Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
Substance related and non-substance addictive disorders are categorized together due to the common condition involved, of addiction or addictive behaviors that may interfere with regular functioning of an individual. Substance use in itself is not considered a disorder, however when continued use and repeated relapses that ultimately change the brain’s structure is when it becomes a disorder that needs to be treated.
Substance-related disorders involve the use of drugs, alcohol, or prescribed medications leading to distressing consequences impacting physical and mental health, social and family responsibilities, and regular activities.
Behavioral addictions that are not dependent on substance use are categorized under Addictive disorders. The effects and impacts of addictive disorders may be similar to substance-related disorders including physical and mental health, social and family responsibilities, and regular activities.
There is no single cause of substance abuse or addictive disorders, as they are usually a result of a variety of factors, beginning with exposure to an addictive substance or non-substance.
Variations in brain chemistry and genes may determine how an individual responds to a certain substance. Such variations may affect how a substance is consumed, and may lead to dependence and overuse.
An individual’s behavior and response to certain substances may be influenced by their experiences and exposure during childhood. Children and adolescents exposed to addictive substances are likely to continue other addictive substances in their adulthood.
Chronic stress caused by health problems, financial troubles, or dysfunctional relationships may induce an individual to use substances to alleviate their anxiety, however when the usage increases, it can lead to substance abuse disorders.
Self-medicating for mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, or other disorders with drugs or alcohol may initially seem like it will help them but they almost always become addictive with long term dependence.
Addiction and dependence on substances may be demonstrated through many different signs and symptoms, physical and/or behavioral. When substance usage creates challenges and becomes an impairment to daily life it is categorized as a disorder.
The first step in the treatment of substance-related disorders is to remove the toxins from an individual’s body through the process of chemical detoxification. Withdrawal from an addictive substance can be life-threatening, so medically assisted detoxification is imperative.
Behavioral therapies and Cognitive therapies have been two recent developments that have been shown to be effective in treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can be effective on treating addictive behaviors.
Preventing relapses is the biggest challenge for addictive patients after graduating out of a treatment program. Being part of a supportive community, learning coping skills, and attending programs such as the 12-step recovery program are a few ways to stay the course.
Although recovery may be slow and challenging, it is entirely possible to recover from addiction. According to the annual NSDUH survey, more than 75% of people addicted to substances in the U.S have recovered. Progress, not success, is the best strategy to stay sober in the long term.
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Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.
Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.
I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.