The misuse of alcohol and drugs (including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal) is commonly known as substance abuse, but it can evolve into addiction when brain functionality is impacted.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.
Despite what some believe, addiction is not simply about a person’s inability to exert self-control. Addiction impacts the brain and affects someone’s ability to stop using — despite the harm their behavior causes. Addiction impacts all kinds of people, regardless of age or financial circumstances, but there is hope for those who suffer.
Today, opioid addiction is a severe public health problem in the United States. Opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, tramadol, and other prescription drugs used to relieve pain.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the primary treatment for opioid addiction and aims to tackle withdrawal and cravings. To help prevent opioid addiction, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking prescription drugs and do not take any medications not prescribed to you.
It’s essential to work with professionals trained in addiction and rehabilitation when developing a treatment program. Treatment options that have proven successful in helping addiction include behavioral counseling, medication, and identifying and treating co-occurring mental health issues (depression, anxiety, etc.). Remember considerations like long-term follow-up and maintenance to prevent relapse down the line.
If you or someone you know needs help battling addiction, trained specialists are available via SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), to route callers to intake centers or connect you with local resources for assistance and support.