Substance Use Disorder
Substance abuse refers to the harmful use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and drugs. Substance use can lead to addiction and dependence, creating a condition in which the body requires a drug in order to function without physical and psychological reactions to its absence. Persistent and repeated substance use typically leads to a strong desire to take the drug, difficulty in controlling its use, and persisting in its use despite harmful consequences.
People can experience addiction to substances, as well has behaviors such as gambling, sex, or engaging in extreme situations. Addiction can quickly take over a person’s life and can become more important than the need to eat or sleep, replacing things that the person used to enjoy. There is a strong correlation between substance abuse/addiction and mental illness, often referred to as a Dual Diagnosis. More than half of the people with addiction issues also experience mental health issues, as they affect the same parts of the brain.
Treatment approaches vary, and choosing the appropriate type depends on the severity and addiction itself. Treatment can include support groups, harm reduction and safer use, psychotherapy, medication, spiritual and indigenous practices, and holistic approaches.