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Addiction: Understanding the Causes & Treatments

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Addiction: Understanding the Causes & Treatments
Addiction: Understanding the Causes & Treatments

No one plans to become addicted to a substance, medication, or product. Usually, the first interaction or experience is voluntary before addiction takes over and reduces an individual’s self-control. It isn’t long before this chronic disease rules your life.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is the inability to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior that is causing psychological or physical problems. Addiction does not just refer to dependence on substances such as drugs or alcohol. It may also refer to an activity or action such as gambling, eating, or working.

For this article, addiction refers to substance abuse or substance use disorder. Continue reading to learn more about substance abuse, the causes, and possible treatment options.

Substance Use Disorder

A substance use disorder is a type of addiction that involves uncontrolled use of a substance regardless of its harmful consequences. Individuals suffering from a substance abuse disorder have a deep focus on drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. The focus is so intense that it may interfere with the person’s daily life. Although the user may understand the harmful effects and the risk of problems, he/she continues to use the substance.


Addiction and substance use disorders are complex conditions that do not have simple explanations. There are many factors that play a role in the development of addiction.

  • Genetics – A person’s genes play a significant role in addiction. If a patient has family members with an addiction problem, he/she has an increased risk of developing an addiction. 
  • Environmental factors – A person’s environment plays a role in addiction development. This may include peer pressure, a lack of parental supervision, parental drug use or criminal activity, or living in a poor neighborhood.
  • TraumaChildhood trauma or negative experiences increase the risk of drug use at an earlier age and future addiction problems.
  • Mental healthMental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder are more likely to have a substance abuse disorder. Additionally, patients with conduct disorders or antisocial personality disorders have an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse. 

It is important to note that a predisposition to substance abuse does NOT mean the patient will become addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

The signs of addiction may vary from patient to patient based on the substance used, family history, and individual circumstances. Typically, there are psychological, physical, and social signs of an addiction including:

  • An inability to stop using
  • Obsession with the substance
  • Taking risks
  • Taking larger doses of the substance
  • Dropping hobbies and activities
  • Secrecy
  • Denial
  • Financial problems
  • Having stashes of the product
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in appearance
  • Sleeplessness

Treatment for Addiction

At Salveo Integrative Health, we provide medication management, crisis services, and substance abuse treatment in Georgia and North Carolina to help patients manage and resolve their drug use and addiction.

Treatment Options

Addiction treatment is highly personalized. In some cases, addiction is a chronic disease that requires ongoing care. The first step is recognizing the problem and seeking help. 

Treatment approaches may include:

  • Detoxification
  • Medication-based treatment
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Counseling
  • Treatment for related mental health issues such as depression
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Self-help groups

At Salveo Integrative Health, our providers work directly with patients to develop a holistic plan to approach treatment that is tailored for every individual. 

Telepsychiatry for Substance Abuse

In relation to substance abuse, Salveo Integrative Health offers telepsychiatry, medication management, crisis services, and substance abuse treatment. With telemed platforms, we can remove the barriers of traditional treatment for mental health concerns and substance use disorders. Using a secure platform, we can treat patients from the comfort of their homes. Patients access a mental health professional during a real-time virtual appointment.

Contact Salveo Integrative Health

If you or someone you know suffers from a substance use disorder, reach out to Salveo Integrative Health today! 

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