Risk Factors and Treatment Options

Addiction is a complex brain disorder and people with addiction experience a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes them to crave something despite the issues it can cause in their lives. Studies have shown that the brain of those with substance abuse experience changes that affect judgment, learning, memory, and decision making. All of these changes make it harder to discontinue the use of drugs or alcohol. Many people suffer from substance abuse problems, but treatment is available that can help lead healthier lives.


Risk Factors

Addiction can affect any age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status. Although it is common to use substances, there are a few factors that put some individuals more at risk of developing a problem. Some risk factors for substance abuse include:

  • Genetics: Studies show that a person is more likely to experience addictive behaviors if a family member has had issues with addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that up to half of a person’s risk of addiction is based on genetics. 
  • Environment: Another factor that contributes to developing substance abuse, is the environment in which a person is in. Parental neglect can play a role, as well as pressure from peers. People often use substances to cope with stress or neglect in their lives.
  • Early Use: The age in which a person starts using drugs or alcohol can play a role in whether they become addicted. A survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism determined that young adults between the ages of 18-24 are the most likely to have an alcohol use disorder or other drug addictions.
  • Drug Used: Addiction can come on slowly or quickly depending on the drug of choice and how often it is used. For example, drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are more likely to be addictive.
  • Method of Use: The method that a person uses a drug can play a factor in how quickly they will become addicted to a substance. By smoking or injecting the substance, a person may feel the effect of the drug more quickly, but it does lose its rush faster. Because of the quick release of the “high” feeling, people will often want to continue using it in order to get the same feeling again. 
  • Metabolism: The way that our body absorbs and processes a substance is determined by our metabolism. This will also determine the duration in which the drug’s effects will stay in our system. When a person’s tolerance increases, they will need to use more of the drug or substance to feel the same effects as they did previously, and this can lead to the person becoming addicted.


Beginning the Treatment Process

When a person wants to begin their treatment journey, the first thing suggested is to contact a primary care doctor to determine the right treatment options. Before referring a patient to a treatment program, a primary care doctor will often look at a few aspects to identify the level of treatment that may be needed. The doctor will first look at these factors:

  1. Evaluate the level of substance abuse and type of use
  2. Determine a proper treatment plan
  3. Check the well-being and overall health of the person
  4. Evaluate whether medications are needed

Many professionals may be involved during the treatment process for substance abuse. Below is a list of doctors/providers and the type of care they may offer:

  • Primary Care Provider, M.D., D.O.: General medicine, Behavioral counseling, and Medications
  • Psychiatrist, M.D., D.O.: Behavioral and Mental Counseling, Medications
  • Psychologist, Ph.D., Psy.D, M.A.: Behavioral Counseling
  • Social Worker, M.S.W.: Behavioral Counseling and Support
  • Drug Counselor, CADC: Behavioral Counseling and Support


Support System During Treatment 

Not only is the person who has addiction involved in the treatment process but so are the people in the addicted person’s life. Loved ones can also be impacted by the disease of addiction. Helping the addict and their loved ones during the treatment process can be challenging but also beneficial. Providing support to everyone impacted is crucial for the person going through treatment and their chance for success. Once loved ones learn about the treatment process they will become better equipped to provide support for themselves and addicted loved one.

Although many people are successful in getting clean from drugs or alcohol, there are instances where some may relapse or take a long time to change their behavior. People may fail during the first time of trying to stop using and need to go to treatment again. But with a strong support group, the chance of relapse reduces. It’s important to remember to keep trying.


Treatment for Addiction

The best way to overcome an addiction is to get help right away. There are treatment centers available that can help with the withdrawal symptoms and allow the person to recover in a safe environment. In 2018, there was a high population of Americans dealing with substance abuse disorder, around 20.3 million people. It is estimated that nearly 19 million of those people aged 12 and older needed treatment.

It can be intimidating to overcome an addiction but it’s important to get the help needed. There are people that understand the struggles and care about everyone’s well-being. The specialists who work in the recovery field often have been through the recovery process themselves. If you are looking for more information about treatment options, Las Vegas Recovery Center is here to help. We are just a phone call or mouse click away at all times. Call (888) 219-1158 to contact one of our admissions counselors today, they will be able to answer all of your questions and concerns.