When people refer to substance abuse, they are talking about the harmful use of prescription medications, illegal drugs or alcohol. When substances are abused they are being used to satisfy cravings that commonly follow as people continue to use drugs or alcohol. This pattern of behavior often leads to addiction or substance use disorder, which is an illness requiring specialist attention at an inpatient treatment center. Elevate is one of the best heroin rehab centers offering treatment for heroin in San Francisco and nearby.

What Is Considered Harmful Use?

Generally speaking, substance use has crossed the line into abuse if it is causing any of the following problems and individuals are recommended to seek help at residential or outpatient rehab San Francisco:

  • Health complications
  • Disabilities
  • Inability to meet responsibilities at home or work
  • Impaired control over substance use
  • Risk-taking activities such as casual sexual encounters or sharing needles
  • Social issues and damaged personal relationships

In other words, if an individual is drinking enough to cause them to suffer hangovers when they stop or they are taking drugs that have introduced them to enabling influences and places, their substance use is almost certainly at the abuse level. There are around 15,000 substance abuse treatment centers in America including Elevate outpatient rehab in and near San Francisco.

What is the Definition of a Substance?

In the majority of cases where substance abuse is being discussed, it refers to illegal drugs. However, times have changed and there are more people facing a need to heroin drug treatment in San Francisco than ever before who started out taking prescription opioids for chronic health conditions. It is important that there is an awareness that certain prescription medications have as much addictive potential as their illegal alternatives. For that reason, when talking about substances it is more accurate to include anything that has a remotely addictive potential, including alcohol.

Is Recreational Substance Use Considered Potentially Abusive?

There is a school of thought among addiction professionals that using any illegal drug at any time is abusive behavior. Conversely, there are those who believe that occasional or recreational use of drugs or alcohol is not harmful. It is fair to say that substance abuse varies in severity from person-to-person and also in the way it presents its characteristics in each case.

The issue is that addiction to any substance brings about changes in the brain’s chemistry that take away a person’s free-will to use as and when they wish. Whereas initially, they may have made a conscious choice to join in with friends by taking drugs or binge drinking, once they have started to abuse substances they slowly lose grip on their self-control. Addiction is characterized by a compulsion to use drugs or alcohol that is so overwhelming that sufferers feel as though they have no choice but to give in to cravings.

When a person is unable to resist cravings or seeks to medicate the withdrawal symptoms that emerge whenever they stop using, it is almost certainly because they have developed substance use disorder or addiction. However, there are numerous outpatient and inpatient treatment centers for those seeking to overcome their issues.

Yes, Alcohol Is a Drug

Many people feel that drug addiction and alcoholism are somehow different. In fact, alcohol is a highly addictive drug in its own right. The fact that it is legal for adults over 21 to drink alcohol has normalized alcohol consumption to such a degree that many people are unaware that they have a problem. The reality is that it doesn’t take much alcohol to reach an abusive level and if people continue to consume it, over time they are likely to develop substance use disorder or addiction.

Is Substance Use Causing Harm?

For legal substances like alcohol and prescribed drugs such as OxyContin or Percocet, the line between use and abuse is blurred. This is mainly because individuals naturally feel as though they are able to safely consume alcohol or prescription meds because they aren’t breaking any laws. Knowing when their substance use is crossing the line into abuse is something only the individual can determine. Generally speaking, the main question to ask should be, “is this causing me and those around me harm?”

The most significant warning sign of substance abuse is that the individual continues to use alcohol or drugs even though it is having an adverse effect on their lives. The compulsion that drives people to abuse substances can make obtaining and using drugs or alcohol a preoccupation. When a person’s focus shifts suddenly from their work or home responsibilities to getting the next fix, this is a red flag that they have developed substance use disorder or addiction.

Getting Help for Substance Abuse

Elevate holistic treatment centers in San Francisco offer a comprehensive detox, rehab and aftercare program that contains several holistic components. Due to the fact that substance abuse has such a powerful effect on a person’s emotional, physical and psychological health, holistic practices such as mindfulness and physical exercise are effective in reversing some of the damage done.

The objective of holistic substance abuse inpatient treatment centers is to provide individuals with other healthier ways of coping with the stresses of daily life. All addictive substances contain chemicals that are toxic to the body and the mind because of the chemical imbalances in the brain they cause when abused. The holistic approach to detox and rehab ensures individuals find healing in natural and gentle ways that do not simply replace one dependency with another.