What is a substance abuse disorder?

Substance abuse disorder — sometimes referred to as addiction — is a complex brain disease that causes compulsive use of a substance despite increasingly harmful consequences. If you’re living with addiction, you have an intense focus on securing and using a substance such as alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances.

A substance abuse disorder may begin with a prescription or recreational use to feel good, improve performance, or relax. However, over time, your use of the substance triggers chemical changes in the regions of your brain that control your judgment, decisiveness, learning, memory, and impulse control.

Substance abuse can also change your neurotransmitters so that you develop a dependency on the substance to feel normal, let alone good. These factors combine to create uncontrollable cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and the compulsive desire to use alcohol or drugs.

What causes substance abuse disorders?

Anyone can develop a substance abuse disorder. However, psychiatrists and medical researchers don’t fully understand why some people develop substance abuse disorders while others don’t. It’s possible that your brain chemistry is more susceptible to addiction or that you are more likely to experience the brain mutations caused by extended substance abuse.

Your risk of developing a substance abuse disorder is higher if you have another mental health issue such as depression or anxiety, or if a member of your family struggles with addiction. Also, if you have a personal history of abuse, neglect, or poverty, you are more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder.

How are substance abuse disorders treated?

Substance abuse treatment combines a variety of treatment modalities. The team at LifeStance Health combines medication and therapy to help you recover and achieve and maintain sobriety.

Medications like Suboxone® or Antabuse® control your cravings and reduce your withdrawal symptoms so you can focus your energy on therapy. During individual and group therapy, you explore the underlying issues that contribute to your addiction. You work toward resolution and learn new strategies and techniques to cope with stress and other issues instead of substance abuse.

While substance abuse is a brain disorder, you have to want to recover, be willing to work with your team, and make the adjustments needed to change your life. The team at LifeStance Health supports you at every step of your journey.

Start your journey toward sobriety today. Call LifeStance Health or schedule a consultation online today.

More than 20 million Americans deal with a substance abuse disorder annually. If you’re struggling with addiction to alcohol, opiates, or other substances, the team at LifeStance Health, PLLC, in Friendswood, Texas, can help. They offer customized treatments and compassionate care to help you recover and lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Call LifeStance Health or book a consultation online today to start your journey toward sobriety.