Chances are, someone you know has been affected by substance abuse. Whether you’ve battled it yourself or have watched a friend, family member or co-worker slip into the grips of addiction, substance abuse is a growing problem in the United States that affects more than 20 million adults each year. Addiction can be hard to recognize, however, and occasional or recreational use can escalate quickly into something more serious. It’s even harder to know what to do if a loved one needs help, but one way we can feel better equipped to deal with substance abuse is by identifying the signs, symptoms and treatments available. Keep reading to learn more.
Substance abuse is a harmful pattern of drug or alcohol use with the goal of getting high. Although pleasurable at the time, desired effects like euphoria diminish as tolerance increases, and users are often left chasing a high that leads to cravings, dependency and addiction. Once addiction sets in, chemical changes in the brain transform drug or alcohol use into a compulsive behavior that is difficult to overcome despite the negative consequences. In this way, what begins for many as curiosity or a temporary escape becomes necessary to simply get through the day, overshadowing everything else in their life.
As addiction deepens, it exerts a powerful influence on those held under its spell, and those who were once bright, ambitious and caring people become consumed by it. This happens because prolonged substance use literally rewires the brain, releasing large amounts of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals that activate the pathways of pleasure, reward and motivation. Over time, the brain learns that drugs and alcohol are a shortcut to feeling good, and begins to send signals that demand more.
The most commonly abused substances are:
Like other chronic, life-threatening diseases, addiction is caused by a combination of biological, environmental and behavioral factors that increase a person’s risk factor. Some individuals may be more predisposed to addiction than others, but both legal and illicit substances can trigger chemical changes in the brain in people across all demographics. As the brain adapts to and then relies on a substance to function, it becomes more difficult for those affected to stop or decrease use without professional help.
Prolonged substance abuse and addiction not only affect the chemical balance within the brain but also create a number of mental, social and physiological symptoms that negatively impact one’s health and wellness. Because the effects of addiction vary depending on the individual, the substance used, length or frequency of use, and the route of administration, identifying the signs can be challenging. There are some commonalities to look out for if you suspect your loved one has a problem, however, including:
In addition to these symptoms, substance abuse can also cause serious short and long-term health problems in chronic users, including mental illness, memory loss, heart and liver disease, insomnia and cancer. These effects often worsen over time and the risk of death, overdose or permanent damage increases, making it crucial to get help as soon as possible. Addiction is a life-threatening disease that won’t get better or go away on its own, but recovery is possible with the right treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to contact Valiant Living today to learn more about our programs for men and how we can help.
Addiction is an extremely complex condition, and there is no magic pill or treatment that can cure it overnight. Overcoming addiction is one of the hardest things to do, but embarking on the journey to achieve a sober, fulfilling life is an incredibly rewarding experience. Effective treatments often include a combination of individual and group counseling, mental health care, emotional support and a variety of evidence-based therapies designed to promote a sober lifestyle and restore the health and wellness of those with a substance use disorder. While many programs offer this, true, lasting recovery requires an approach that does more, engaging with patients on a personal level to encourage meaningful progress and spark healing from within.
At Valiant Living, our goal is to do just that. By providing a safe space where men can step back from the pressures of daily life and develop the skills they need to sustain long-term recovery, we help them break the cycle of substance abuse and heal from addiction in a powerful way. With programming that also digs deep to promote personal growth and address any underlying issues, our therapeutic approach looks at the whole person and encompasses each individual’s mental, physical and emotional needs for holistic healing. We’ve seen time and again how a stable, supportive environment in early recovery can improve the long-term success of treatment, so we provide therapeutic services from start to finish that include:
We also provide transitional services to help men maintain their sobriety as they move back into the real world, allowing them to practice their recovery skills with the ongoing support and guidance of their treatment team. There is more to recovery than getting sober, however, so our programs go above and beyond to help patients explore the dimensions of wellness and rediscover the purpose, meaning and balance that addiction took from them.
At Valiant Living near Denver in Centennial, Colorado, we provide recovery services for men struggling with addiction. Our programs provide a safe, recovery-oriented environment that helps patients feel supported as they navigate the path to recovery. If you or someone you love has a problem with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out for help today. Contact or call us at 303-816-3571 to learn more.
For the first time in a long time I feel hope and have peace… Through the program, I have received encouragement, support and above all a plan for recovery!!
Our programs offer tested paths to a happy you and a better life!