The Basics of Substance Abuse

A 12 step program to lead you on the road to recovery is just one of the rehabilitation options for substance abuse. Drug treatment can be highly effective and with our approach to substance abuse treatment, you can bring your life back on track when you turn to White River Recovery, a rehab in South Africa, for assistance.

***

As society increasingly depends on all kinds of substances to get through the day, the issue of substance abuse is often not that far from the mind. For many people, the question of how one becomes addicted to drugs, both prescription and recreational, is something that is not easily answered, because it is not easily understood.

Drug addiction has nothing to do with a lack of moral principles, and it has even less to do with a person having a weak character. Even the strongest, most stable people have fallen victim to drug usage. When this happens, people don’t need judgement, they need help.

Drugs have a nasty habit of altering the way that the brain works. When a person decides it’s time to quit using, they generally find that a strong will and the intention to get clean simply doesn’t work.

facility-1

This is why beating an addiction is a painful process and it requires the help of a dedicated and professional rehabilitation centre.

What is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is actually a type of chronic illness, and once you have been diagnosed with having an addiction you might find that you have a life long struggle ahead of you. This is not to say you will always be addicted to a substance, but it does mean that you will always be aware that the illness can reoccur.

Seeking out your substance of choice and using it in a compulsive manner that is difficult or even impossible to control, despite knowing the dangerous consequences, sums up addiction.

The vast majority of first time users voluntarily take the drug. One time use very rarely results in an addiction. Addiction is the repeated use to chase that good feeling, which ends up changing the brain and creating a compulsive desire for the drug.

Before you know it, you’re hooked, whether you like it or not.

gardens of white river recovery which offers a 12 step program and rehabilitation of substance abuse

The story doesn’t end here though.

The brain’s persistent desire for that drug is what causes relapses and it is this desire that every addict will have to battle. But this is one fight you can win when you have made up your mind to quit drugs and seek professional help.

What really happens to your brain?

Most drugs will create a feeling of euphoria. Your brain is flooded with the feel good chemical dopamine and your brain gets stuck in a loop around the desire for more dopamine. The longer you remain on the drug, and the more dopamine your brain creates, the more damage you end up doing. The cells that create dopamine gradually become less efficient and this is when you begin to develop a tolerance to the specific dosage you’ve been using.

Over a long period of using, you’ll end up damaging certain vital brain functions such as behaviour, decision-making, stress, judgement, learning and memory.

How do you know when you are addicted?

Is it an addiction or a past time that you can stop whenever you want to? Answer this question and you will know whether or not you are addicted to a substance. A good point to make is that it is not only substances that can be addictive. PC games, food and even sex can become a problem when you develop an unyielding, compulsive need for them.

These 10 signs can be used to self-assess whether or not you have a problem:

  1. Unbearable cravings
  2. Withdrawal symptoms when you stop using.
  3. Engaging in risky behaviour, both when high and when craving drugs.
  4. Financial issues due to the drug usage.
  5. Having relationships with those who encourage usage.
  6. Physical dependence on the substance
  7. Neglecting your responsibilities.
  8. Isolating yourself and becoming anti-social.
  9. Doing anything you can to get drugs, even if put yourself at risk.
  10. Developing a tolerance to your usual dosage.

Whether you only have a few of these signs or all of them, the best thing you can do is seek help from an accredited, professional drug rehab centre.

Assessing the Real Problem

There are about 3 reasons why people become dependent on a substance:

  • Environmental
  • Biology
  • Developmental
Environmental

For some people, the biggest reason why they develop an addiction is that they want to use the substance to masks serious, underlying problems. It is a “cure” for your current state of mind, or troubling circumstances in your life, but it will never fix the problem. In fact, drug usage is itself a symptom of a much bigger problem.

It’s a quick solution to stop thinking about and caring about life’s problems. But as with anything, the longer you run from your problems, the bigger the problem becomes. Generally, this reason for using drugs falls under the category of environmental causes.

Biology

Sometimes the cause lies in your makeup, and there isn’t much you can do about it but fight the urge and not indulge in the temptation. A genetic makeup predisposed to addiction alongside a mental illness creates the perfect storm. This reason for addiction can be tougher to beat.

Developmental

Taking drugs at any age can become a deadly habit. But research has shown that when youth take drugs, it can hamper development and result in a lifetime of drug dependency. In a nutshell, taking drugs as a teenager can result in a lifetime of taking drugs.

A life spent hooked on drugs is a life wasted. A good time to start substance abuse treatment was probably yesterday, but the best time to start your 12 step program is right now because right now you are ready to take the steps that will define your recovery. White River Recovery offers the best rehabilitation options for substance abuse.