Substance use disorders affect people all across America. As addiction is getting more attention in the media and slowly becoming destigmatized, more people feel comfortable seeking help.
Addictions can come in almost any form, from substance use to internet gambling. In River North, IL, addiction is something that many people struggle with, but options are available to help overcome these dependencies. Help is never too far out of reach, and you’re never alone.
Gateway Foundation is dedicated to helping you overcome your addiction and prevent relapse through therapy and treatment, so you can get back to living a fulfilling substance-free life.
While having an addiction can feel like a solitary battle, knowing that you’re not alone can be comforting. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.7% of U.S. adults aged 26 and older report having a substance use disorder. For adults aged 18-25, that number jumps to 14.1%.
In River North, some addictions are more prevalent than others. The following are some of the most common addictions in the area.
Of all the drugs and substances that currently exist, alcohol’s legality makes it the most harmful one. Nearly every form of media sensationalizes alcohol in some way. Commercials highlight the allure of drinking, and our favorite celebrities and music artists make work centered around how fun alcohol can be. Drinking at parties, social gatherings and celebrations is an accepted social norm. Alcohol is available at nearly every grocery or convenience store, and even family restaurants offer beer or alcohol as part of their regular menu.
Alcohol’s widespread acceptance can make it challenging to view it as an addictive substance with harmful side effects. The reality, however, is that alcohol addiction can take over someone’s life.
Like the rest of the U.S., River North, IL prohibits the sale of alcohol to individuals under the age of 21. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop teenagers or young adults from gaining access to it. Underage drinking is a health concern across the entire country. It’s estimated that 29% of high school students consume alcohol, and 14% of these students binge drank. Forming these patterns early in life increases the odds of developing an addiction in adulthood, especially for those with a family history of alcohol addiction.
Recovery is possible for those with an alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder. While there will be side effects when you or your loved one decide to quit, there are resources that can assist with the recovery process.
Tobacco is another substance you can use legally after age 21 in River North, but as with alcohol, that use comes with dangers attached.
Nicotine, an addictive chemical compound, is present in all tobacco products. In the United States alone, 34 million adults smoke cigarettes or some other form of tobacco product, and three-fourths of these adults use this substance every day.
An addiction to tobacco products starts in youth for many people. Nearly one-fourth of high school students use tobacco, including vapes and e-cigarettes. While they don’t contain combustible elements, e-cigarettes and vapes still include nicotine and pose a risk for developing an addiction.
Some people struggle to give up tobacco products due to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that accompany quitting nicotine. Though it can be tempting to continue using to prevent those unpleasant feelings, as you recover from tobacco, your body will clear away the chemicals, leaving it healthier and functioning better overall.
Illinois made the sale of recreational marijuana legal starting January 1, 2020. However, just like alcohol and tobacco, a legal substance can still be addictive.
As marijuana consumption has become more popular, misinformation has spread about how safe the substance is. Since marijuana doesn’t contain an addictive chemical compound like nicotine, there is a common misconception that it’s impossible to develop a marijuana dependency. While it isn’t a chemically addictive substance, however, it is possible to form a mental dependence on marijuana. This type of dependency is a particular risk for people using it to self-medicate stress and other symptoms of mental health conditions.
Smoking or consuming marijuana in any form can result in several side effects. Any type of smoke damages the lungs, and THC, a compound found in marijuana, enters the bloodstream regardless of the method you choose to consume it. THC travels through your bloodstream and over-activates parts of your brain. This effect heightens physical senses while impairing your memory and sense of time. If you smoke every day and in excessive amounts, you may experience severe symptoms such as psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations.
Though it’s possible to use marijuana without developing a dependency, three out of ten people who use cannabis have a marijuana use disorder. People with addictive personalities are more likely to become dependent on marijuana.
One of the dangers of marijuana use is that many people believe it’s a gateway drug to more severe or damaging substances. If you’re experiencing difficulty quitting marijuana, there are plenty of resources out there to help you overcome your addiction.
Misuse of prescription medications has become an epidemic in the U.S. as more people develop addictions to these drugs. In Illinois, the opioid epidemic is one of the biggest substance use problems, and opioids account for 80% of overdose deaths. Opioid addiction usually starts when a doctor has prescribed medication for legitimate health reasons but the patient receives insufficient education about the risks associated with its use or how to take their medication without developing addiction-forming patterns.
Heroin, classified as an opioid, is an effective model for how the addiction process works. When taking opioids, the brain receives an extra rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel pleasure. That burst of dopamine is what makes opioids so addictive. As you use more, your body develops tolerance and dependence. It takes a higher dosage to achieve the same dopamine rush, and a stronger addiction develops.
It is possible to overcome opioid addictions. If a loved one is struggling with this addiction, offer them your support and research what treatment options are available to you.
Benzodiazepines, also referred to as benzos, are sedatives and another type of frequently misused prescription drug. One well-known benzo is Xanax, often prescribed to people with anxiety or panic disorders. These sedatives offer a sense of euphoria that often leads to their misuse. Using other substances like alcohol or opioids with benzos amplifies the benzos’ effects. When taking benzodiazepines over an extended period, people can develop a dependency and addiction that requires treatment to resolve.
Withdrawal symptoms for benzodiazepine addictions include blurred vision, irritability, restlessness, muscle tension and, in severe cases, seizures and hallucinations. If you or someone you know is addicted to benzos, treatment options are available.
It’s best to seek a treatment program specializing in benzodiazepines to determine the best treatment method. Treatment can range from addiction therapy to supervised detox. These programs can help you recover in a stable environment with a comprehensive support network supporting you through treatment.
Though the high associated with cocaine is why many people keep using it, that high doesn’t last long.
The after-effects of a cocaine high include anxiety, confusion and irritation at minor things. The unpleasant aftermath drives people to use more of it, and soon their body begins to develop a tolerance and reliance on the drug. Eventually, the compulsion begins to affect their relationships with the people around them, their physical health and their ability to stay focused on the moment.
A compulsion to use is a clear signpost for addiction, which can happen before you realize it. While it can be easy to convince yourself that everything is fine, long-term cocaine use can lead to various health conditions. Quitting is the best way to keep your body healthy and sustain your personal and professional relationships, but detoxing at home poses dangers. Instead, look for a professional treatment program or group to help you overcome this addiction.
Though it may be difficult, asking for help is a sign of strength. Many programs specialize in cocaine addiction and can help you detox in a safe environment. Professional guidance is often the best way to avoid a relapse in the future. These programs can help you recover from your addiction, and they can provide you with valuable tools to avoid triggers and get your life back on track.
Addiction recovery is possible, and many resources exist to help you get started on your journey. Deciding to make healthy life changes is commendable and the first and biggest hurdle when making a recovery. Some people choose not to address their addiction or seek help for several reasons, such as:
While all of these reasons are understandable, moving forward with treatment can improve your health, relationships and life overall. Addiction treatment is the best way to recover from substance use and substance use disorders and get your life back on track. If you’re ready to begin your recovery, these are some steps you can take to get started:
Deciding you need treatment for your addiction is an admirable first step on your journey toward a healthy, fulfilling life. At Gateway Foundation, we can teach you healthy coping mechanisms to help you continue your recovery after you’ve completed your treatment with us. We help you identify your triggers and teach you how to handle them when they come up in your life. Our expert staff will be with you for every step of the journey, and we’ll be with you for life.
You don’t have to struggle alone. If you or a loved one are experiencing trouble with addiction, reach out for help and contact Gateway Foundation to start your road to recovery.