Each person experiencing active addiction has traveled a separate path that eventually leads them to seek the same thing: treatment for their substance use disorder.
Along the way, their lives may mirror each other’s in many ways:
- As substance use progresses, it becomes as much about the ritual involved in consuming, injecting, inhaling, even chewing.
- Friends and family start to drift to the background as one-too-many promises were broken.
- Familiarity grows with lying to hide the severity of how much alcohol or drugs are being taken and with stealing money or property to trade or sell in pursuit of obtaining more.
The word more, in the sense of “I want MORE,” becomes a key part of spoken language, mental thinking, and physical behaviors surrounding addiction. The sense of pleasure, relief, euphoric bliss, increased chattiness, and mellow silence is enticing and new in its early phase.
As normalcy resumes, a sense of missing something begins to build. This sense could be a wildly inaccurate version of what happened, but nevertheless the person begins to think about once again experiencing whatever type of enjoyment and “high” pleasure they believe they felt. “I WANT MORE,” gets a little more pronounced. This louder noise starts to buzz out the sounds of family frustration and job complaints the more often it’s experienced.
As a person’s body begins to adjust to the substance being introduced to its system, it automatically makes adjustments to handle the physical side effects. Dopamine receptors and blockers, white and red blood cells, heart rate, all these begin to adjust and to resume some stability at now-heightened or decreased levels.
And finally “I WANT MORE” passes it off to “I NEED MORE.” This is where many efforts in a day are spent obtaining and using alcohol or drugs, then maintaining a regular state of “high.” More alcohol and drugs are needed because the body’s tolerance has grown and adjusted, and what used to make someone “high” no longer does the job for “I NEED MORE.”
So keeping in mind how addiction develops, let’s look a little closer at what causes substance use disorders in the first place.
What Causes Substance Use Disorder?
Alcohol is the most common substance use disorder in the country. With its western geography located near higher distribution areas, Colorado has seen an increase in methamphetamine addiction, which Northpoint Colorado has also seen, evidenced by our patient experience. In addition to alcohol and meth, more than 10 other substance addictions are treated at varying percentages of occurrence.
Addiction is a diverse and complex disease of the brain, and oftentimes chronic. This means that some people may be prone to relapse if they haven’t learned effective treatment strategies to manage the disease.
Whichever substance someone is exposed to and develops an addiction with stems from a combination of influences such as access, genes, demographics, mental health, environment, and other socioeconomic factors such as income and education.
- A person may enjoy the feeling of one substance, but try to counteract its visible effects with another substance to hide their use. They could end up with co-occurring disorders from two addictions that need to be treated separately due to the unique ways they cause the body to react.
- Another example of a co-occurring disorder could be someone with a mental health issue of increased anxiety trying to treat it with wine to calm their nerves. One glass becomes two bottles before they realize it and addiction develops, and they haven’t addressed the source of the anxiety.
There are many studies regarding genes that have resulted in some compelling statements on both sides of the issue.
Environment exposures, such as childhood trauma or sexual abuse, can be potential triggers that leave a person more vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction. This can also be said for cultures or religions; what is considered acceptable behavior in some places may not be tolerated by people in other communities or religions.
Family dynamics are a major external factor that frames the development of children. Growing up with an authoritarian household or a lenient household can equally impact an adolescent’s choices, as can divorce.
There’s also something to be said for someone’s friend group. Being around people with similar values and behaviors may cause someone to lean toward or against substance use. This is why recovery groups are encouraged after treatment to maintain the strong connections of people sharing the same goals.
All the above are contributing factors that can make a person more inclined to develop an addiction, but there remains no known specific cause people can look to as being responsible for substance use disorder.
Common Signs Someone May Have a Substance Use Disorder
A diagnosis for substance use disorder comes following an assessment and criteria as written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. Answers to a questionnaire fall into a minimum met in several categories to meet medical criteria for substance use disorder.
But the casual observer, family member, or even the addicted person may notice the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Problems at school or work — frequently missing school or work, a sudden disinterest in school activities or work, or a drop in grades or work performance
- Physical health issues — lack of energy and motivation, weight loss or gain, or red eyes
- Neglected appearance — lack of interest in clothing, grooming, or looks
- Changes in behavior — exaggerated efforts to bar family members from entering their room, being secretive about where they go with friends, or drastic changes in behavior and relationships with family and friends
- Money issues — sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation, a discovery that money is missing or has been stolen, or that items have disappeared from your home, indicating maybe they’re being sold to support drug use
Substance Use Treatment at Northpoint Colorado
Northpoint Colorado treats patients through evidence-based practices and collaborative care. We offer a safe environment for people to heal from behavioral health issues, substance use disorders, and co-occurring conditions involving both.
Our addiction treatment program was specifically opened to fill the void for much-needed detox services for the northern part of Colorado. Northpoint Colorado is located in Loveland and serves the metropolitan Denver area to the south, the Fort Collins area, and surrounding locations.
We provide a full continuum of integrated care at our treatment center for adult men and women with a variety of co-ed detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment programs. Our highly regarded program is staffed with psychiatric providers, nurses, licensed therapists, and recovery technicians to provide care throughout your phases of treatment.
Northpoint Colorado’s experienced team can help people with the following addictions:
Find Sobriety Through Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Colorado
Northpoint Colorado offers a fully integrated treatment model from medical detox, to rehab treatment, to PHP, to IOP, to aftercare. Individualized plans developed through admission and assessment will determine the right path for you.
Our research shows that those who complete medical detox and treatment together are less likely to relapse and more likely to stay sober longer. It’s also critical to have an aftercare plan for when rehab is complete, and it’s time to return to your natural environment.
If you or a loved one are ready to seek treatment in a caring, experienced, evidence-based program with proven results, call us at Northpoint Recovery today at (970) 410-8228.
- What Is Typically the First Step in the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Process?
The first step for treatment is to call the treatment center to make an assessment appointment. After completing the assessment, the treatment center staff will discuss your individualized program plan recommendation. It may include detox, inpatient care, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient programs.
- What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) refers to prescription opioid blockers like methadone or Suboxone® to ease symptoms from substance withdrawal and decrease the chance for relapse.