Everyone knows that addictions are harmful, because they often cause serious physical, psychological, social and financial problems for people who struggle with them. An addict will likely become consumed by her condition, and she will be unable to function in everyday life without attending to her addiction needs. But, while most people understand these aspects of addiction, the following facts about addiction tend to surprise many people:

  • Addiction is unpredictable—it can happen to anyone at any time
  • Many addicts suffer from co-occurring disorders, meaning they have an addiction alongside at least one other mental health condition
  • Relapse happens to many people during recovery
  • Addiction is a disease that is completely treatable

The more you learn about addiction, the better prepared you will be to combat it.

 

Who Can Become an Addict?

A lot of people assume that addictions only occur to people who frequently abuse substances, so they think that engaging occasionally in substance abuse is a safe way to avoid addiction. They also believe that addiction only occurs in people who are weak-willed, or in people who have family members that also struggle with addiction. However, the reality is that anyone can develop an addiction, no matter how many times he’s used the substance, and no matter if he has a family history of addiction or not. Many substances, especially illegal ones like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause people to develop an addiction after a single use. And, even some legal substances, such as cigarettes and alcohol, have the potential for addiction after only a few uses.

 

What Are Co-occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders happen when someone has two or more health conditions, especially mental health conditions, at the same time. These disorders frequently involve substance abuse disorder and the following mental health disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Mood disorders, the most common of which include depression and bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders, but antisocial and paranoid personality disorders are quite frequent
  • Psychotic disorders, but schizophrenia is common

The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 8.4 million American adults, or 40.7 percent of the population that had a substance abuse disorder, had another mental health condition alongside drug abuse. Additionally, people who reported having at least one mental illness were twice as likely to also use illegal drugs (26.7 percent versus 13.2 percent of the respective populations). These numbers reflect the relationship between drug use and mental illness, whether the mental illness develops from the drug use or the drug use is a form of self-medication.

 

Relapse and Addiction Recovery

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, relapse is common in addiction recovery, and its relapse style is similar to relapse in other chronic diseases, like asthma, hypertension and type I diabetes. Furthermore, the NIDA clarifies that addiction relapse doesn’t mean the person has failed in her rehab, but rather that her individual treatment plan needs to be monitored and potentially revised or reinstated.

 

Treatment for Addiction

Some people think that, when someone is addicted to a substance, his situation is hopeless and nobody can help him. But, addiction is a disease that is completely treatable with professional help. The key to addiction recovery is receiving individualized and holistic care from a rehab center that treats the user’s specific type of addiction.

 

Find Help for Addiction

Addictions are complex and confusing mental health conditions that medical professionals do not fully understand. If you have questions about addiction and are unsure of whom to talk to, our admissions coordinators are available right now to answer your questions. Our toll-free helplines are open 24 hours a day, and our staff can talk to you about addiction and its treatment. Give us a call today to begin recovery.