Before and After Addiction

Written by Jackie Calkins

There’s a significant improvement to the quality of life someone leads before and after addiction. Addiction is similar to other chronic conditions including ways such as:

  • being preventable
  • it’s treatable
  • it changed biology
  • if left untreated, it has the ability to last a lifetime

Substance use disorder treatment gives people the tools needed to take back control of their lives and find what brings them happiness once more.

Substance Abuse In the US

Currently, the United States is facing a fentanyl crisis. The number of individuals reporting fentanyl abuse has jumped from 15,000 in 2016 to 37,000 in 2019.

More than 20 million people in the US were diagnosed with SUD in the last year, and only half were able to receive treatment. In 2019, about 71,000 people died in the US of a drug overdose.

There are many people who could benefit from an inpatient treatment program, or other form of substance abuse treatment.

Common Substances of Abuse

Some of the most commonly abused drugs in the US include:

  • opioids (prescription, fentanyl, heroin)
  • alcohol
  • benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants)
  • cocaine (coke, crack)
  • cannabis (marijuana, pit, weed)
  • hallucinogens
  • tobacco (nicotine, vaping)

Each drug is classified into five distinct categories or schedules by the US government. Depending on the drug’s acceptable medical use and its risk for developing dependency.

Each drug type will also have its own interactions with the body, causing symptoms and reactions based on substance use, co-occurring disorders, and time spent abusing substances.

Consequences and Effects of Substance Abuse

Drugs and alcohol have the ability to alter a person’s thinking, jugement, and behaviors. This can lead to increase health risks, including:

  • addiction
  • driving under the influence
  • infectious diseases
  • adverse effects on pregnancy
  • mental health issues

Some individuals may struggle with abusing more than one substance at a time, or dealing with co-occurring disorders. Abusing more than one substance, like opioids and alcohol, can lead to an increased risk of developing a mental health disorder.

Getting To Addiction Treatment

Admitting you need help is the first and most vital step to enrolling in substance abuse treatment. You cannot help a problem if you’re aware it’s there.

Many people struggle with this as they develop good coping mechanisms that help them appear as they should outwardly but they’re really fighting a war internally.

It takes great strength to ask for help, or to be asked to get help by people you love without turning your anger on them.

Substance abuse and addiction are not moral failings. Addiction is a disease and like all diseases, it will likely require professional medical assistance to overcome.

Things to Keep In Mind After Addiction Treatment

Because substance abuse is capable of altering brain structures, it’s vital to remain vigilant after leaving addiction treatment. Individuals who do best at maintaining their sobriety remember the following:

  • Don’t put themselves in high risk situations where they’re likely to want to use again.
  • Remember that relapse is not an indication the treatment has failed.
  • Keep in mind that addiction is a chronic disease.

The chronic nature of addiction means that some people will experience a relapse. This is considered part of the process, and new treatments are being developed everyday to help aid relapse prevention.

Finding Help No Matter What Phase of Recovery You’re In

Different medication and treatment types will likely be more beneficial at different stages of treatment.

Remember that the most effective treatments will treat withdrawal, provide and maintain support to stay in and complete treatment, and offer significant aftercare resources to prevent relapse.

To discover a treatment for you or a loved one today, contact our helpline or reach us online. The team at Journey Pure at The River is here to help you get your life back.


National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – NIDA IC Fact Sheet 2022

National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus – Drug Use and Addiction