A substance use disorder (SUD) is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior. People can develop a substance use disorder to things like alcohol, drugs, or even certain medications. Over time, these substances can overstimulate the brain’s reward system by overproducing dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone. This can lead to an uncontrollable urge and compulsion to overuse these substances or engage in harmful activities despite knowing it will likely have negative consequences.
Types of Substance Use Disorders
Alpine Recovery Lodge can help you understand why you have a substance use disorder and how to overcome it.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease of the brain characterized by heavy and repetitive drinking of alcoholic beverages even when it causes problems, emotional distress, or physical harm. Some of the most common physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms of alcoholism include an inability to stop drinking, a tendency to divert energy away from work, family, or friends to drink, and a feeling of distress when alcohol is not readily accessible.
Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder and mental illness that results in long-lasting changes in the brain. It’s characterized by a compulsive need to find and use drugs, despite their harmful consequences. Signs of substance use disorders include changes in personality and behavior (e.g., lack of motivation, irritability, and agitation), lack of concern for personal hygiene, shakes, tremors, or slurred speech.
Cocaine is an illegal drug that reacts with the body’s central nervous system by stimulating dopamine production in the brain. Over time your brain becomes desensitized, which means larger amounts of cocaine are needed to boost feel-good hormones. Not only can this damage the structure of the brain, but it can also lead to seizure disorders and other neurological conditions.
Heroin is a type of illegal opioid drug made from morphine that’s highly addictive. When heroin enters the brain, it attaches to opioid receptors, which trigger a series of chemical changes in the brain that lead to feelings of pleasure and pain relief. Over time heroin can damage the brain’s white matter, affecting decision-making abilities, behavior, and response to stressful situations.
Prescription drug abuse and addiction happen when you take any medication in a way that’s different from what your doctor prescribed. Some prescription medications, like opioids, are more addictive than others, but most affect the brain’s reward system by flooding it with feel-good hormones (dopamine). Over time you may develop a tolerance to the drug, which can lead to taking larger doses. Opioid use and addiction can lead to vomiting, mood changes, decreased cognitive function, respiratory function, coma, or even death.
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive illegal drug that stimulates the central nervous system and one of the most common substance use disorders. It can cause intense feelings of euphoria followed by irritability and depression. Over time methamphetamine can destroy your brain’s dopamine cells, which means you’ll feel unable to find pleasure or have symptoms of psychosis and paranoia.
Amphetamine is a central nervous stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity. Long-term misuse of amphetamines can lead to serious problems, including changes in the brain, cardiovascular damage, malnutrition, anxiety, and paranoia.
Cannabis, or marijuana, is a psychoactive drug that impairs thinking and interferes with learning and performing complicated tasks. It can affect your memory and cognitive function and cause harmful cardiovascular effects like high blood pressure. Long-term marijuana use can lead to or worsen symptoms of chronic bronchitis.
Ecstasy, commonly known as Molly, is an illegal psychoactive drug derived from amphetamine. It boosts the activity of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. This leads to increased mental stimulation, decreased anxiety, and enhanced sensory perception. Long-term use can confuse the brain’s reward system, damage nerve cells, brain cells, and vital organs. Ecstasy abuse may also cause psychosis, depression, anxiety, memory loss, kidney failure, long-lasting brain damage, and cardiovascular collapse.
Inhalants make up a category of drugs that are inhaled into the lungs to make people feel intoxicated. Inhalant use, or huffing, can cause hallucinations or signs similar to cocaine use. Long-term inhalant abuse can cause liver damage, kidney damage, nerve damage, permanent brain damage, hearing loss, and coordination problems. People who abuse inhalants are also at a greater risk of depression, suicidal thoughts, conduct disorders, and future drug use.
Overcome Addiction and Discover Long-Lasting Recovery
We tailor our rehabilitation programs to treat your unique needs and substance use disorders. We focus on emotional, spiritual, and physical healing to provide each individual with a safe, effective, and all-encompassing path to recovery. Develop the strength and resilience you need to break through your addiction and rediscover a life that is full of hope with help from the expert clinical team at Alpine Recovery Lodge. Call 801-901-8757 to find out how to get started.