Substance Use Disorder / Addiction 

Substance use disorder/addiction is a complex chronic dysfunction of the brain and body that impacts the way a person craves a substance. Addiction often leads to compulsive, obsessive, and consequential behavior in order to achieve a “reward.”

A wide range of substances can affect the brain, causing a pleasurable high and uncontrollable urges to achieve the high again. This is caused by a number of factors, including chemical imbalances in the brain and the brain’s reaction to rewards and gratification. Early exposure to addictive substances and genetics also increase the likelihood of behavioral addiction.

Symptoms of substance use disorder/addiction are usually related to a person’s inability to maintain self-control, this also includes poor assessments of the safety of substance use, increases in anxiety and depression, greater sensitivity to stresses and physical sensations, and other health-related conditions like insomnia and memory loss. Addiction also occurs in a series of stages, ranging from experimentation and regular use to dependency, impacting the brain and body over time.

Substance use/addiction is highly treatable using a combination of medication and therapy. Treatment plans may include medications for mental health disorders, psychotherapy, medical services for withdrawal/detox, and support groups.