Substance abuse is one of the most common public health issues in the United States, especially with the surge of the opioid crisis. Morphine, Oxycontin, fentanyl, heroin, and alcohol are commonly abused drugs that individuals use to cope with intense negative feelings. Additionally, many turn to substance abuse counseling and an individual therapy program for help.
The term substance abuse refers to when a person is using drugs or alcohol at an unsafe level due to addiction or dependency on the chemical effects of drugs. The World Health Organization defines substance abuse in greater detail as:
“Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Psychoactive substance use can lead to dependence syndrome – a cluster of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.”
But what should patients understand about substance abuse counseling and how it impacts individuals?
How Does Substance Abuse Affect Individuals in the Short Term?
Substance abuse and addictive behaviors can lead to many short-term health effects on the body. Without early intervention, these symptoms may worsen into permanent mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and addiction.
Just a few of the symptoms of substance abuse, per the American Addiction Centers, include:
- Avoidance: staying away from people, places, or things that are reminders of the event
- Re-experiencing: flashbacks, frightening thoughts, or nightmares
- Arousal and reactivity: difficulties sleeping, being “on edge,” angry outbursts, or being easily startled
- Cognition and mood symptoms: distorted feelings of guilt, negative image of self, memory issues, or loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Irritation and overactivity: increases in discomfort or irritability when no longer using certain substances
What are Some of the Long-Term Impacts?
In contrast to the short-term effects of the substance and drug addiction, both forms of addictive behavior can have lasting impacts on veterans healthwise. Additionally, the long-term effects of substance abuse include clinical and mental health factors such as:
- Organ failure and long-term liver damage
- Heart damage and cardiovascular issues such as irregular heartbeat
- Muscle damage and neurological impairments
- Intense anxiety and consistent feelings of panic
You may also experience:
- Sleeplessness and significant neurological damage
- Hyperstimulation during sporadic times of the day
- Frequent suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
- Significant nerve or organ damage from chronic substance abuse
Find a Substance Abuse Counseling Center Near You
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, then you may need a substance abuse counselor as a part of an individual therapy program. At Serenity House Detox & Recovery, we can provide these programs at an affordable cost by accepting a variety of insurance providers.
Patients that have any questions about our services should call us directly at 866.516.8356 to see what treatment and rehab options work for their needs. Substance abuse counseling should be accessible to all patients. Call us today for more information!