Substance abuse is a chronic mental health condition affecting almost 21 million Americans. The substances people tend to abuse the most include alcohol, prescription opioid medications, or recreational drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
Substance use can oftentimes occur together with other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Let’s talk about some key facts surrounding substance abuse, and where you can go throughout Virginia for help so you can conquer your addictions.
Substances Most Often Abused
Alcohol is the most frequently abused drug, largely because it is legal for most adults to use. Some other common substances include:
- Prescription medications, such as opioids, stimulants, or anxiety pills
What Causes Substance Abuse?
Many factors come into play when evaluating the cause of someone’s substance abuse problem. Factors can include:
- Environmental stressors
- Social pressures
- Personality traits
- Mental health problems
Deciding what constitutes substance abuse per se remains controversial because public law determines what kind of drug use is legal or illegal.
What Are the Symptoms of Addiction?
Signs of substance abuse can vary from person to person, but they do often share a common theme. Symptoms of substance abuse and addiction may include:
- Continually wanting or unsuccessfully trying to cut down on drugs or alcohol
- Using or drinking a larger amount than planned
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from taking drugs or alcohol
- Drugs or alcohol interferes with work, school, or relationships
- Taking risks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Having a craving or strong desire to use the substance(s) of choice
- Developing a high tolerance to drugs or alcohol, or the need to use more to get the same effect
- Having withdrawal symptoms
- Reducing or quitting activities because of drug or alcohol use
What Are the Risks and Consequences of Substance Abuse?
Taking substances in excess can lead to different physical and mental health problems. People who are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can harm themselves or others.
Some people engage in risky behavior when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, such as having unprotected sex. This can lead to becoming infected with communicable diseases. Also, sharing needles with other substance abusers can spread infections, such as hepatitis.
Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol also experience depression and anxiety. They may use substances as a coping mechanism or use them to help mask their feelings. However, this can lead to further mental health problems if the addiction is not treated properly. People who abuse substances are more likely to die of suicide or accidents than people who don’t abuse substances.
Does Treatment Really Work for Substance Abuse Addictions?
The goal of treatment for substance abuse is to detox off the substance in a safe and effective way. This is usually done in a hospital or residential care setting.
These places usually offer individual, group, and family therapy sessions to help the addict understand the nature of the substance abuse and to help the person get better. Once discharged, self-help groups and sponsors can help the person prevent relapses.
Treatment will only work in people who want to get better and are motivated to change their behavior. If others (such as family members) “send” the person to a treatment facility, the effects are likely to be very temporary.
Substance Abuse Treatment in Richmond, VA
If you need help with conquering substance abuse or addiction, come see us at Epic Health Partners. We have an outpatient-based program to help with moderate to severe substance abuse, and our program focuses on wellness, recovery, and better-coping skills for dealing with the various issues of life.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call us at one of our offices nearest to you. We have three convenient locations in Richmond, Martinsville, and Danville. You can also fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you get better.