If you’re reading this, you’re probably concerned about yourself or a loved one struggling with chemical dependency in Orange County. Understanding the causes, signs, and symptoms of chemical dependency can help provide a plan for recovery – and hope.
Chemical dependency is historically known as the term for substance use and addiction, primarily used for alcohol use, as well as misuse/abuse of other drugs and medications. Chemical Dependency is one of the most prevalent and hard-hitting diseases that affects every aspect of life. It’s classified as a primary disease in which your body becomes physically dependent on drugs or alcohol to operate smoothly. Most people who use substances don’t want their lives to be ruined by continued use but can’t stop because the dependency has become just too powerful to overcome.
Substance use precedes chemical dependency. When a person is engaging in substance use, their attraction to a substance is primarily physiological – they get some sort of pleasure or satisfaction from it. However, someone who is seldomly engaging in substance use such as drinking an after-work cocktail, will not typically feel physical withdrawal symptoms once the substance has left their body.
Once substance abuse becomes chemical dependency, however, the body has a physical need for the substance. That’s why when someone tries to quit using addictive substances without first undergoing medical rehab treatment, then they will experience withdrawal symptoms and be at a higher risk for relapse. When they quit taking that substance, they start experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. In fact, attempts at self-detoxification can even be fatal. Some symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Anxiety attacks
These symptoms typically continue until the person uses the addictive substance again, or until these feelings subside through detoxification.
Chemical dependency causes damage not only to the person struggling with it, but also to family members, friends, and other loved ones.
Chemical dependence can be difficult to identify because most people think of it as an occasional social use problem. However, chemical dependency goes beyond social drug use or occasional drinking. By looking at the signs and symptoms of chemical dependency, it becomes clearer whether someone should see help from trained professionals.
The signs and symptoms of chemical dependency include:
- Increased dosage or use of the substance in question because low doses no longer provide relief from cravings.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms without using the substance.
- Becoming aware of the negative effects the substance use is having in one’s life but continuing to use it anyway.
- Prioritizing the substance use over family, friends, health, work, or other important parts of life.
- Mood changes, violent behavior, and broken promises.
- Becoming fixated on acquiring more of the substance, even though illegal means.
- Withdrawing from family members, friends, and former loved ones in favor of those who enable substance use.
- Finding that activities which previously provided enjoyment and satisfaction no longer feel fulfilling. Instead, the only sense of relief comes when the substance is acquired and used.
Though often associated with illegal substances, it is possible to become dependent on legal substances. Commonly abused substances include:
- Prescription medications such as pain pills, stimulants, or anxiety pills
- Over-the-counter medicines
Legal and illegal substances can negatively affect an individual’s life. However, becoming chemically dependent on illegal substances frequently brings additional challenges and pain. Simply put, the legal consequences of dependency can completely disrupt one’s work, relationships, and even future opportunities.
Combating chemical dependency can feel daunting or even impossible on one’s own. But there is hope. At our treatment programs in Anaheim, CA and Aliso Viejo, CA, we have a physician-led team of chemical dependency and substance abuse professionals. In our experience, we know that chemical dependency often co-occurs with mental and behavioral health conditions. That’s why our approach treats chemical dependency as a co-occurring issue with other mental health conditions simultaneously.
Our team is experienced in medical detoxification and addiction treatment. Our hospitals are ideal for creating an environment where patients can get the detox treatment and 24/7 monitoring that they need to start their road to recovery. Clinicians are on standby to help with severe effects of detoxification treatment, including delirium tremens (DTs).
We can help answer any question you have about our chemical dependency treatment programs and our behavioral health hospitals. Additionally, a member of our team can help schedule you or a loved one for a free, confidential mental health assessment.