If you’re suffering from addiction, alcoholism or a substance abuse disorder, you’re far from alone. Nearly 20 million Americans ages 12 and older met the criteria for a substance use disorder in 2017, with 20.7 million Americans total needing substance abuse treatment. Even though addiction is widespread, only 2.5 million people needing substance use disorder treatment received help.

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can have fatal consequences, as lethal overdoses have become the number one killer among Americans young than 50. A substance use disorder can also cause damage to your physical health, cognition, and relationships. The earlier a substance use disorder is treated, the more likely you are to fully recover, making early treatment essential.

substance use disorder, man in hoodie with face in arms on tableWhat is a Substance Use Disorder?

Addiction is defined as compulsively abusing drugs or alcohol despite experiencing negative consequences and having a desire to quit. Addiction can also impair your judgment, alter your brain chemistry, and cause organ damage. Since your liver is responsible for filtering impurities like drugs and alcohol, when you have a substance use disorder you are at an increased risk of suffering liver damage.

When you have a substance use disorder, your brain’s pleasure and reward center changes because it connects your substance of choice with pleasure. Whenever you use, your brain releases a rush of neurotransmitters. When the effects of intoxication end, you are left with a significant neurotransmitter depletion, which is why you feel a “come-down,” or hangover effect when you sober up.

During addiction, your tolerance to your substance of choice increases, meaning you have to constantly increase your use in order to feel the same pleasurable effects. This can cause you to spend excessive amounts of money on your substance of choice, which can create financial problems such as unpaid bills and mounting debt. A substance use disorder can also cause:

  • Diminished quality of life
  • Employment problems
  • Damage to your marriage, friendships, and familial relationships
  • Housing instability
  • Legal problems

How is a Substance Use Disorder Treated?

Because addiction is an incurable and progressive condition, treatment is necessary so you can learn how to manage your symptoms and remain clean and sober. When you decide you’re ready to begin the recovery process, you can choose to attend an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. An inpatient program is residential, meaning that you remain on campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Inpatient and residential treatment offers the highest level of care, which is great if you have a co-occurring disorder, severe addiction, or multiple attempts at treatment.

Outpatient programs can meet anywhere from every day of the week to three days a week, depending on your needs. Both inpatient and outpatient substance use disorder treatment can offer:

  • Experiential and holistic therapies
  • Evidence-based treatments
  • Medication management and detox services
  • Dual diagnosis programs

During recovery from a substance use disorder, it’s important to remember that it takes time to heal. It’s common to neglect your physical, emotions, and spiritual needs during active addiction. If you have a co-occurring condition, treatment offers you the opportunity to address your physical and mental health. Thus, making it easier to recover. Treatment also helps prepare you for life after discharge. Learning how to handle cravings, triggers, and stress can limit your risk of relapsing.

Finding Treatment at Right Step Houston

If you are battling addiction, you can feel cornered, trapped, and alone. Regardless of how long you’ve struggled, recovery is always possible. Reaching out for help is the first step in regaining control over your life. Call Right Step Houston today at 1.844.768.0169 to find out more about our programs or to discuss your treatment options.