An addiction can strike a person when they least expect it, as they’re trying to handle an increase in their workload, childcare or child-rearing, mental health issues, family issues, or for no reason whatsoever. It often begins innocently — trying to relieve the stress of everyday life, or just to try something new. Before the person knows it, they’re turning to the drug or alcohol as a way of coping with any negative feelings or stress in their lives. They may find they need more and more of the drug or drink in order to gain the same benefits from it. Efforts to scale back or to stop altogether are difficult or next-to-impossible.
Drug addiction and alcohol addiction is usually not easily overcome on one’s own. Most people who face an addiction to a substance or alcohol need additional help.
There is no single right way to treat a drug or alcohol addiction. And while popular groups like Alcoholics Anonymous preach that abstinence is the only way you can kick an addiction, others believe that learning to undo the behavioral cues that lead a person to drink or take drugs in excess is a more realistic and healthy goal (ala Moderation Management). At the onset of your treatment, you’ll have to figure out what path works best for you and your needs.
There are many different terms used in drug addiction to describe the problem. Older diagnostic manuals differentiated between those who abused a drug or alcohol and dependence upon the drug, but the DSM-5 doesn’t. The DSM-5 (the newest diagnostic manual of mental disorders) simply refers to substance use disorders to describe any addiction to any drug or alcohol (with different codes that identify the substance being abused). For the most part, all of these terms — addiction, drug abuse, substance abuse, alcoholism — can be used interchangeably.
We’ve compiled this library of addiction information and resources for you to explore. We encourage you to take your time with these resources, print out things you’d like to read more carefully, and bring anything you have additional questions about to your family doctor or a mental health professional.
The good news is that addictions are readily treated nowadays, typically with a combination of psychotherapy and social support. Don’t be put off by the number of things written about addiction — because it’s a serious mental illness, a lot has been written about it! Read what you need, and leave the rest for another day.
The 4 Degrees of Drug Use
Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders
Depression and Substance Abuse: The Chicken or the Egg?
People on Autism Spectrum at Increased Risk for Substance Abuse
Emotional Trauma: An Often Overlooked Root of Addiction
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Stages of Change
Levels of Treatment for Substance Abuse
Treatment of Alcoholism
How Is Suboxone Treatment Different than Drug Abuse?
Why Didn’t Drug Rehab Work? 5 Wrongs That Don’t Make a Right
Mindfulness Offers Young Adults the Same Protection Against Substance Abuse as Positive Parenting
The Challenges Of Treating Addicts With Borderline Personality Disorder
Our Online Support Group
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Virtual-Reality Therapy May Ease Substance Abuse Cravings
Detoxing from Drugs and Alcohol
Family Involvement is Important in Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance Abuse: The Power of Acceptance
Addiction Swap: Substance Abuse and Workaholism
When Substance Abuse and Intimacy Issues Are Linked
Is Divorce the Answer to Your Partner’s Substance Abuse?
Recovery Using the 12 Steps
Heroin Abuse is on our Doorstep
Recovery from Addiction
Alcohol Abuse and the Elderly: The Problem Continues to Worsen
Men vs. Women: Does Gender Matter in Addiction Recovery?
How Teen Social Life Affects Drug Abuse (And How Drug Abuse Affects Social Life)
The Teenage Brain on Drugs
Children of Alcoholics
Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Employees
Addiction Under 30
Addiction and Wellness
An Epidemic of Addiction
Couples in Recovery
The Science of Addiction
More Resources: Addictions on The Mighty
Grohol, J. (2017). Addictions. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/disorders/addictions/