When people think about addicts they may picture a homeless person panhandling to get money for his next fix. In fact, the addict is as likely to wearing a suit and tie because addiction reaches throughout society. It is estimated that as many as one in ten Americans suffer from some form of addiction.
People begin using drugs to achieve a desired feeling. They may be prescription drugs used to treat a medical condition. Other substances – both legal and illicit – are used recreationally. No one plans to become an addict. Addiction takes hold when the substance hijacks the user’s brain, sparking an overwhelming compulsion to use it constantly. Fortunately, addiction is a treatable disease and with the proper care addicts can recover and reclaim their lives.
The Effects of Addiction
Addictive substances alter the brain’s reward circuits. When taken, they spur the release of naturally occurring chemicals that create pleasurable feelings. One need not take a drug for these chemicals to be discharged. For example, they can be produced by exercising, eating – even spending time with loved ones. Because of the pleasurable stimulus we are likely to repeat these positive actions.
Repeated use of a drug can alter the brain’s chemistry and can lead one to compulsively seek the pleasurable effects it produces. These changes in the brain can be seen in brain imaging.
Evidence-based treatments mark our mental health, addiction and other programs.
All our locations treat addiction and dual diagnosis, while some offer additional specialized programs.
We offer adults and adolescents residential, outpatient and other levels of care.
A multidisciplinary team works together to provide the best care for every diagnosis.
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Long-term use also causes changes in other chemical systems and circuits in the brain as well, affecting functions that include:
A person may develop a physical dependence (meaning withdrawal symptoms occur upon ceasing use of the substance) or tolerance (meaning more of the substance is needed to get the same effects).
How likely a person is to become addicted is influenced by other factors including their genetic makeup and their social environment, including things like their relationships with family and friends and their socioeconomic status. Even the age at which someone starts using drugs influences the likelihood of becoming addicted: The earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction.
There are many different types of addiction treatments offered at Sovereign Health of Florida. The course of treatment depends on the specific substance and the severity of the abuse. In many cases though, a treatment program will need to start with the detox process.
The first step of treatment, detoxification, allows individuals to rid their bodies of the addictive substance. Depending on the drug of choice, withdrawals can be extremely painful and even life threatening; therefore, it is imperative that this process is managed with the most effective level of care. Medications can be given to help wean the individual off the substance over time while easing the physical withdrawal symptoms. For example, a low-dose benzodiazepine can be administered to someone who is withdrawing from alcohol to ease physical withdrawal effects and to prevent life-threatening seizures. Specific medications such as Suboxone or naltrexone can be administered to individuals who are withdrawing from opioids.