ADDICTION OR SUBSTANCE USE
Individuals grappling with addiction often use drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, painkillers, prescription medications, cocaine or heroin compulsively or secretly. Addiction may also include compulsive behaviors associated with sex, gambling, and internet use characterized by diminished control and impairment in one’s life. Despite a desire to stop or cut back, many of them find themselves returning to old habits time and time again. They may feel like addiction has taken over their lives.
Unfortunately, portions of our society shame, stigmatize, and misunderstand addiction. Therefore, many people rationalize, deny, conceal, or lie about their use. This secrecy often makes it difficult for individuals to receive the help they need.
Substance use and addiction is a complex and multifaceted issue. Even defining addiction isn’t always straightforward. It is normal to question if you really have a problem. It is also normal to identify the problem but struggle with ambivalence about addressing it. Maybe you have tried addressing it in the past, but the recovery plan didn’t work.
Over 21.5 million Americans struggle with a substance use disorder. Addiction isn’t a test of willpower. Research shows that problematic substance use manifests from chemical imbalances in the brain. In a physiological sense, the body and mind become more and more dependent on the substance or compulsive behavior to function. Therefore, quitting isn’t just a matter of wanting to stop.