Substance use disorder results in many changes to the sufferer’s behaviors and thought processes, which Washington addiction treatment centers seek to change. Any attempt to provide long-term recovery without focusing on these symptoms would not be complete. At the same time, effective treatment demands that facilities delve even deeper to look for the underlying causes of the patient’s substance use. Washington addiction treatment programs generally find that such causes include:
- Ongoing chemical changes in the brain
- Past abuse and other traumatic experiences
- Co-occurring mental and emotional disorders
Despite the role these issues play in the development of addiction, many addicts and alcoholics remain unaware of their significance. Washington addiction treatment facilities must educate their clients on these matters before treatment can prove effective. Naturally, it helps for clients to understand the importance of these underlying causes before they begin. Better comprehension of these causes will enable addicts and alcoholics to seek a treatment facility suited to provide the care they need.
In this light, the following information may help you or the addicted individual you care about to seek a facility offering comprehensive care, leading to a full and long-lasting recovery. Feel free to contact Aspire if you have any further questions or concerns.
Ongoing Chemical Changes
When a person uses mind-altering substances for an extended period of time, numerous changes occur in the brain. Dopamine regulation becomes altered, and the user experiences discomfort as they crave their substance of choice. Many even find it difficult to enjoy natural sources of pleasure such as food or sex until their cravings have been satisfied. Other changes to the brain include impaired judgment and decision-making, difficulty creating new memories, mood swings and reduced capacity for complex thought.
These effects worsen when users begin at an early age. Washington addiction treatment centers see this often, as approximately 11.4% of adolescents per year engage in illicit drug use while around 5.2% use prescription painkillers for non-medical purposes. Another 8.4% of Washington adolescents engage in problematic binge drinking. These statistics, collected from 2015 survey data by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), are problematic when compared to the national average. Primarily due to the rate of illicit drug use, Washington’s rate of adolescent substance abuse is higher than the national average.
A lack of risk perception may be at the heart of these troublesome statistics. Approximately 63.1% of Washington adolescents see no inherent risk in drinking to excess at least once or twice on a weekly basis, according to SAMHSA’s data. An even greater number, approximately 83.8%, do not believe there is a risk in using illicit drugs as long as they keep it to once per month. Unfortunately, these habits often gradually lead to greater frequencies of use due to the aforementioned changes in the brain.
This is especially true when the user harbors genetic predispositions toward addiction. Washington addiction treatment centers receiving patients with diminished risk perception must not only work to develop healthier routines, but also to push through any lingering denial they may experience regarding the problematic nature of their use.
Abuse and Traumatic Events
Numerous traumatic life experiences can lead to addiction when the emotions associated with the event result in a tendency toward escapism. Events and experiences common among patients at Washington addiction treatment centers include:
- Military-related stress
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Adverse childhood experiences
- Traumatic injury
- Loss of a loved one
Any of these events can lead to post-traumatic stress. Depending upon the nature of the experience, Washington addiction treatment programs may offer patients grief counseling or trauma therapy. There is some overlap between the two, and many clients require an approach that utilizes aspects of both.
Military-related stress may prove more common in Washington than in some other states, as the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs statistics spreadsheet indicates a large military presence. This includes well over half a million veterans, more than 44,000 soldiers in active duty, and nearly 19,000 on reserve. Also included in their statistics are more than two million family members. Relatively small numbers have received benefits for PTSD, incarceration, and traumatic brain injury. Despite the low numbers, however, there are presumably more cases that have not been reported to the VA.
Sexual assault and domestic violence are also major issues in Washington. According to the 2016 crime report by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, domestic violence accounts for 50.2% of all crimes against persons with 52,159 reported incidents of abuse. Incidents of sexual assault were reported 5,602 times.
Many victims of these crimes suffer for years after their initial assault. The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs produced statewide statistics indicating that they helped 22,573 victims in 2017. More than one third of women in Washington experience sexual assault at some point in their lifetime, with one fifth of these becoming victimized by multiple offenders.
