Addiction is characterized by repeated use of drugs, alcohol, or participating in other behaviors despite harm to one’s self and others. Addiction can control and negatively affect someone’s life in many ways. Those struggling with addiction must receive the proper care and support needed to recover.1
When someone is struggling with substance use disorder, it can be difficult to spot the signs and symptoms of their disorder. Oftentimes, those struggling will try to cover it up and act like there is not a problem. This behavior is often due to the stigma associated with addiction. It is challenging for someone struggling with addiction to admit that there is a problem. Common signs and symptoms of substance use disorder may include:
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, there are resources available that can help. Talking to a medical professional or going to a treatment center is often a good first step to get the help that’s needed.
Many types of substances have the potential for abuse. Some of the most abused substances include:
All these substances can have dangerous effects if abused over a long period. If you or someone you know is abusing one of these substances, proper treatment and support is available to help with recovery and getting on the right track.
Addiction takes a toll on millions of people every year. The following statistics show how addiction can affect someone’s life in many ways.
Many factors may contribute to addiction such as genetics, environment, trauma, mental illness, and peer pressure.
Scientific studies have proven that genetics affect how likely someone is to be susceptible to developing a substance use disorder. According to the American Psychological Association, “at least half of a person’s susceptibility to drug addiction can be linked to genetic factors.”4
The environment that someone grows up in or lives in has also been shown to have an impact on susceptibility to addiction. If someone is surrounded by others who abuse addictive substances, they are more likely to participate in the same behaviors.
Trauma can have a significant impact on someone’s mental health and well-being. It can also cause someone to be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Many who abuse addictive substances do so as a way to self-medicate due to other underlying conditions, such as trauma.
Mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand. Studies show that approximately 1 in 4 individuals who have a diagnosable mental illness also have a substance use disorder.5 When someone struggles with both mental illness and addiction, both conditions must be treated together to get the best results.
Peer pressure often contributes to people using addictive substances, especially at young ages. Being surrounded by people who abuse addictive substances makes someone more likely to do the same.
Stigma is often cited as one of the leading causes of why someone chooses to not seek treatment for their addiction.
Oftentimes, the stigma surrounding addiction is based on how the public views this disorder. Many people who are not educated about addiction believe that it is a sign of moral weakness or that addiction causes people to be disorderly and disruptive. There may also be a public belief that anyone with an addiction problem cannot hold a job or have a family, even though this is not always the case.
These beliefs harm those who struggle with addiction as they often feel like a failure for their issues. The key to aiding those with SUD and decreasing the stigma towards addiction is educating the public. While there has been a progression in teaching the public about the stigma surrounding addiction, there is much more work that still needs to be done.
If someone is struggling with addiction, they may feel like there is no way out. However, there are many resources available that can help. Many people who have struggled with addiction go on to live successful lives.
There are many ways that you could educate someone about substance abuse. When teaching someone about addiction, it’s important to provide them with factual information on the following topics:
When speaking to someone about addiction, have an open and honest environment where both sides can share and ask questions as needed. Teaching someone about the topics surrounding addiction can reduce the stigma and provide them with resources so they can effectively support someone who is struggling.
There are many different ways that the stigma around addiction can be reduced. Education about this issue is important, so others know how to appropriately handle it. When speaking about addiction, it can also be effective to personalize these topics and share positive stories about people who have overcome addiction. Addiction can take a toll on someone’s life, but it can be overcome with support and understanding.