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I’ve yet to meet a person who said, “When I was growing up, I wanted to become an addict or alcoholic.” And yet, in 2014 about 21.5 million Americans ages 12 and older (8.1% of the US population) were identified as having a substance use disorder.

Many people who have a substance use disorder also suffer from a mental health disorder, a condition known as co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder. Anxiety and depressive disorders are the most common types of mental health disorders associated with substance use disorders.

Most addictive disorders, whether substance abuse, sexual addiction, eating disorder, or gambling addiction, begin in early adolescence, a time when many young people experiment with new behaviors, including drugs, alcohol and sex. Today, Internet pornography is rampant and accessible to any age. Over-eating and snacking can easily grow out of control because adolescents tend to miss meals to keep up with their busy schedules. Peer group pressure to experiment with drugs/alcohol is a major factor leading to substance use disorders.

Excessive use of alcohol or drugs, viewing Internet pornography, or over-eating can put anyone at risk of developing an addictive disorder. Also, if substance abuse or other addictions are a part of a family of origin history, there is a good chance genetics play a role in developing an addictive disorder.

After a client’s first visit to the New Leaf Center, if a substance use disorder is indicated, we often invite them to come back for a thorough psychosocial evaluation. The purpose of this is to collect important data about an individual’s life, work history, school history, psychological history, etc. This history helps us to formulate a treatment plan designed specifically to help meet an individual’s needs and address substance use disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, family of origin issues, and other issues.

Problems such as substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, and other psychological and mental health issues often begin in early childhood or adolescence. Helping a person to simply stop current addictive behaviors will only lead them to find a new addiction if the underlying cause of their addiction is not addressed. For example, if there is untreated anxiety that contributes to a person’s addictive acting out, the individual will most likely end up using another method to self-medicate, which often leads to a new addictive disorder. Our goal is to help individuals identify and utilize healthy methods of coping with their anxiety rather than substitute unhealthy ways of dealing with it.

With more than 30 years of experience, the New Leaf Center provides thorough, experienced, and up-to-date substance use disorder treatment, and works to help the whole person – not just the addict. Click here for more information on our treatment programs, or call our office at 407-644-8588.

Dan Crockett, M.S., LMHC, CAP, CSAT-S
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Certified Addictions Professional
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist-Supervisor

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