An individual does not become addicted, there are a series of events that take place before it happens. These series of events are referred to as the abusive stage. During this phase, the individual abuses either a substance or a behavior.

Only few people come out of the abusive phase whole and do not get addicted, while most people leave the abusive phase and become addicted.

The concept of an abuse is fulfilled when a particular substance or behavior is taken or done repeatedly. Basically, the individual finds joy in taking that substance or performing that act.

During this time, the reward center of the brain is developing to the point where the individual is pleased with whatever he or she does.

During the abusive phase, if the individual is stopped by someone who is concerned about that case, then there is a likely chance that he or she would stop the abusive act.

For adults who are currently addicted, some of them must have started abusing from a young age, and the act developed into a full blown addiction.

One of the ways to put an end to the development of addiction is to stop abuse. When people see an abusive act as an escape route, then a full-blown addiction is imminent.

If you see someone who uses a particular substance or behavior to deal with unpleasant emotions, then the individual is on the verge of addiction.

It is important to stop an abuse before it gets to the addiction stage. At this phase, people who are abuse can still be talked to and advised, and there is a high possibility that they will take to your advice. Because when it gets to the addiction stage, it can be worse than it seems.

An abuse in motion could be responsible for the awkward way an individual behaves, so it is best to understand them. It is also essential to tolerate people who abuse substances and behaviors, and also aid them in seeking help that would make them better.


Substance abuse affects both the young and old, it is what follows before addiction sets in. So, anyone who is currently addicted has either abused substances or a behavior.

Substance abuse is dangerous as it has the capacity to wreak havoc on the lives of people who indulge in it. Globally, the common substances that people fall victim for are alcohol and drugs.

There are various problems associated with substance abuse which include physical and mental health problems. It becomes worse if the individual continues to revel in the abuse being unaware of the fact that much damage is being done to their entire wellbeing.

One of the major effects of substance abuse is damage to physical health. People who indulge in substance abuse are putting their organs at great risk. This is because, these organs have a specific mode of operation and function.

The introduction of certain substances into the body system can modify how they operate. Some of these organs would operate less, thereby resulting in a decline in productivity, while others would over-function.

Usually, the end result is distasteful because the individual runs helter-skelter seeking help from various healthcare providers.

In addition, substance abuse also causes great damage to the mental health. This implies that people who indulge in substance abuse are likely to have anxiety, depression and a host of others.

Often times, these mental health problems are associated with physical health problems. This results in a complicated case that becomes difficult to handle.

People who abuse substances often lose focus in life if they are not careful. Only few of them are fortunate to make headways in life. This is true because, at the beginning, substance abuse seems to be fun with no bad happenings in sight. However, in the mid-term and long-term, it gets worse.

Refraining from substance abuse is one of the best decisions that an individual can make. If it is difficult to decide on this, it is a great idea to see a counselor or an addiction therapist who would provide you with assistance.



In every country, substance abuse is prevalent. Although, it is at varying rates, the effect which it has on the populace of each country, are similar when compared to one another.

Below are the few reasons why people are hooked on substance abuse

  • They think it eases suffering: Now, this is one of the myths which people have about drugs and alcohol. A good number of them are of the opinion that once you take drugs or alcohol, whatever mental illness you have, be it depression, anxiety and the likes, would subside. However, the fact is, the effect is ephemeral, with time, the mental illness returns in full force.

It is understandable that mental illness is a huge burden to bear, and that people would give anything to ensure that they are relieved of pain, it should be noted that drugs and alcohol cannot provide a permanent relief.

People who have mental illness find it hard to visit a doctor. Hence, they turn to drugs or alcohol in order to find a solution to the problem themselves.

  • Community pressure: By community pressure, it means that the family, friends, the social media and the likes, also have a part to play in the life of someone who is addicted. When an individual sees that people around them use such substances and they are seemingly okay, they feel it is the best move, hence, they put them to use. Research has shown that individuals whose families have a history of substance addiction, are more likely to come down with addiction, than those whose families have no history of addiction.
  • To relieve boredom: For some people, the reason why they got hooked on drugs and alcohol, is because they sought ways on how to dismiss boredom. This is very common in teenagers and young adults. Since they hardly go through much stress than the older generation, it is easy for them to get bored, and the desire to try something different sets in.
  • To relieve stress: This reason applies to the older generation. Our world is one which is full of various forms of challenges which individuals have to face on a regular basis. These challenges induce stress, and the way which most people have resorted to, in a bid to challenge this stress, is to take drugs and alcohol.

