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Let’s Talk about Chemical Dependency

It is sometimes difficult for an individual who has never struggled with addictive tendencies to understand why someone would continually struggle with chemical dependencies. Year after year, millions of men and women in the United States have to face the daily challenges of this struggle, and it affects many different aspects of their lives: their work, their home life, their relationships with friends and family. For many, the struggle continues around the clock, and can become extremely draining and life-threatening in many circumstances. It is always critical to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms that may occur before the problem takes too deep of a hold; however, there are numerous people who have not had that luxury, and are facing years and years of chemical dependency issues.

Being chemically dependent has often been viewed as a “vice” or a person’s inability to control their own actions in the past. However, research shows that a portion of the population is genetically predisposed towards addiction to various chemical addictions. Usually when this occurs, there is a significant lack of production of dopamine and serotonin levels in that individual’s brain. The stimulants that they then try create a feeling of “normalcy” for a period of time, and in a sense take a place in lieu of the natural chemicals that are found in our brains.

Other factors that can potentially help foster chemical dependency are environmental factors, such as one’s place of residence or the direct influence of the environment they live in currently, or grew up in.  The availability and the accessibility of these chemicals can also count as environmental factors as well, i.e. being exposed to a particular drug within easy reach at a younger age. Then you have to factor in the psychological aspects of why one is requiring chemicals in the first place. Generally an individual will be utilizing these types of chemicals to fill a void in their life, whether physical, emotional or to deal with a mental or behavioral health problem such as depression, loneliness and so on.

Chemical dependency is considered a primary disease, meaning that it is not a form of or a spinoff of something else. It has specific symptoms and is readily identifiable as different from work-related stress, difficulty with relationships and so on. Usually the symptoms of dependency will worsen over time if left untreated, which makes it fairly critical to get help as soon as possible for a man or woman suffering from addiction. Around 100 overdoses occur every day in the United States, leading to death for individuals who have lost the battle with chemical dependency.  Long-term use can also affect the proper functioning of particular organs and systems of the body that should be working well as an average man or woman continues to age.

The reality is that almost anyone can develop an addiction to chemicals. And become dependent on them given the right opportunities, situations, environment and lack of oversight or addressing of the issue. The symptoms of chemical dependency can appear as follows:

  • Lack of care in one’s personal hygiene
  • Significant personality or behavioral changes
  • Suffering from various physical ailments that never took place in the past
  • Engaging in lying behavior
  • A withdrawal from friends, family or children
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • A decline in one’s physical health and appearance
  • An increasing inability to pay attention to one’s surroundings or conversations
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased isolation from friends
  • An increase in embarrassing social behavior
  • Disorganized schedules
  • Acting out in work, or conducting inappropriate behavior in the workplace

These are just some of the more prominent symptoms to be aware of in an individual who is experiencing chemical dependency.  Take notice of any changes of behavior or concerning patterns that would be considered outside of the norm if you suspect a loved one may be dealing with this particular situation.

So when we finally are able to diagnose an individual who is struggling with this particular addiction issue, we firmly believe that a combination of behavioral modification and highly structured therapy is one of the best tools for tackling this issue in men and women. In many cases an individual might be afflicted with a dual diagnosis, which is when an individual is struggling with both a chemical dependency issue and a particular emotional or mental health challenge, or behavioral health issue.

Investing in your long-term health care can be a painful process at times, especially when chemical dependency is involved. However, a qualified mental health facility is going to be a key element in the ongoing recovery process and in ensuring that a thorough analysis has been completed in order to achieve optimal success.  Our mental and behavioral health facilities offer both inpatient and outpatient services that can meet one’s particular schedule or requirements.

Contact us today for a completely free and confidential assessment if you are concerned that you are struggling with chemical dependency, or if you are worried that a close family member or friend is dealing with this issue.

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