Substance Abuse Causes Consequences and Paths to Healing 

Substance abuse is a serious issue that affects people from all walks of life. It is a pattern of harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. Substance abuse can have devastating effects on a person’s health, relationships, and overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the symptoms and causes of substance abuse and how to address it. 

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can have a wide range of symptoms, depending on the type of substance being used and the severity of the addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of substance abuse include: 

  • Increased tolerance to the substance, leading to the need for larger doses to achieve the same effect. 
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not available, including anxiety, irritability, and physical discomfort. 
  • Spending a significant amount of time and money obtaining and using the substance. 
  • Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities, including work, school, and relationships. 
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or unprotected sex. 
  • Continuing to use the substance despite negative consequences, such as health problems or legal issues. 

In some cases, the symptoms of substance abuse may be difficult to detect, especially in the early stages of addiction. However, if you suspect that you or someone you know may be struggling with substance abuse, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible. 

Causes of Substance Abuse

There is no single cause of substance abuse, as it can be influenced by a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes of substance abuse include: 

  • Genetics: Some people may be more predisposed to substance abuse due to genetic factors. Studies have shown that certain genes may be associated with an increased risk of addiction, including genes that affect the way the brain responds to rewards and the way the body processes substances. 
  • Environment: Growing up in an environment where substance abuse is prevalent can increase the risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. This could include living in a home where a parent or other family member struggles with addiction, or being part of a social group where drug or alcohol use is normalized. 
  • Mental health issues: People with mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, may turn to substances as a way to cope with their symptoms. Substance abuse can provide a temporary escape from feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. However, it can quickly lead to addiction and worsen mental health symptoms in the long run. 
  • Peer pressure: Pressure from friends or social circles to use drugs or alcohol can lead to substance abuse. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults, who may feel pressure to fit in with their peers and engage in risky behaviors to prove themselves. 
  • Trauma: People who have experienced traumatic events, such as abuse or neglect, may turn to substances as a way to numb their emotional pain. Substance abuse can provide a temporary escape from feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. However, it can quickly lead to addiction and worsen mental health symptoms in the long run. 

It’s important to note that substance abuse is not a choice or a moral failing. It is a complex disorder that requires a comprehensive approach to treatment. 

How to Address Substance Abuse

Addressing substance abuse can be a challenging process, but it’s essential for long-term recovery and overall well-being. Some effective ways to address substance abuse include: 


1. Seeking Professional Help 

A licensed therapist or counselor can provide support and guidance for those struggling with substance abuse. They can help individuals identify the root causes of 

their addiction, develop coping mechanisms for triggers, and establish a plan for recovery. Professional help can come in the form of individual therapy, group therapy, or inpatient treatment programs. 


2. Medication-Assisted Treatment 

For some people, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be an effective tool in addressing substance abuse. MAT involves using medication, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, to help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications can be used in combination with therapy to help individuals maintain sobriety. 


3. Support Groups 

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide a sense of community and connection for those in recovery. These groups offer a safe space for people to share their experiences, struggles, and triumphs, and to receive support from others who understand what they are going through. 


4. Lifestyle Changes 

In addition to seeking professional help, making positive lifestyle changes can also be beneficial in addressing substance abuse. This can include adopting a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and establishing a regular sleep schedule. These changes can help individuals manage stress and improve their overall well-being, which can support their recovery. 


5. Addressing Underlying Issues 

As mentioned earlier, substance abuse can often be linked to underlying mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. It’s important to address these issues as part of the recovery process. This can involve seeking treatment for mental health issues or attending support groups specifically designed for people with dual diagnoses. 


In conclusion, substance abuse is a complex issue that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. However, it is treatable, and recovery is possible. By seeking professional help, making positive lifestyle changes, and addressing underlying issues, individuals can take steps toward long-term recovery and overall well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are resources available to support you on your journey to recovery. 

About The Author

Dr. Krisca is a highly-educated and skilled physician who has obtained a BS Public Health degree from the University of the Philippines Manila and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the De La Salle Medical Health Sciences Institute. She is a licensed physician and also a Registered Medical Technologist. She has received additional training in Hemodialysis for Non-Nephro Physicians on duty and has completed online courses in related fields like depression in populations from John Hopkins University and positive psychiatry from The University of Sydney. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of International Health in the University of the Philippines. 


Dr. Krisca is known for her outstanding skills and compassionate approach to healthcare that make a positive impact on people’s lives. Through her passion for healthcare, she hopes to make a difference in the world and help people lead healthier, happier lives. 

Experience EVA Teleconsult