Understanding Substance Abuse Disorder: Breaking the Chains of Addiction By Bhoomika Garg

Understanding substance abuse disorder: Breaking the chains of addiction

Why do people use drugs when they know they might cause problems?

Is addiction a disease or a choice?

Are you a bad person, if you are an addict? 

Do addicts need to be punished? 

People often ask these questions when they hear the term addiction. If you also think of these questions then this article might help you to know better about addiction.

People use drugs for different reasons. For instance, some do it to escape reality, to relieve pain, or to deal with life challenges. Some people can be aware of harmful effects of drugs but find difficult to stop. It is because using drugs continuously changes our brain function. This effect is known as Addiction or Substance Use Disorder. It is an issue that is deeply rooted in biological, psychological, and social factors.

Let us investigate into what substance disorder is, its causes, effects, and its treatment.

What is Substance Use Disorder? 

Substance use disorder is described as the instinctive use of substance regardless of its harmful consequences. It is also known as addiction. These substances can include alcohol, illegal drugs like cocaine, prescribed medications like painkillers, and even some behaviors like gambling or binge eating.

After a certain time, person with substance abuse disorder develop endurance, needing more of the substance to achieve the desired effect which leads to physical and psychological dependence. 

Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of the substance abuse disorder differ from person to person. some of the factors that contribute to its development are 

  1. Genetics: The chances of developing substance use increases if a person comes from a family which has history of substance use disorder. For example- if the child mother has taken any type of substance during the pregnancy the chances are higher that the child is already an addict.
  2. Environment: Factors such as peer pressure, stress, trauma, and easy access to substances can increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. If a child comes from an environment where any kind of substance use was normalized then the child has higher risk of getting into an addiction.
  3. Mental Health: Sometimes a person with mental health disorders like depression or PTSD starts the use of substances in the name of self-medication. Major life changes can also lead to addiction such as heartbreak.

Effects of Substance Abuse Disorder 

Addiction can affect a person’s physical health, mental well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. Let us see some of the common affects:

  1. Physical health problems like cancer, weak immune systems, cardiovascular complications, and respiratory issues
  2. Mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, psychosis, stress, and cognitive impairment.
  3. Problematic relationships with family, friends, and colleagues due to strange, tricky, and lying behavior. 
  4. It can also lead a person to commit crimes like theft, or fraud to support the addiction.

Seeking help and treatment 

To win against the addiction, a person needs to take a professional help. They need support from loved ones, and strong willpower to change. Treatment options can include

  1. Detoxification: The very first step in treatment is detoxify. It helps the person to get rid of the substance from the body while the managing withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Therapy: Behavioural therapies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy {CBT}, group therapy, and motivational interviewing. Therapy helps persons to understand and tackle underlying issues. It also helps in learning coping mechanism and prevent relapse.
  3. Medication: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage the withdrawal symptoms, or treating co-existing mental health disorders. 
  4. Support Groups: Programs like Alcoholics anonyms [AA], BELIEVE, and Tribe Recovery provide peer support and encouragement throughout recovery journey. Support group helps the individual to maintain their motivation. The group members discuss their own stories and challenges and how they deal with it. 


According to WHO about 270 million people i.e. 5.5% of global population has used drugs in previous year. About 35 million of people are affected by addiction. 

Do you still think that addiction is a choice? Remember behind every struggle relies a story of hope and power of human emotions. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Bhoomika Garg
Article Authored By

Bhoomika Garg

Bhoomika has a passion for understanding and helping others navigate through life's challenges.

She has conducted psychological assessments, counselled trauma victims,  and also served as a school admission counsellor.

Disclaimer: This article has been written by a guest author as part of a mental wellbeing awareness campaign. You are advised to properly verify any advice given with qualified practitioners before following it. Also, for that reason it may not meet our usual standards. PsychoTech Services or any of its members or employees cannot be held liable for any damage or loss caused due to following the advice and recommendations given herein.

Join the discussion!
MJ Singh image
MJ Singh said…
This is a very important topic! Countless lives are destroyed because of Substance Use!
March 22, 2024 at 12:15 PM
Surojit image
Surojit said…
Extremely critical topic covered by Bhoomika in a well-structured manner. It focuses on all the vulnerable points that this menace is striking.
March 22, 2024 at 9:15 PM
Suresh Bhardwaj image
Suresh Bhardwaj said…
This topic present the current scieniro of the society and also give the remedies.
March 22, 2024 at 11:36 PM
Lavina image
Lavina said…
Brilliant topic Bhoomika, wish more and more people understand how substance is ruining our youth. Thanks for spreading awareness around this!!.
March 23, 2024 at 4:08 PM
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