Stop Abusing Substances

stop substance abuseA person must simply understand the reasons why quitting substance abuse is important, what to expect from the process of quitting and where to turn for help. Quitting substance abuse is not an easy task by any means. It involves discomfort, negative emotions and sometimes physical illness. However, it is something that millions of people have done successfully around the world, and every person is capable of achieving it with the right help.

A sober lifestyle is a wise but difficult change to make. When you make the decision to quit substance abuse, you should know that you are in for a challenge. Even if the body and the brain are not dependent on the substance, they are accustomed to it, and they will crave it. It is up to you to manage the triggers and urges to relapse by developing healthy alternatives and coping mechanisms. You should be prepared for irritability, mood swings, cravings and other frustrations.

That you should quit substance abuse is a given, but why you should quit substance abuse is not known to everyone. Mood altering substances, such as alcohol and drugs, have enjoyable short term effects but negative long term effects. They inevitably do damage to a person’s physical and mental health. In the short term, they make a person relaxed, loosened up, forgetful and without a sense of consequence. But in the long term, they create chemical imbalance within the body and brain.

There are many resources available to the public that are aimed at making the transition to sobriety as painless as possible. Quitting substance abuse is widely known to be difficult, which is why no one expects you to go through it alone. Some of these services include rehabilitation treatment centers, support groups, counseling, sponsorship and self help methods. They provide a support system, a sober environment, sound advice and a defense against substance abuse to allow you to fully rediscover your sobriety.

An Illogical Habit

illogical substance abuseIt is common, when trying to lend a person empathy, to try to understand how they think and get inside their head. We attempt to do this for people going through a hard time or struggling mentally. We even attempt to do this when a person is abusing a substance. However, a person need not bother trying to understand why someone may abuse a substance. The fact is, there is no logic to discover, and the harder you try to understand substance abuse, the more tied into knots you will become.

Looking for logic in substance abuse can only result in unhealthy thinking on the part of the empathetic party. Much like Stockholm syndrome, a person trying to empathize with substance abuse is essentially relating to broken thinking, which is not good for anyone. Empathizing with this behavior can only result in justifying it, enabling it or getting sucked into substance abuse yourself. Justifying substance abuse is horribly counterproductive because there is no good reason for destructive behavior. Enabling it is doing a disservice to the substance abuser because it assists their self destruction. And emulating the substance abuse is a terrible practice of boundaries, self respect and good judgment.

The truth is that substance abuse is an absence of logic, a bad habit, a maladaptive behavior and a type of mental problem. Abusing a substance represents broken logic, not different logic, which does not deserve to be pursued. It is merely a type of bad habit that one develops because of underlying issues. It is also a way of coping with and interacting with the world that is maladaptive, meaning the individual engaging in it developed the habit against their own better self preservation. And lastly, substance abuse is a certified mental problem that entire treatment programs are geared toward correcting. It frequently comes with a type of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or ADHD.

Treating a Mental Disorder and Substance Abuse Dual Diagnosis

dual diagnosisTreatment for co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders is more laborious than treating just one or the other. Patients must be prepared for treatment to be longer lasting and more intensive than treatment for those with a single diagnosis. Certain treatment centers and rehabilitation programs specialize in treating both kinds of disorders at once, with staff that are licensed experts in substance abuse disorders and mental disorders. Recovery requires a large commitment on the part of the affected individual, and cannot be achieved without a significant amount of work, but there are many who have been successful at it.

This style of specialized treatment is multifaceted. Its aim is to educate the individual on what their disorders encompass, how they can affect a person in tandem and how a person can manage and cope with them. Dual diagnosis treatment exposes the patient to the latest health information on the effects of drugs and alcohol, and what affect they are having on the patient’s life. It helps the patient set a plan for sober living and practicing healthy life skills through individualized counselling and therapy, as well as connecting them to ongoing support and recovery services.

