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Those who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction often feel alone, but they are actually in good company.

Approximately 19.7 million Americans age 12 and over dealt with a substance use disorder in 2017 according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Addiction is a disease that doesn’t usually get better without professional treatment.

Causes of Addiction

Drug and alcohol use are often voluntary at first, but changes to the brain as a result of substance use can lead to addiction. These substances trigger the brain to release large amounts of dopamine that lead to feelings of euphoria.

If the brain begins to crave the source of the euphoria, the person may seek more of the substance.

As the body grows accustomed to the effects of the drug, it needs more to create the same “high.” This is referred to as tolerance. If the person stops using the substance, uncomfortable symptoms might occur. This is known as withdrawal.

While there is no way to predict with certainty whether someone will develop an addiction, there are risk factors that increase those odds:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • A mental illness like depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty coping with stressful circumstances
  • An environment where drinking or using is prevalent

Signs of Addiction

A person might have a substance abuse disorder if they exhibit any of the following signs:

  • Inability to control how much they use or drink
  • Withdrawal from family, friends or activities they once enjoyed
  • Noticeable changes in mood or behavior
  • Physical symptoms like red eyes, weight fluctuations or a persistently stuffy nose
  • Problems with attention, memory, problem-solving or coordination
  • Legal or financial issues
  • Falling behind in school or loss of job

Types of Addiction

Addiction can occur with a wide range of substances, including:

  • Opioids (Oxycodone, Vicodin)
  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants (Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Adderall)
  • Depressants (Valium, Ativan, and Xanax)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, MDMA, and Peyote)
  • Marijuana
  • Inhalants

Addiction Treatment Therapies

Different addiction therapies ensure that people dealing with addiction can find the treatment plan that works the best for them. Some of the more common treatment modalities include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: a form of psychotherapy that identifies unhealthy thought patterns and develops healthier ways to address them
  • Motivational Therapy: increases a person’s motivation to change by identifying the negative impact of current behavior
  • Relapse Prevention: identifies triggers for drinking and using and creates action plans to avoid them to encourage long-term recovery
  • One on One Therapy: individual one on one counseling with a therapist allows a person in treatment to build trust and discuss things about their past until they are ready to open up more in groups
  • Group Therapy: meeting with others in group therapy can help those in recovery understand that they are not alone and it gives them a chance to identify with people who have been down the same road in the past and are going through it now

Therapy can take place one-on-one with a therapist or in a group setting. In many cases, group and individual therapies are combined into a single treatment program to ensure the greatest impact and chance for a successful recovery.

Addiction is a common disease that affects all levels of society today. Identifying the disease and developing an appropriate, individualized treatment plan is the key to helping those struggling with addiction find new hope and life in sobriety.

It’s vital that people suffering with addiction find the courage to overcome the stigma they may be feeling and seek help to get their life back on track.

For recovery to be successful, it’s necessary for a person addicted to drugs or alcohol to be open and honest with themself about their issues, and also to trust those who will help them through their tough times.

Here is a list of where to begin when searching for the best rehab centers in the U.S. for addiction treatment.