Substance Abuse: Tricky Issues Around Diagnoses and Treatment
It can be very difficult to recognize if you or a loved ones has a substance abuse issue. The signs are subtle: perhaps you crossed the line from usage to abuse without noticing, or have chosen to ignore a problem or diagnosis out of simple fear.
This is not unusual. Part of what compels drug users to continue their substance abuse is the uncertainty that can plague assessment and diagnosis, the multiple issues involved in dual diagnoses or treating underlying issues, the intentional stealth of the afflicted person, and the natural refusal to relinquish to treatment.
As the drug abuse develops, the brain’s reward system is activated, and over time the brain itself can change. You may find yourself prioritizing drug use over other aspects of your life, and even behaving in strange or unusual ways. The drugs themselves change you in ways that lead you to seek out drugs instead of recovery. But the truth is, drugs will cause you, your body, and your relationships the same harm, whether or not you’re aware of it.
Here are a few of the most important ways in which ignoring a diagnosis can lead to serious problems down the road–and why it’s never too late to choose recovery.
Health Risks of Ignoring Your Diagnosis
All illicit drugs carry some kind of health risk, and many are capable of causing serious harm to the body—and in cases of abuse, even death. It would be difficult to list all of the causes health risks presented by individual drugs, but some of the most common include cardiovascular problems, damage to the body’s immune system, and damage to the liver, including liver failure.
As a general rule, repeated drug abuse is more likely to lead to serious complications the longer it goes on. In other words, the sooner you’re able to seek help for serious drug abuse, the sooner your body will be able to heal—and the better chance you’ll have of avoiding serious and even fatal consequences.
Substance abuse can lead to behavioral changes, particularly following repeated use. In fact, once drug use has crossed over into a serious issue, sufferers will likely find that they are affected in different ways while on and off the drug—both of which are problematic.
Dependency may lead you to act in erratic ways in order to “score” more of a drug. In some cases, this can translate to violating ethical principles in ways that you never would have considered before becoming dependent on a drug, such as lying and stealing from loved ones. Drug abuse may also lead to irritability, anger, violence, depression, agitation, and other psychological problems, which in many cases can make maintaining relationships difficult, if not impossible.
Treating the Wrong Thing
If you or your loved one is suffering from problems related to drug abuse, help is available. There are treatment centers, doctors, and therapists who specialize in your conditions and unique difficulties, and have experienced enormous success in treating patients with drug problems.
In fact, by avoiding or ignoring a diagnosis, you risk treating the wrong problem altogether. This is particularly true for people suffering from a dual diagnosis . Self-medication, or taking drugs to treat a mood disorder,simply doesn’t work. Most importantly, a drug problem cannot be adequately treated if another diagnosis or other underlying causes are not addressed. Likewise, a mood disorder cannot be fully treated if a drug abuse problem is present without proper substance abuse treatment.
If a drug problem is keeping you from the life you want, you’re not alone. Help is available. Give us a fully confidential call today at 888-288-2062 to take the first step toward recovery.
Reach Out Today
There is no shame in seeking treatment for substance abuse. It is not a punishment; it’s a healing solution, and it will get your life back on track. Call us for a completely confidential conversation with someone who can help. A new life awaits. Let’s take that first step together.