The path to recovery for people who are dual diagnosed with substance abuse and mental disorders is not without its struggles and setbacks, but for those willing to put in the effort, it is possible. Medical and mental health professionals are eager to help individuals confront these problems so that they and their loved ones can experience a higher quality of life together. If you or someone you love requires treatment for a co-occurring disorder, seek the help of a rehabilitation program that is certified to treat a dual diagnosis and has a history of success doing so.


Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders

mental disorder substance abuseSubstance abuse disorders and mental health disorders are difficult to manage on their own, but very frequently they can be dually diagnosed in a person, which makes for a very complex set of challenges. Nearly half of the individuals who are diagnosed with mental health disorders have been found to have substance abuse issues as well. The dual diagnoses of these two disorders usually means a longer, more challenging recovery process for the affected individual and their support system, and a more complicated treatment process on the part of mental and medical health professionals.

The disorder known as substance abuse is characterized by the repeated use of a mood-altering substance despite the damaging affects it has on the user’s life. Some commonly abused substances include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opioids, prescription medications, hallucinogens, amphetamines, PCP and inhalants.

The disorder known as mental illness is identified as an individual’s inability to regulate behaviors, moods and thoughts. Several mental health disorders that co-occur with substance abuse disorders are anxiety, depression, psychotic disorders and personality disorders.

One of the most difficult things about living with co-occuring disorders is that they affect each other, and they affect the individual’s psyche in tandum. This can make it difficult to separate one from the other and treat each for the problems and symptoms that are particular to it. Substance abuse may exacerbate a pre-existing mental disorder, or a mental disorder may influence an individual to abuse a substance as a means of coping with stress or self-medicating. It is vital that any rehabilitation center treating a co-occurring disorder is licensed to do so, and has program options for individuals with a dual diagnosis.

The Difference Between Substance Dependence and Substance Abuse

substance abuse vs dependenceThe substance use disorders known as abuse and dependence stem from a broad range of substance related disorders caused by both legal and illegal substances. Substance abuse and substance dependence are often confused, but they are actually two different things, though they warrant a similar kind of rehabilitation treatment. It is simple to think of substance abuse as the precursor to substance dependence, which is the more advanced of the two disorders.

Substance abuse can be identified by certain maladaptive behaviors. Work and school are often the first things to deteriorate because of continued substance abuse. Personal relationships and obligations quickly decline as well, and the substance abuser may even find themselves in trouble with the law.

A different set of behaviors and tendencies constitute substance dependence. Considered the more severe of the two disorders, substance dependence is largely reflective of the longevity of the substance problem. Even after the addict has become aware that the substance is controlling and unravelling their life, they will continue to use it out of what they deem as necessity. Indeed, in many instances of dependence, the person’s body has become so accustomed to the substance that it goes into withdrawal if the substance is not ingested. The user’s body has become tolerant to the substance as well, and requires a larger quanitity of it to receive stimulation.

The substances associated with these two disorders are numerous, and may include prescription medications, cocaine, PCP, heroin, morphine, marijuana, hallucinogens, inhalants, amphetamines and alcohol.

How is Substance Abuse Different from Addiction?

substance abuse vs addictionThe terms “substance abuse” and “addiction” are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different working definitions. In the context of drugs and alcohol, the primary difference between the two is that one precedes the other. Substance abuse is the introduction to addiction; addiction can never precede substance abuse. A key component to a substance abuse rehab center is targeting substance abuse before it develops into addiction, and the first step is making it possible for anyone to identify what kind of drug / alcohol problem they or their loved ones are experiencing.

Substance abuse is characterized by a person exhibiting one or more negative behaviors over the span of a year. For example, a person may be noticeably reckless when they are using the substance, engaging in activities that are illegal while under the influence. They may show signs of a declining school or job performance, or may be damaging personal and professional relationships. Run-ins with the law and problems with money are also common. Often the individual is aware that substance abuse is contributing to their problems, but they continue to engage in it anyway.

Addiction, on the other hand, is even more serious than substance abuse. The behaviors that can be observed in a drug or alcohol addict are more regular and more severe. An addict will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the substance they are addicted to, which can include shaking, sweating and delirium. In many cases they will have developed a tolerance to the substance and require it in increasingly greater amounts than in the past. It is possible they are using unsafe quantities of the substance in order to feel its effects. The addict will feel like quitting the substance is impossible due to past failed attempts to do so.

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