Addiction is a term that means a compulsive physiological and physical need to consume a habit-forming chemical, drug, activity or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.
While behavioral addictions involve the inability to stop partaking in activities such as gambling, eating or working, we focus primarily on alcohol and drugs, which are two of the “most addictive” substances of which teenagers are at risk.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 22.7 million Americans (8.6 percent) struggle with some form of addiction from drugs or alcohol. While addiction issues can negatively impact individuals in most areas of their lives, unfortunately only 10% of these individuals will ever receive treatment.
Addiction impacts not only the one struggling but also their family as well…wives, husbands, children, parents, employers…. everyone, the person’s entire ecosystem is impacted. Specifically, family and friends struggle with feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness and even despair.
So who is most at risk for addiction issues?
- Teenagers are definitely at risk and we talk more about that in a later session.
- The other major group affected are adults with mental health issues are more at risk of addiction issues.
- Approximately 30 percent of individuals with mental health issues also have addiction issues.
- Other risk factors for addiction include genetics or family history, parental drug and alcohol use, chaotic home life, abuse, peer influences and poor academic achievement.
In our practice we provide Master sessions on drugs and alcohol use and explore the signs of drug and alcohol addiction. We also look at warning signs specific to teens and help you determine if you or a family member is actually struggling with drugs or alcohol misuse. We then discuss and develop a treatment plan that will support your path to recovery.
In order to meet criteria for a substance use disorder you need at least 2-3 symptoms from the following list:
- Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to
- Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance
- Cravings and urges to use the substance
- Not managing to do what you should at home, or school because of substance use
- Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in family and peer relationships
- Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use
- Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger
- Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance
- Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance)
- Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance
Two or three symptoms listed above suggests a mild substance use disorder. Having four or five symptoms indicate a moderate substance use disorder, and six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder.
Given there is so much information to digest, we provide videos that can help you or a family member who are experiencing any of the symptoms. We want you for starting this journey in choosing your path toward health. Please know there is help out there and we encourage you to call our office. We can answer your questions and/or discuss evidenced-based treatment options that consider the entire ecosystem of an individual, treating the mind, body and spirit.