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Learn about Substance Use Disorder

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Which Treatment Option is Right for You?

In the words of Gabor Maté, famed author on the topic of addiction, “Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience.” So, the question we must pose is “Not why the addiction but why the pain.” One of many areas of exploration during treatment for substance use disorders (SUD), particularly when utilizing behavioral health therapies, one of several options available. Treatment begins in your doctor’s office. While you may picture someone checking into a secluded treatment center as the primary (or only) option for substance use disorders, times are changing. In the past, people sought substance use treatment at specialty centers and speciality centers alone. Today, treatment options are more diverse—even available online, over the phone, or in your local doctor’s office. These more accessible options allow people to get help before the SUD progresses, and to receive treatment without delay.  Easier access to treatment services allows for early-on intervention, while the patient's symptoms remain mild to moderate. This is one of the biggest reasons mainstream healthcare settings now include screening for such disorders, proving most effective among mild severity alcohol use disorders. That being said, a primary care provider can only offer so much support for someone struggling with substance use. When it comes to severe cases of any SUD, experts advise specialty treatment.     …
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Substance Use Disorders 101

Substance use disorders are, well, complicated. Each example made unique by the substance itself and the person dependent on it. Every statistic represents the distinct narrative of another person’s journey into a disorder now deemed a disease, and their level of desire to stay there. The cases themselves may be unique, though they are becoming all too common. The latest data shows 1 in 12 adults have a substance use disorder. Defining the substance use disorder. In the realm of substance use disorders (SUD), the substance itself is a mind-altering chemical compound. When used inappropriately, the chemical effects can harm one’s mental and physical health. It also changes social interactions, the extent of which will range dramatically. On the extreme end, you will find excessive usage and severe addiction. Even the risk for addiction varies by substance, changing the rate at which you may become addicted. Some, such as opioid painkillers, present a higher risk and cause addiction more rapidly than others. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) breaks down substance use disorders into three levels of severity, mild, moderate, or severe. Further defining the disorder as a medical illness, one of habitual use of an intoxicating substance. Once the addiction interferes with daily life activities, the disorder will be scored using 11 different diagnostic criteria to determine the level of the SUD. The criterion can also be helpful for loved ones trying t…
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Substance Use or Mental Illness, Which Comes First?

The fact that substance use is more common among adults with mental health issues makes sense when you consider addiction expert Jean Kilbourne’s words. “Addiction begins with the hope that something "out there" can instantly fill up the emptiness inside.” On that note, how likely is it we are all addicted to something? Whether to food, sex, or drugs, status, money, or praise. Choosing to use our unhealthy habits to fill up our emptiness inside, to cover up our emotions. Choosing to numb out rather than reach out. If that is the case, what would happen if we took time to dig deep to identify the cause of our emptiness, perhaps we could begin to heal. Absolving the desire to escape into our addictions and also resolving the internal turmoil of mental illness. Perhaps lowering the statistics of substance use we are seeing today.     The data Data from 2018 finds 57.8 million American adults are living with a mental and/or substance use disorder (SUD). Broken down further, 47.6 million have a mental illness, 19.3 million are facing substance abuse, and 9.2 million adults are living with both. Among adolescents, at least 358,000 have a SUD together with depression. Numbers trending upward well before the pandemic. As mental health continues to take a major toll in the time of COVID-19, it seems logical to assume substance use disorders will also ascend. Current results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), indicates rates o…
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