Substance Abuse Specialist

Eaton Medical Associates

Internal Medicine & Addiction Medicine located in Methuen, MA

Many people shrug off substance abuse as nothing more than consuming a little more than average, but you can quickly and easily cross the line between abuse and addiction. Anthony Eaton, MD, at Eaton Medical Associates in Methuen, Massachusetts, specializes in helping people with substance abuse detox and changing their habits to restore their health and wellness. If you need help with substance abuse, call or schedule an appointment online today to learn about your treatment options.

Substance Abuse Q & A

What does substance abuse mean?

Substance abuse, also called substance use disorder, means that you excessively consume alcohol or drugs. You can abuse many different substances, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cannabis
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids
  • Sedatives
  • Hypnotics
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco

Though you can overuse these substances without developing an addiction, substance abuse significantly increases your risk of becoming dependent.

How does substance abuse become an addiction?

Alcohol and drugs stimulate your brain’s pleasure system, triggering a surge of brain chemicals that make you feel good, improve your mood, and take away your pain.

As you keep overusing these substances, they gradually cause physical changes in your brain. As a result, it depends on the substance and develops intense cravings.

Once you have cravings, you also develop withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the substance. Before long, you need to increase your dose to achieve the same feelings. At this point, you cross the line from substance abuse to addiction.

What symptoms indicate substance abuse?

Many people have a hard time deciding when the amount they consume qualifies as excessive. If you have any of the following symptoms, chances are you have substance use disorder:

  • Taking the substance in a larger amount than most people
  • Taking the substance for a longer time than prescribed
  • Wanting to cut back or stop but being unable to follow through
  • Spending too much time using or recovering from the substance
  • Failing to meet your work or family responsibilities
  • Giving up social or recreational activities
  • Continuing to use the substance even knowing you have a problem
  • Needing ever-increasing amounts to get the same feeling
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms

When symptoms such as irritability, nausea, or shakiness get better by consuming more of your substance, it’s a sure sign of substance abuse.

How is substance abuse treated?

For the first step, you need to detox from the substance under Dr. Eaton’s guidance. Even if you only consume too much, you can still experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings that make it difficult, if not impossible, to stay away from the substance without medical support.

Dr. Eaton prescribes medications that stop cravings and withdrawal symptoms. With his close supervision, you can take these medications at home, safely detoxing while still going to work and staying involved in your daily life.

In addition to medication, Dr. Eaton also recommends therapy. Medication helps you detox and restores brain chemistry, but counseling gives you the information and coping skills you need for a successful, long-term recovery.

If you need help with substance abuse, call Eaton Medical Associates, or book an appointment online today.