Both legal and illicit substances carry the potential for abuse, as do many prescription medications. The prevalence of addiction may make you wonder how to stop drug abuse. The only way to prevent an addiction is to avoid all psychoactive substances. When you do begin exhibiting signs of dependency, early treatment is the best way to ensure you fully recover before symptoms become severe.
With 1 out of 7 Americans developing a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime and nearly half of all Americans having a close friend or family member with an addiction, substance abuse is a widespread and common problem. Addiction is a progressive and chronic disease that doesn’t discriminate. There also isn’t a known cause, meaning that medical professionals and scientists don’t know why only certain people develop an addiction after using a psychoactive substance.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is considered a mental health disease that impacts the way you think, feel, and act. Drugs and alcohol are powerful neurotransmitter inhibitors that force your brain to release more neurotransmitters than it should. Pleasurable neurotransmitters, like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, induce the positive emotions you experience during intoxication. However, when intoxication ends, you experience a drastic shortage of neurotransmitters that’s responsible for cravings and mood changes.
Your brain associates your substance of choice, as well as people, places, and things that remind you of it, with pleasure. This association alters your pleasure and reward center, as your brain rewards drug use and punishes abstinence by controlling the release of neurotransmitters. Regularly abusing drugs and alcohol can lead to your brain and body becoming dependent on your substance of choice to function.
There are two types of addiction: psychological and physical. Symptoms of both kinds of addiction are similar, with the exception that a psychological dependency doesn’t lead to your body becoming dependent on your substance of choice. That means only physical dependencies cause severe withdrawal symptoms, which are difficult to overcome without help from a substance abuse treatment center.
How to Stop Drug Abuse
While complete abstinence is the only way to prevent addiction, the reality is millions of Americans use substances like marijuana, alcohol, and opiates every day. Understanding how to stop drug abuse requires knowing that nobody plans to develop a substance abuse disorder. Another important thing to understand when considering how to stop drug abuse is that many people struggling with an addiction deny they have a problem.
Concealing and hiding your substance use is a common sign of addiction, which can make it hard to learn how to stop drug abuse. Besides improving education about the risks associated with substance use, making sure that you or a loved one receives addiction treatment is the best way to lower addiction and substance abuse rates.
Because addiction is a chronic disease, it gets worse the longer you avoid treatment and some symptoms last for the remainder of your life. That makes it quintessential to connect with an inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment center if you’re struggling to control or stop your substance use.
Substance abuse treatment programs can offer:
- Evidence-based treatments, like cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy
- Medically supervised detox services
- Sober living arrangements
- Holistic therapies, like mindfulness meditation
- Dual diagnosis programs
Inpatient programs offer the highest level of care, offering a structured and supportive residential setting that ensures you have constant access to members of your treatment team.
Finding Help Today
Understanding how to stop drug abuse requires understanding that treatment for addiction is necessary for recovery. Symptoms can continue to last long after your last use, which is why treatment programs provide you with the tools, skills, and guidance you need to manage cravings, triggers, and stressors.
If you or a loved one is trying to think about how to stop substance abuse, reach out to us today at 888.986.7848 to find out more about our programs and your treatment options.