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Substance misuse, or addiction to drugs or alcohol, is a recognized medical brain disorder. This psychiatric illness refers to the abuse of illegal or legal substances such as alcohol, opiates, cocaine, marijuana, and so on. Substance abuse causes serious problems at work, school, in relationships, and with the law.
These behaviors likely signal a problem with drug or alcohol use:
Though the exact cause of substance misuse and dependence is unclear, it likely involves a mix of genetic, environmental, and emotional factors. However, while the first use of drugs or alcohol is voluntary, continued use quickly causes changes in the brain so that a person no longer has control. Substance use disorders result in the compulsive need for the substance.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol is most often accompanied by additional mental health diagnoses including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Treatment for substance use disorders may incorporate a combination of group, family, and individual therapy targeted at medical stabilization, reducing the severity of the patient’s symptoms, and providing tools, ongoing support, and resources to prevent relapse and address co-occurring symptoms.
You may find these resources valuable to understand more about addiction to drugs and alcohol: