Five Things You Should Know About Substance Abuse

In the world we live in, there are many misconceptions about substance abuse. Most people choose to turn a blind eye unless they or their loved ones are involved in it. However, the main problem with this issue is that it can happen to anyone at any time. There are different reasons why people turn to substance abuse, though there are several important facts that you must keep in mind at all times.

Here are several bits of information that will help you better understand this behavior and everything it entails:

  • It is not a choice it is an illness

Most people are still under the impression that addiction is a choice. It is not – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) recognizes substance disorders from 10 classes of drugs. The local police in Gloucester, Massachusetts has even asked addicts to surrender to them if they need help. Other countries like the Netherlands and Portugal have a similar drug policy that has worked to great success.

  • It changes the brain composition

It goes without saying that drugs and alcohol have addictive properties. However, it is important to discuss what actually happens to a person who constantly uses it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that it is difficult to stop using it because the nervous system has been conditioned to want more of it. Licensed mental health programs for those dealing with addictions will help, though it will still be challenging. Regardless, keep in mind that solving it is not only a matter of willpower.

  • Mental health and substance abuse are often linked

The two might not necessarily have a cause-effect relationship, though they are considered to be comorbid conditions. One might trigger the other and early occurrence in a person increases the risk later in life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the two share overlapping factors like early exposure to stress or trauma, genetic vulnerabilities, and underlying brain deficits.

  • Some users consider it self-medication

Self-medication is what they call when a person tries to handle their mental health problems with the use of drugs and/or alcohol. People sometimes turn to these substances instead of seeking professional help. While they make the user feel good for some time, the underlying issues remain present. Due to the nature of drugs, time will only make them crave more of the substance to achieve the same results.

  • Tolerance buildup can lead to overdoses

With continuous use, the individual becomes less stimulated by the same amount of drug. This prompts users to start using a higher dosage to reach the same high. While the person might not feel the effects like before, it is still harmful to the body. It goes into an overdose when one consumes a dose it cannot handle. It is important to note that it can happen during the first time.


A lot of people suffer from misinformation about this important topic. Regardless, substance abuse affects every aspect of an individual’s life. Often, it results in destroyed relationships, ruined finances, and serious health issues. It is difficult to quit, though it is not at all impossible. If you or your loved ones suffer from substance abuse, a professional will help find the best treatment option there is.

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