Addiction is a disease that changes the way your brain works, causing people to seek out dangerous substances and behaviors that can put their lives in jeopardy. An estimated 21 million Americans struggle with addiction, but only about 10% receive treatment. Jason Leonard, MD, FAAFP, DABOM, offers comprehensive addiction medicine at his offices in Columbia and Sumter, South Carolina. If you or a loved one is facing addiction, call or book online to find support and learn more about your options.
Addiction is characterized by the overwhelming urge to consume or use a substance, despite the negative effect that using might have on your health, safety, and quality of life. Also called substance use disorder, addiction is a medical condition that changes the way your brain works when you use a particular substance (legal or illegal).
Alcohol, nicotine, and opioid painkillers are all legal substances that are considered potentially addictive. A few common illegal drugs that are highly addictive are cocaine, methamphetamine, and nonmedicinal opioids like heroin.
Addiction may begin as experimental use of a drug. Over time, you might find that you use the drug more often and in larger doses. Eventually, it can become harder to go without the drug, and you might need it just to feel normal.
The compulsive urge to use a particular substance is the primary symptom of addiction. Other signs include going to extreme means to obtain and use it, taking more and more of it to achieve the same high, and neglecting responsibilities and social activities in favor of using the substance.
Some signs of addiction are less apparent to the person struggling with addiction, but the signs are visible to those around them. These may include unexplained changes in physical health or behavior or sudden problems at work or at school.
People with addictions often struggle to quit using, no matter how much they want to. But it’s important to know that there’s hope. Seeking medical care gives you support and expertise to help you recover, even if you’ve tried and failed before.
Dr. Leonard takes a holistic approach to addiction medicine. To successfully recover from addiction, you need support to stop using your substance and continue to stay free of it in the future.
Medications to help people recover from opioid dependence and other addictions work by slowly weaning the body off the drug. These medically assisted treatments work by minimizing physical withdrawal symptoms, allowing the patient to focus on behavior-changing counseling and reduce psychological dependence.
Depending on your addiction, Dr. Leonard can recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you. He partners with you to help you improve your health and regain your life through addiction medicine.
There’s hope for people suffering from addiction and substance abuse. To learn more about addiction medicine, book an appointment with Dr. Leonard online or over the phone.