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Substances of Abuse

There are many different types of substances – both legal and illegal – that are abused today. Many of these drugs have similar effects on the human body, increasing dopamine levels quickly to produce feelings of euphoria that are described as the “high.” Another common and potentially deadly characteristic of many substances of abuse is known as tolerance, which is the need to consume more of the drug to experience the same effects over time.

The rate of substance abuse in the U.S. is alarming and shows no signs of tapering. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that illicit drug use costs the country about $181 billion each year, while excessive alcohol use costs about $235 billion annually. Those staggering costs may not compare with the personal and professional toll substance abuse takes on the individual and their family and friends. At Serenity Oaks Wellness Center, we work with a broad range of substance abuse, allowing us to meet all our clients’ needs as precisely as possible.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol has been identified as the most frequently abused substance in the U.S. today. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that of the 176.6 million people in this country that consume alcohol, as many as 17 million may have an alcohol use disorder or AUD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 88,000 deaths can be attributed to excessive alcohol use.

Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana or cannabis is the most frequently abused substance in the U.S. behind alcohol. In 2014, around 22.2 million people age 12 and up reported using the drug, according to information obtained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Legalization of marijuana in many states has made the drug more readily available to the general population, leading to concerns about the increased use and abuse of the substance. More than four million people in the past year have met the criteria for marijuana abuse, SAMHSA reported.

Benzodiazepine Abuse

Benzodiazepines are tranquilizing drugs that are frequently prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders. They fall under common names like Valium, Ativan or Xanax. Unfortunately, an increase in prescriptions for these drugs has also led to increased abuse and dependency. Those that become addicted to the prescription medications may eventually resort to illegal means to obtain enough of the drug to maintain their effects over time.

Stimulant Abuse

Stimulants consist of both prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, as well as illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Prescription stimulants have been used to treat a myriad of conditions, including ADD, asthma and a sleep disorder known as narcolepsy. When used for non-medical purposes, the drugs create a high that can become addictive to the user. SAMHSA reports that in 2014 alone, approximately 913,000 people in the U.S. abused cocaine, while another 476,000 had a disorder associated with the use of stimulants besides cocaine and methamphetamine.

Opioid Abuse

Both illicit opioids like heroin and prescription opioids prescribed for pain management fall into this category of substance abuse. The problem with opioid dependency has skyrocketed in recent years, in large part due to the increase in prescriptions written for these drugs. In addition to taking the drugs for non-medical reasons, people often use different methods to consume the substances to intensify the high they experience. This practice has led to an increase in overdoses and deaths related to opioid abuse. The most common prescription opioids abused today include oxycodone and fentanyl.

Hallucinogen Abuse

Hallucinogens like LSD and mushrooms are used to create a distorted sense of reality, sometimes referred to as a “trip.” MDMA, also known as Molly or ecstasy also features hallucinogenic properties while acting as a stimulant. This drug is frequently referred to as a club drug because it is often distributed at nightclubs and concerts. The long-term effects of these substances can be disturbing and dangerous, and addiction has also been associated with their ongoing use.

No matter what addiction you or someone you love might be struggling with now, the professional team at Serenity Oaks Wellness Center can help. We treat an extensive list of substance abuse disorders, as well as co-occurring disorders, to help our clients overcome their substance dependency and find new hope in recovery. To get the help you need today, contact Serenity Oaks Wellness Center at 844-720-6847.