The Risks of Substance Use Disorders

The Risks of Substance Use Disorders

Sometimes it feels like we are constantly learning about new risks of substance use disorders (SUDs). Despite all the information out there about these dangers, individuals are still developing SUDs. This may cause some of us to question what exactly has to be done in order to prevent more people from misusing substances. In addition to preventing others from developing SUD, we may also wonder how we can encourage people to seek treatment for their SUD. One thing to do is educate others on the risks of substance misuse. 

Seeing a loved one struggle with addiction – or struggling with it ourselves – can be painful and upsetting. If untreated, SUD can take the lives of those you care about most, but each and every day is another opportunity to make a difference.  

Types of SUD

Addiction and SUD are broad terms used to describe a number of addictions. This could be a heroin or cocaine addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD). In either scenario, there are dangerous risks associated with any addiction. Addiction leads to harmful habits which are challenging to break. 

Specialized treatment is the best way to break these harmful habits. You will learn to manage your symptoms in a safe environment with constant support. However, treatment may look slightly different depending on whether you struggle with alcohol or drug use. 

Alcohol Addiction

AUD, or alcohol addiction, is when a person lacks control over alcohol consumption. An individual may continually drink for days or weeks on end, and if they try to stop, they experience withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings. 

Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction include: 

  • Memory loss or “blacking out” when drinking 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or pleasurable activities 
  • Drinking despite adverse effects or the development of family, financial, and health  
  • Feeling uncomfortable in social situations without alcohol 
  • Loss of control and drinking more than initially intended

Drug Addiction

Similar to alcohol addiction, drug addiction is characterized by the lack of control over drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug addiction as a “chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.”

Signs that you or a loved one may be struggling with drug addiction include: 

  • Feeling the need to use drugs every day or multiple times a day 
  • Experiencing intense cravings 
  • Needing to use more of the drug to experience the same effect 
  • Doing things to obtain drugs, such as stealing or lying to your family 
  • Experiencing problems at work, school, or with other responsibilities 

If you recognize any of these symptoms of an alcohol or drug addiction, seek treatment immediately. The potential long-term effects can be detrimental and even lead to death.  

Treating SUD

As mentioned, drug and alcohol addiction treatment may vary slightly, but there are similar methods available for either.  

  1. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines MAT as “the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies” to treat SUD and maintain recovery. MAT offers a holistic approach to treatment that proves effective treatment and long-term recovery. 
  2. Residential treatment is another effective way to treat an alcohol or drug addiction. Inpatient residential treatment offers care and support, 24/7, offering a safe and sober environment conducive to achieving sobriety. 
  3. Therapy is beneficial during and after treatment. Epecially if your addiction developed from trauma or emotional distress, therapy helps you get to the root cause and grab the problem by the throat. 

Individuals on the fence about seeking addiction treatment may consider it more upon learning about the potential risks associated with untreated substance use. 

Risks of Substance Use

The risks of substance use vary depending on the substance. For example, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to: 

  • Alcohol poisoning 
  • The development of chronic conditions like heart and liver disease or a number of cancers 
  • Weakening of the immune system 
  • Memory loss and impaired cognitive functions 
  • Developing co-occurring mental disorders like anxiety and depression 

Drug addiction also comes with several risks, including: 

  • Bacterial infections
  • Vein damage 
  • Respiratory disease 
  • Withdrawal symptoms – which can include seizures, stroke, or other dangerous effects 
  • Overdose

These are just a few of the many risks associated with substance use. If you or someone you love is already exhibiting these issues, you must seek treatment immediately. Untreated SUD can be catastrophic and lead to death. 

Seek Treatment and Avoid the Risks of Substance Use Today

We understand that seeking treatment for the first time can be scary, but consider the alternative. The risks of substance use are not worth a life of active addiction. In addition to specialized care and competent professionals, Healing Pines Recovery also offers a community of men striving for the same goal – recovery. We hope you will consider joining our community today. 

There are a number of risks associated with untreated substance use disorders (SUDs). SUD is an umbrella term used to describe any addiction to alcohol or any number of drugs. Long-term, excessive alcohol and drug use can cause several issues. That includes the development of chronic physical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. It can also lead people to develop other co-occurring mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few. Treatment is available, but you must choose to seek it for yourself. Call Healing Pines Recovery at (720) 575-2621 today to join a community of men striving for one common goal – recovery. 

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