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Substance Use Disorder: What Is It and How It Can Be Treated

Substance use disorder is a condition that results when someone uses drugs or alcohol in a manner that harms their health or social relationships. Substance use disorder can be treated, but it requires commitment and hard work. Treatment options include detoxification, behavioral therapy, and medication.

Substance Use Disorder

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is a condition that results from using drugs or alcohol in a manner that harms one’s health or social relationships. It is important to note that substance use disorder is different from addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use despite harmful consequences. 

While someone with an addiction may be able to control their use for a period of time, they will eventually relapse. In contrast, someone with substance use disorder may be able to abstain from drugs or alcohol for long periods of time, but they are not considered to be in recovery until they have made significant changes to their lifestyle and no longer misuse substances.

There are many clinics that offer substance use disorder treatment. The type of clinic and the treatment it offers will depend on the person’s individual needs. For example, if you live in California you can look for Southern California addiction treatment centers online or in your local yellow pages. Keep in mind that not all clinics are the same. Some may offer detoxification services while others may not. It is important to find a clinic that offers the type of treatment you need.

Causes and Risk Factors 

There is no single cause of substance use disorder, but there are certain risk factors that can predispose someone to develop the condition. These include:

• Genetic disposition: Some people are more genetically prone to addiction than others. This may be due to a combination of factors, including brain chemistry and family history.

• Mental health disorders: People with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder are more likely to develop substance use disorders.

Stressful life events: Traumatic life events such as abuse, neglect, or the death of a loved one can increase the risk of developing substance use disorder.

• Peer pressure: People who associate with others who use drugs or alcohol are more likely to develop substance use disorders.

Symptoms 

The symptoms of substance use disorder will vary depending on the person and the substances they are misusing. However, there are some common signs that someone may be struggling with the condition, including:

• using more of the substance than intended

• unsuccessful attempts to quit using the substance

• spending a lot of time using the substance or recovering from its effects

• neglecting work, school, or other responsibilities in order to use the substance

• losing interest in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed

• continuing to use the substance despite negative consequences

Additionally, people with substance use disorder often exhibit changes in their behavior, such as:

• irritability

• secrecy

• mood swings

• isolation

Keep in mind that not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will develop substance use disorder. 

Treatment 

Substance use disorder is a treatable condition. However, it requires commitment and hard work. Treatment options include detoxification, behavioral therapy, and medication.

For example, detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of the toxins associated with the substance. This can be done through a variety of methods, including:

• tapering off use of the substance gradually

• going cold turkey and stopping use immediately

• using medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms

Behavioral therapy is another treatment option. This type of therapy can help people identify and change the behaviors that contribute to their substance use. Common types of behavioral therapy include:

• cognitive-behavioral therapy

• contingency management

• motivational enhancement therapy

Medication can also be used to treat substance use disorder. Medication can help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. Commonly used medications include:

• methadone

• buprenorphine

• naltrexone

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available to those who need them. Remember, recovery is possible.

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a serious condition that can have negative consequences on all aspects of a person’s life. However, it is treatable. There are many options for treatment, including detoxification, behavioral therapy, and medication. With the right support, recovery is possible. The bottom line is that if you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available.