A disturbing 80% of sexual assaults suffered by Washington females occur before they reach adulthood. In fact, many Washington drug programs must provide trauma therapy that focuses not only on overcoming sexual violence, but also on learning to cope with childhood abuse.
Washington was one of the first states to add questions regarding adverse childhood experiences to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey in 2009. Due to underreporting, however, Washington State Child Protective Services finds it difficult to accurately report statistics on these issues. Nonetheless, a 2011 DOH report indicated that at least 46,636 children were potentially subjected to mistreatment in their own homes. These were further divided into percentages of 70% physical neglect cases, 25% physical abuse, 5% sexual abuse, and less than 1% emotional abuse and abandonment.
These issues can have a long-lasting effect. Washington addiction treatment centers care for countless patients who suffered abuse and neglect in childhood and adolescence, leading not only to early initiation of substance use but also to a number of various behavioral disorders. This is a major concern for the Washington addiction treatment community, as co-occurring disorders already make up a large portion of the addict population in Washington State.
Co-Occurring Mental Disorders
According to SAMHSA’s behavioral health survey, more than 230,000 Washington adults suffer from serious mental illness. Each year, a comparable number experience suicidal ideation. Unfortunately, less than half of those who suffer from any mental illness receive professional counseling. Due to the lack of treatment received by those who need it, many resort to a practice known as “self-medicating.” In other words, they hide the symptoms of their mental illness with drugs and alcohol.
Washington addiction treatment programs must offer quality mental health treatment that accounts for these tendencies. Denied their substance of choice, addicts and alcoholics who suffer from mental illness will often begin exhibiting signs and symptoms that remained largely dormant when using mind-altering substances. Early in recovery, they must learn to deal with conditions that previously remained undiagnosed or simply ignored. Co-occurring disorders treated at Washington addiction treatment facilities may include:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
If left untreated, the consequences of these conditions can be severe. In many cases, untreated co-occurring disorders may lead to relapse if the patient stops using approved medications and returns to alcohol or illicit substances.
Treating the underlying causes of addiction is a major priority of Washington addiction treatment programs that offer their clients relapse prevention strategies. Only a comprehensive approach to mental health that accounts for both the substance use and its causes will suffice. Anything short of this will fail to provide the client with the tools they need to achieve long-term success in their recovery.
The Need for Individualized Care
Addicts and alcoholics who identify with any or all of the above issues should not settle for half measures. When seeking Washington addiction treatment for yourself or your loved one, take care to ensure that you are looking at dual diagnosis facilities with a strong focus on individualized care. Many facilities in Washington offer these services, helping numerous patients to recover by treating them holistically rather than focusing on their substance use alone.
Despite the quality of these facilities, it may prove best to look elsewhere in some instances. Such is the case for individuals who have lived in Washington for a long period during their active addiction. In these cases, Washington addiction treatment may still prove effective in the short-term, but relapse will be a greater threat upon leaving treatment. This is why many Washington addicts and alcoholics choose to forgo Washington addiction treatment altogether and seek help in another state such as California.
Washington Addiction Treatment
Aspire Health Network operates a number of California-based facilities that can help you treat the underlying causes of your struggles. One of the better options for Washington-based addicts may be Canyon View, which offers separate housing for men and women along with an experienced staff and a highly customized approach to treatment.
Due to the prevalence of intersex crime in Washington, many who have suffered from certain forms of abuse may find it beneficial to seek treatment at a facility that provides a strong focus on same-sex peer support. Additionally, Canyon View’s focus on lifelong sobriety will prove helpful to anyone who enters treatment with reservations regarding their ability to stay sober.
For more information on Canyon View, or any of Aspire’s other quality treatment facilities, please reach out for help today. Our staff will assist you as best as possible so that you may begin the healing process and start overcoming the causes of your addiction without delay.