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Substance Abuse In Florida - A Mental Condition?

Jul 23, 2008
Check out the addiction treatment program in Florida and you will find how much emphasis is laid on the concept of substance abuse being a mental condition. Today, substance abuse in Florida is considered to be on par with other conventionally known mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, stress disorder, depression, schizophrenia, hallucinations, phobias, etc. Just as these ailments reside in the mind and control the person from that dominating center, even substance abuse is believed to be a controller of the user's body from a point within the brain.

Why is Substance Abuse in Florida considered to be a Mental Illness?

For years, various approaches had been forwarded by experts to explain why substance abuse makes a person so captivated by it the way it does. Till about a decade ago, substance abuse in Florida was still thought to be a habit, just as any other simple habit that a person might suffer from. It was believed that in a highly controlled environment, the person will be able to come out of this "habit" completely. That was the approach to addiction treatment anyway. People who were under various forms of addiction were subjected to torturous punishments in treatment centers when they were not able to keep away from using the substance because substance abuse was considered to be no more than a "habit" and the general belief was that all habits can definitely be controlled.

However, today the situation has changed drastically. Today we know that substance abuse is not a mere "habit". It is something even larger than a dependency though we name it as that most of the time. When a person consumes a particular addictive substance, it might trigger the brain to release some pleasure inducing hormones. This is what creates the rush of emotions in the person which he or she begins to enjoy immensely.

Once this rush is produced, it is recorded in the right centers of the brain. Some time later, the brain will want to duplicate that feeling. This is when the brain sends messages that it wants more of the substance. This leads the person to obtain more of the same drug and use it to experience that heady feeling.

This is the cycle that keeps continuing now. The brain asks for more of the substance, the body provides it, the brain gets the euphoric sensation and sometime later it asks for more of the substance. If the body is not able to give the substance to the brain when it asks, it may react in violent ways, which is what withdrawal is all about.

The Dangers of Substance Abuse being a Mental Condition

The whole point here is that being a mental condition, substance abuse is much more difficult to treat. A habitual tendency can be easily controlled with some measure of strictness. But that is not possible in the case of the mental dependency that substance abuse creates. Over time, the brain will want to have more and more of the substance, and the body will be forced to give it. The person will begin overstepping the dosage and a time will come when the person will not know that amount of the substance being used is now getting in fatally deep waters. This is what we commonly call as an overdose.

Being a mental condition, substance abuse is much more difficult to treat. It is difficult to shake a habit that gets so deeply ingrained in the person's body and mind. Also, if the substance abuse is tried to be treated earlier, there's a much higher chance of complete recovery than later. This is, of course, another evidence that substance abuse is a mental condition.

How is Substance Abuse in Florida treated?

In the light of substance abuse being a mental condition, the treatment program in Florida for it is much stricter and focuses a lot on the mental aspect of the addiction. You can see an example of that with the dual diagnosis treatment program in which the person is treated simultaneously for the addiction as well as for an underlying coexisting condition which could very well be a mental problem. In such treatment methods, the treatment oscillates between treating the person for the addiction and for the coexisting condition.

Even in a single treatment approach, substance abuse is treated with care and counseling just as a mental condition would be handled. There is a detox treatment, but this is always followed by a lengthy aftercare program which would help the patient in really coming out of the addiction and into a life of complete sobriety.
About the Author
Visit substance abuse in Florida in order to read more on this subject and others related to addiction treatment in the state.
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