​Substance Use Disorder: What is it?

​Substance use disorder occurs when a person uses alcohol or another substance, i.e. a type of drug, and this causes problems at home, school, or work, as well as health issues. You will often hear this disorder called substance abuse. Read on to discover everything you need to know.

Commonly used substances

Some of the most commonly used substances, which can result in substance use disorder, include:

  • Phencyclidine (angel dust), psilocybin (mushrooms), mescaline, and LCD, which can cause a psychological addiction and hallucinations.
  • Depressants, which can reduce anxiety by causing drowsiness. They include paraldehyde, chloral hydrate, benzodiazepines (like Xanax and Valium), barbiturates, and alcohol.
  • Stimulates that are used to stimulate the nervous system and brain. This includes amphetamine and cocaine. Over time, a person can start needing higher doses to feel a similar impact.
  • Opiates and other narcotics that are powerful painkillers. This includes narcotic pain medicines, as well as codeine, opium, and heroin.

Causes of substance abuse

The exact cause of substance use disorder is not known. There are a number of factors that can contribute to this, including environmental stress, depression, anxiety, emotional distress, peer pressure, the action of the drug, and a person’s genes. Some who develop this disorder have mental health concerns, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit-disorder (ADD/ADHD), or depression. Low self-esteem and a chaotic or stressful lifestyle can also be contributing factors. Moreover, individuals who have grown up around drugs, for example, seen their parents use them, may be at a greater chance of suffering from substance use disorder.

The impact of substance use disorder

Substance use disorders can impact people in different ways. This depends on the drug, your reaction to it, and how it is delivered. Nevertheless, all misused drugs can have a negative impact on the brain, interfering with your ability to make choices. This is how addiction starts. Did you know that more than seven million people suffer from an illicit drug disorder? Not only this, but more disabilities, illnesses, and deaths are linked with drug abuse than any other preventable health condition. People suffering from alcohol or drug addiction also have a higher risk of domestic violence incidents, accidents, and unintentional injuries. That is without mentioning the negative impact on their social life and the changes in their personality, including paranoia and mood swings.

Treatment for substance abuse 

Treatment will depend on the nature of your substance abuse, for example, the substance you have been using, the extent of the use, and the impact it has had on your mind and body. The best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with a professional and they will be able to guide you through the right treatment for you. If you are suffering from substance use disorder, or you know someone who has an addiction to alcohol or drugs and you believe they need help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with High Desert Psychiatry. We provide care in a comforting environment, from a holistic perspective, and we have more than 15 years of experience in mental health. Let today be the beginning of a new you. ​