10 Things Doctors Wish Addicts Knew About Drug Abuse

The consequences of addiction are devastating and can change the trajectory of a person’s life forever. Many doctors see how addiction tears families apart and breaks loved one’s hearts. Below are ten facts about addiction that your doctor wishes they could tell you.

10 Facts on Addiction:

1. Addiction Kills

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated that in 2019 over 70,000 Americans died due to drug overdoses. The rate of illegal substance use has remained steady over the years, while the overdose rate of prescription drugs has skyrocketed. As numbers continue to increase year over year, addiction is a deadly killer that doesn’t discriminate.

2. Addiction is for Life

While sobriety is achievable, addiction isn’t a curable disease. The healthcare system has many tools such as rehab facilities, recovery professionals, and support groups; being an addict means living in a state of remission. It’s not uncommon for an individual to go through several rounds of rehab before they reach sobriety. 

As the recovery process has multiple phases such as detox, moving to inpatient treatment, outpatient care, and finally specially designed aftercare programs, recovery’ becomes a daily commitment. Recovery is always possible, no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been using.

3. Your Brain will Change

Addiction physically changes the brain. The fact is repeated drug or alcohol use permanently rewires your brain. Substance abuse ravages the areas of the brain which look after how you respond to rewards, decision-making, and impulse control.

4.  Experimentation is Risky

Those who can dabble in recreational drug use and never become addicted or enter rehab are considered the fortunate ones. This lucky bunch faces little to no personal consequences for their drug experimentation. They never have to enter recovery or become a frequent patient healthcare system for possibly overdosing

The other side of the coin is that the unlucky individuals who experiment with drugs in alcohol face a life of substance use disorders and rehab for their entire lives. The factors that can lead to addiction include a family history of addiction issues, mental health issues, traumatic experiences, and your home life.

5. Different Drugs Need Different Treatment

For some drug addictions, a combination of treatment types is needed, such as heroin or opioid narcotics, which require a mix of medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy sessions. Recovery professionals need to use medications and therapy sessions to fight against the addiction’s physical and behavioural hold over the patient.

6. Drug Abuse Hurts Your Health

In the United States healthcare system, substance use disorders factor into developing different diseases such as cancer, heart disease, blood-borne illnesses like HIV and AIDS and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.

7. The Prescription Drug Epidemic

Over the last several years, addiction problems relating to prescription drugs have risen and show no signs of slowing down. The United States represents about 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for over 75 percent of the world’s prescription drug addiction.

8. Parents Have “The Talk”

Some parents feel that talking to their children about substance use and addiction has little to no effect. This assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. Evidence shows that having “the talk,” 50 percent of children who did talk avoided any drug experimentation entirely.

9. Drug Abuse is Preventable 

The US National Library of Medicine estimates that many drug abuse cases are easily preventable, as the epidemic of overdose deaths is happening now. Prevention programs in schools, communities, and at home with parents promote education on the effects of addiction and substance use. 

The combination of having a drug addiction and mental health issues is widespread, typically referred to as a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis disorder needs treatment at a proper rehab facility, where recovery professionals can manage both conditions.

Aspen can Help

Taking the first step into treatment for drugs or alcohol dependence can be scary if done alone. Let our team of medical professionals and recovery experts guide you as you begin to learn how to handle the stressors of a sober life. Our team is ready to help you every step of your road to recovery and to help change your life for the better. Contact the team at Aspen Behavioral Health to learn how we can help.


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