4 Best Ways to Educate Yourself About Addiction

Addiction does not always affect people the same way. Some people effectively hide addictions from employers and family members while still showing subtle signs, while other people can have such difficulty controlling their cravings and withdrawal symptoms that everyone knows they are addicts. However, you can identify the disease in time to get help if you know the signs of addiction, such as unexplained emotional outbursts and sudden trouble performing at school or work. You may wonder if you drink too much or you may fear that a loved one is struggling with a substance problem—such worries are easy to dismiss unless a wealth of information shows that the concerns are grounded in reality.

Medical Sources

Medical groups, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Medical Association, offer information about the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. While insurers and some people in the medical community once treated addiction and other mental health disorders separately, insurers must now offer coverage of mental health and medical/surgical benefits at the same level. This new standard of care makes addiction treatment available to more people while it also encourages more research on the disease.

People who suffer with addiction display a combination of physical and mental symptoms. Because many of these people feel a sense of stigma and shame about substance abuse problems, they may hide their drug use with different ways to cover their symptoms. However, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, someone who struggles with a substance abuse problem may exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Physical changes, including bloodshot eyes, shakes or tremors, unusual weight loss or gain and nose bleeds
  • Recent trouble at school or work, such as lost friendships or a new set of friends as well as aggressive or withdrawn behavior
  • Strange behaviors, such as hyperactivity, extreme lack of motivation and unreasonable periods of fear, anxiousness or paranoia

Any significant change in a person’s physical or mental health is worth more investigation. Also, addiction is more easily treated when caught in its early stages.

Scientific Sources

Groundbreaking research that monitors the brain through neuroimaging techniques offers a more complete picture about the way people experience the disease of addiction. Academic and other scientific institutions catalog symptoms and discover better treatment methods to help future generations avoid addiction. According to a journal article in Reviews in the Neurosciences, techniques such as positron emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography show how addictive drugs damage brain circuits related to reward and impulsivity. Furthermore, research from Harvard University indicates that all addictions are due to a similar process in the brain. Knowing how addiction develops in the brain gives the medical community more information about treatments that can repair brain circuits. Many counseling techniques help the brain form new connections that restore normal function.

Government Sources

Government organizations like the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) track national trends of drug and alcohol use; they also research ways to manage the disease for individuals and society as a whole. The latest SAMHSA statistics show that 21.6 million people (8.2 percent of the US population) meet the definition for substance dependence or abuse, while only 2.5 million received treatment in a specialized facility, which is only 11 percent of people who needed help.

Understanding the prevalence of addiction and the need for widespread treatment is a good way to see the reality of addiction in the US. As more people understand that addiction is a brain disease that responds to treatment, much of the shame and stigma associated with the disease can be conquered.

Blogs and Personal Accounts

The actual experience of a person who lives in recovery is significant. Hearing the way someone first comes in contact with drugs and then overcomes the physical and psychological pull to take these substances is a powerful experience. Such stories also show the unique ways that addiction affects people, as well as the universal strategies people can use to overcome this devastating problem.

Help Finding Addiction Treatment

The more you know about this disease, the easier it is for you to get people the help they need. Addiction is a chronic disease that requires physical and psychological treatments for the best possible outcomes. While there is no single method for treating addiction, many evidence-based treatments offer excellent outcomes and reduce the chances of relapse. The best treatment methods must be tailored to each person’s needs, but all users benefit from services that teach coping skills and ways to avoid relapse.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, then give our admissions coordinators a call. Our staff are available 24 hours a day at a toll-free helpline to offer advice on the best treatment options available. With a number of addiction treatment options available, there is no excuse to avoid help, so call now for instant, professional support.