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Drug Abuse Information

Defining Substance Use Disorder & Treatment Options

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed death certificates to come up with the estimate for 2020 drug overdose deaths.   The estimation of over 93,000 interprets to an average of more than 250 deaths each day, or roughly 11 deaths every hour.  Therefore, we should be ready to acknowledge this problem if we or someone we love suffers from drug addiction.  Drug abuse information is now available from different sources.  The decision for us to acknowledge this condition is a step to commence addiction treatment.

Substance abuse can pose significant threats to wellness, happiness, stability, and health.  The more you know about drug addiction, the better positioned you are to both recognize and adequately cope with signs of addiction in those you love – or in yourself.

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Substance Use Disorders (SUD)

Chemical addiction can be critical to talk about because there’s often confusion around what develops substance misuse, dependency, and addiction. This is partly why the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) advises using the term “substance use disorder” or SUD.

This classification includes more diagnostic criteria to help healthcare professionals distinguish between mild, moderate, and severe cases. Many experts also prefer it because it avoids terms like “abuse,” which can further stigmatize addiction and deter people from seeking help.

SUD Common Symptoms

  • Cravings intense enough to affect your ability to think about other things
  • A need to use more of the substance to experience the same effects
  • Unease or discomfort if you can’t easily access the substance
  • Risky substance use, like driving or working while using it
  • Trouble managing work, school, or household responsibilities because of substance use
  • Friendship or relationship difficulties related to substance use
  • Spending less time on activities, you used to enjoy
  • An inability to stop using the substance
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit

Common Addictive Drugs

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Drug Abuse or “Addiction”

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine,  [1]  addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.”  Addiction can be characterized by numerous physical and psychological signs, which often include:

  • An inability to abstain from use for a prolonged time
  • Impaired behavioral controls; addicted individuals will violate social norms to seek out the subject of addiction.
  • Diminished recognition of problematic actions, especially in interpersonal situations
  • Inappropriate or dysfunctional behavior

While addiction exists in many forms, drug and alcohol addiction are among the most common.  Due to the multifaceted nature of these illicit substances, addiction tends to have both physical and psychological components;   creating an entanglement or a cycle of dependency from which it can be challenging to escape.

Addiction is a lot like other diseases, such as heart disease.  Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of an organ in the body, both have serious harmful effects, and both are, in many cases, preventable and treatable.  If left untreated, they can last a lifetime and may lead to death.  [2]

 Why are People Abusing Drugs?

Drugs can offer intense feelings of pleasure.  This initial euphoria is followed by other effects, which vary from the type of drug used.  For instance, with stimulants such as cocaine, the euphoria is followed by feelings of power, self-confidence, and boosted energy.  In contrast, the euphoria caused by opioids such as heroin is followed by feelings of relaxation and satisfaction.

Some people who grieve from social anxiety, stress, and depression start using drugs to feel less anxious.  Stress can play a significant role in initiating and continuing drug use and relapse in patients recovering from addiction.

Some people feel pressure to improve their focus in school or at work or their abilities in sports.  This can play a role in trying or continuing to use drugs, such as prescription stimulants or cocaine.

Teens are particularly at risk of using drugs due to hostile surroundings because peer pressure can be extreme.  They can also be pushed by peer pressure to use illicit drugs.  Adolescence is a developmental period during which risk factors, such as peers who use drugs, may lead to substance use. And, early use may cause severe addiction until you become an adult and if left untreated, addiction can cause problematic life.

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The Long-Term Life Consequences

In the middle or later stages of an addiction, the adverse effects will be more permanent or have long-term consequences.  Unfortunately, someone with a severe addiction problem may allow, overlook, or trivialize these consequences in favor of continuing their habits.

Potential Consequences

  • Getting a transmissible disease, primarily through shared needles
  • Dropping out of school or getting poor grades
  • Broken relationships with friends and family
  • Loss of good status or tarnished reputation
  • Arrests or jail time
  • Eviction from the home or failed mortgage payments
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of parental rights
Drug Abuse Information
It’s time to tell your addiction to STOP.

Similar events can happen in the lives of people without an addiction problem.  But these can become more common when an addiction is present.  So before approaching someone, you think may have an addiction, determine if the problem results from a single event or a developing situation with the addiction.

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Drug Addiction Treatment

According to SAMHSA successful drug addiction treatment should have these steps:

  • Detoxification
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Medication (for opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addiction)
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
  • Medications and devices can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.

Behavioral Therapies Help Patients

  • Modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use
  • Increase healthy life skills
  • Persist with other forms of treatment, such as medication

At We Level Up New Jersey, we work hard to create an environment and uphold standards of care for the success of each client. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to learn more about overcoming addiction with our detox & addiction treatment program, and for further drug abuse information.

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[1] Definition of Addiction – American Society of Addiction Medicine
[2] Drug Misuse and Addiction – National Institute on Drug Abuse
[3] Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration