Substance abuse must be identified first before it can be treated. The distinction between occasional use and substance abuse focuses on many variables. People who become addicted to substances often minimize or hide use, pretending to everyone, including themselves, that everything is fine. Continued use of substances in spite of consequences is just one symptom of addiction.

Powerful Dynamics

Addiction is powerful and difficult to overcome without the right support. Learn the four key components of addiction and how to understand the dynamics associated with substance abuse.


When a compulsion becomes the driving force, a person loses the power of individual choice over substance use. Compulsive behavior is not rational and results in a person making several unsuccessful attempts to regulate use of substances.

Continued Use In Spite of Consequences

Addiction that is out of control will continue in spite of negative consequences. Substance abuse affects everything from relationships to work, health, finances and the ability to maintain control over one’s life. Personal and financial security, comfort and other things will take a back seat to addiction. Legal consequences can also occur which may alter the course of a person’s life.


Cravings may occur daily or experienced in regular binges. A person with cravings for drugs or alcohol will experience intense psychological preoccupation with obtaining and using the substance. Cravings typically do not feel good to the person experiencing them because absolutely nothing will satisfy the desire to use the substance except doing just that. It takes therapeutic support and oftentimes rehabilitation programs to build a mindset that can shift away from craving drugs towards focusing on healthier alternatives, even when cravings may still exist.


Denial is a distortion of perception caused by craving. The individual using will feel pressure of cravings and become blinded to the risks and consequences. Even when life seems to fall apart, the individual may deny anything is wrong or has happened negatively as a result of denial of addiction.

Psychological versus Biological

People who use substances may do so to enhance their perception of the world. Substances can fulfill many functions for a person including extra sensory perception, feelings of self-worth, alleviation of stress or even painful feelings. As substance use becomes more frequent and uncontrollable, the person may develop new coping skills for dealing with addiction which have a negative impact. Life skills deteriorate quickly when coping skills fall by the wayside to addiction.

Biologically, a person’s reward center in the brain is triggered during substance use and creates a neural pathway which steals the brain’s ability to experience pleasure. The substance is then required to obtain that level of stimulation and pleasure. In a brain that is chemically altered, the individual may feel dysphoria, anxiety, frustration and cravings. Dual diagnosis is a biological component for people who may suffer depression or anxiety and other mood disorders while using substances.


Everyone is impacted differently by substance abuse. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Hired Power will help you learn about the power of addiction and how to release it’s grip on your life. Call us to find out how we can help at 714-559-3919.

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