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Substance Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction are a problem for millions of Americans. It’s been estimated that almost one-tenth of the population of the US has or is recovering from a substance addiction. These addictions don’t just affect the addict- they affect their entire family, their jobs, their friends, and especially their health. The reasons that substance addiction happen are almost as varied as the people that have the problems. Some people can occasionally indulge but many cannot. It is very hard for a person with a substance addiction to quit on their own, and some do not stop until it kills them.

Most times the addict knows very well that the substance they are addicted to is harmful, but they don’t have the means or the self-control to stop themselves. Almost all addicts are in some form of denial, and if you’ve watched much reality TV, you might think that an “intervention” is always the answer. Sadly, that’s not always the case- for a person to really get help for a substance addiction, they have to WANT to get help.

Why do people get addicted to things that they know are bad for them? The reasons are as different as the people are. Some people drink, smoke, or do drugs to have a bit of an escape from the stress of daily life, and when the problem that has caused the stress has been dealt with, they will keep right on doing it and a substance addiction will result.

Some people get addicted to substances that were originally prescribed by a doctor. Depressants like Valium and Xanax are particularly addictive because of the “rush” they give, and people continue to take them after they are no longer needed. Prescription substance addiction is as big a problem as illicit drug use, and teenagers are especially at risk. For them, these drugs are often readily accessible or even prescribed. No matter how the drugs are obtained, substance addiction is a serious and deadly problem.

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People sometimes become addicted to substances because of boredom, or to fit in with their peers, or like we said earlier, to deal with stress or a traumatic incident. Unfortunately, the “escape” provided by the substance ends up creating a lot more problems than it solves. The substance addict will use, then get depressed, then use even more.

It’s a vicious cycle that cannot end without medical intervention.

When a person decides to finally seek help for a substance addiction, there are plenty of programs (like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and various drug rehabilitation centers) to help them start out on the road to recovery. It is difficult to beat a substance addiction, but it’s not impossible.

Drug Enforcement Agnecy (DEA) – http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/index.htm
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) – http://www.samhsa.gov/
National Institue of Health (NIH) – http://www.nih.gov/

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