Following International Drug Overdoes Awareness Day on August, 31 September is widely known as Recovery Month.  Today we are sharing some basic information on substance abuse in an effort to raise awareness.

Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and your behavior. When you become addicted to alcohol or other drugs, your brain reacts in certain ways so that a powerful urge to use these substances controls your behavior. When you are addicted, you use that addictive substance without thinking of the consequences, such as problems with health, money, relationships and performance at work or school.

What substances are addictive?

People can become addicted to alcohol, nicotine, illegal drugs and drugs that doctors prescribe. Some drugs may cause addiction more easily than others. When prescription drugs are taken correctly, there is a much smaller chance of becoming addicted. Prescription drugs can be dangerous if they are abused by taking more than the doctor prescribes, taking them when they are not needed or mixing them with other drugs or alcohol.

How do I know if I’m addicted?

You have a problem with drugs or alcohol if you continue to use them even when they cause problems with your health, finances, work, school or relationships. You may have a problem if you need to use more and more of the substance to obtain the same effect. Listen to loved ones who express concern over your behavior.

What treatments are available?

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. It may take a number of attempts before you can remain free of drugs or alcohol. Treatment can include counseling, medication or both. Your doctor will help you find the treatment that is right for you.

What can I do to help myself?

Understand that you can take control of what you do. You can’t control all the things that happen in your life, but you do have control over how you react, so use that control. The following are steps you should follow to help break your addiction:

  • Commit to quitting. Make a plan and follow it.
  • Get help from your doctor. Your doctor can give you support and help you find a treatment program that meets your needs. Your doctor can also treat withdrawal symptoms and other problems that you may have as you recover from your addiction.
  • Get support. Ask your family and friends for support. You can also contact organizations or groups that may help provide you with the tools and support you need to break your addiction and live a healthy, happy life.

You can access additional recovery tools by clicking here.

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