For many people substance misuse can have an impact on all aspects of their lives. Many people experiment with drugs or other substances for many differing reasons, curiosity, peer pressure, performance enhancement, or easing another problem such as stress, anxiety or depression. Using drugs or other substances does not automatically lead to abuse and addiction, just as there is no specific level at which substance use moves from casual to problematic, it varies with each individual. The consequences of substance abuse and addiction are more important than the quantities consumed.No matter how little or how often you are consuming, if your substance use is causing problems in your life be it at work, school, relationships, you may have a substance abuse or addiction problem.
Vulnerability to addiction varies from person to person, the same as many other conditions and diseases. Your genetic make-up, mental health, family and social environment all have their role to play in addiction. Some risk factors which may increase your vulnerability could include, but are not limited to, a family history of addiction, early use of drugs/alcohol, mental disorders (depression, anxiety), abuse, neglect, or other traumatic childhood experiences, smoking or injecting a drug may also increase the addictive potential.
Drug/alcohol abuse and addiction can develop in people who have experimented with drugs/alcohol and continue to use the substance as it makes them feel good or stops them feeling bad. There is a very fine line between regular use and abuse and addiction and few addicts can recognize when that line is crossed. Addiction hijacks the brain, each substance produces different physical effects, but all abused substances share one common factor: repeated use can alter the way the brain functions and perceives things. Surging levels of Dopamine in the brain trigger feelings of pleasure; the brain remembers those feelings and wants to repeat them.
If you are addicted to a substance it may become as important as other survival behaviours like eating and drinking. This uncontrollable craving to use whatever substance becomes more important than even family, friends, career, health, happiness. The mind finds many ways to rationalize or deny addiction/abuse. The quantity of substance being taken, the impact on life and the level of control over substance use, can all be drastically underestimated by the addict. Relating to someone who has an abuse or addiction issue has its own challenges and it is easy to get so caught up in someone else’s drug/substance problem that you neglect your own needs. Make sure you have people you can lean on for support and talk to, stay safe, don’t put yourself into dangerous situations.
There are many different forms of treatment for/research into addiction, including
See the articles submitted by VitalityLink.com practitioners for a wide variety of possible treatments and for some very diverse opinions on the treatment and healing of both abuse/addiction and of the causes that can contribute to abuse or addiction.