Substance abuse generally starts out as a good time, but it can quickly evolve into abuse and even addiction. You don’t need to be addicted, however, to experience the devastating effects of abuse, such as an accidental drug overdose or a deadly car accident while driving under the influence. Shabbir A. Chowdhury, MD, at Carolina Psychiatry, PC, has helped many patients overcome substance abuse and addiction with medication management and therapy. To get started on the road to recovery, call the office in Fayetteville, North Carolina, or schedule an appointment online.
Substance abuse means that you use an excessive amount of alcohol or drugs, and that you continue to use them despite the problems they may cause in your life. These problems may include:
Another common problem caused by substance abuse is that patients start to engage in risky or dangerous behaviors while they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You can abuse alcohol or drugs and not be addicted. But there’s a thin line between the two that you can easily cross as these substances change your brain chemistry.
You become addicted when you can’t ignore your cravings and can’t stop using the substance. Addiction is a brain disease that develops as overuse of alcohol or drugs physically alters the nerves in your brain. As these changes affect your brain’s natural reward system, you begin to crave the substance.
Cravings make you consume more, which leads to a progressive and harmful cycle. Increasing the amount you use makes your body build up a tolerance, so you must keep increasing your consumption to satisfy your cravings and achieve the same pleasurable feelings.
As your tolerance increases, your body starts to go through withdrawal when you stop using your substance. This is a sign that you’ve become dependent or addicted.
Dr. Chowdhury treats substance abuse by combining medically managed detoxification with therapy. You receive medication that allows you to stop using the substance without suffering from withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
As your body withdraws and your brain chemistry begins to return to normal, you receive therapy that’s designed to help you learn why you’re drawn to alcohol or drugs and to find ways to change your habits and behaviors.
If you abuse alcohol or drugs, or you suspect you have an addiction, you can get the medical support you need. Call Carolina Psychiatry, PC, or schedule an appointment online.