but has access to their substance of choice, the urge to relapse will be very strong. Withdrawal is the first, and perhaps the most difficult, roadblock to your recovery.
Since withdrawal is so severe, doctors strongly recommend against going through withdrawal alone, aka “cold turkey.” Instead, doctors recommend that patients seek detox treatment. At San Antonio Recovery Center, we offer detox programs for alcohol and heroin, for both men and women.
Detox starts with withdrawal, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The benefit of detox is that it takes place in a secure, medically monitored environment. Some withdrawal symptoms, like seizures or delirium tremens (for alcoholics), can be fatal if left untreated. Medical professionals monitor detox patients 24/7 to keep them comfortable and safe as their body purges the addictive substance.
Addiction Therapy at San Antonio Recovery Center
You don’t have to continue the vicious cycle of addiction. After detox, addiction therapy will help you examine your addictive triggers and overcome your psychological dependence. Examples of therapy for substance abuse include:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Relapse prevention training
At San Antonio Recovery Center, friendly therapists help people like you overcome substance abuse problems. They’ll customize a treatment plan that considers your individual needs and goals. Why suffer when there’s help around the corner? Contact San Antonio Recovery Center online or call us at 866.957.7885 now for immediate assistance.