Understanding Addiction: A Beginner’s Guide to Substance Use Disorders

Understanding Addiction: A Beginner’s Guide to Substance Use Disorders

Addiction is often misunderstood as a lack of willpower, low intellect or poor character.
This condition affects millions of people worldwide and dealing with the stigma associated with addiction makes it easier for people to access help. SUD (Substance Use Disorder) or AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) are commonly known as addiction.
We can see on brain scans that addicted people’s brains have changes related to motivation and reward systems as well as memory and impulse control.
Addiction is a chronic condition that needs to be managed over the long term, as opposed to cured. The diagnostic trademarks of addiction can be split into four groups:
Impaired control over substance use (craving and loss of control)
Social impairment (problems at home school, work, giving up what used to be enjoyable activities)
Risky use (continued use despite physical or psychological harm and exposure to physical danger)
Pharmacological (tolerance and withdrawal)

Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer. It affects people from all walks of life, regardless of socio-economic, race, religion or location.

Surrendering to powerlessness to overcome addiction to drugs or alcohol firstly means: understanding the nature of the problem, then engaging with the right help that keeps you tethered to a process of accountability.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain and behaviour of an individual. Once addicted it becomes very difficult to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the negative consequences. Addiction changes the way the brain functions, leading to intense cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behaviour. Substance use disorders can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction signs and symptoms vary depending on the drug of choice and the severity. Common signs of addiction include:

  • Continued use of drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences
  • Inability to control drug use or stop drinking
  • Withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
  • Building up tolerance, needing more of the substance to feel its effects
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining or using the substance
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school due to drug use
  • Interpersonal problems due to drug use
  • Giving up previously enjoyed activities to use drugs

Types of Treatment for Addiction

Rehab is as effective as treatments for other chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and asthma. It requires an individualised and comprehensive strategy. There are various types of addiction treatment available, including:

  • Inpatient rehab: A residential program offering intensive support.
  • Outpatient rehab: A treatment program that allows individuals to continue living at home and going to work while receiving treatment.
  • Detoxification: A medically supervised process to manage withdrawal symptoms and safely remove drugs from the body.
  • MAT: Medication-assisted treatment to help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • CBT, MET, BWRT: Usually a component of any treatment plan – helps individuals identify and address the underlying causes of addiction and develop coping strategies to avoid relapse.

Changes Rehab in Johannesburg

Changes Rehab is the best addiction treatment centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. They offer evidence-based treatment programs delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. Meeting each individual’s specific needs means adopting a holistic approach addressing the physical (Detox), mental (Psychology & Psychiatry), and emotional aspects of addiction and is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. Changes Rehab provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to begin their journey to recovery.

Call Changes now on 081-444-7000

Addiction is a complex and challenging disease, but with the right treatment and support, it is possible to overcome it. Changes Rehab in Johannesburg is an excellent choice for those seeking professional help for addiction. Their comprehensive and evidence-based approach to addiction treatment can help individuals recover from addiction and begin living a healthy and fulfilling life. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, reach out to Changes Rehab to learn more about their treatment options.