ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Drug and alcohol addiction is a deadly disease that can often go unnoticed.
September is National Recovery Month aimed at helping those who are battling heavy dependence.
People who typically have difficulties with addiction grew up around heavy users, have a family history, or have stressful lives.
Phoebe Behavioral Therapist Susan Hardie said often times people are looking for a way to numb pain.
So drugs and/or alcohol become like an anesthesia.
The CDC reported in 2014 more than 10 percent of all Americans over the age of 11 years old had used illicit drugs within the prior month.
And unemployment is a large contributing factor for drug use across the state.
Hardie said the dependence becomes overwhelmingly stronger the more people use.
"And what started out as a choice then becomes a psychological need--both psychological and physical," explained Hardie.
She said often times those affected don't realize they even have a problem.
They are using drugs and alcohol as a solution or coping mechanism.
The warning signs that come to light are having work or school consequences or family difficulties.
That's when someone can step in to help anyone facing addiction by seeking medical attention through inpatient or outpatient care.
"One thing people don't realize is that when you abuse your brain with substances, you're going to have changes to your brain," stated Hardie, "Your brain is going to become dysfunctional. And out of that process your brain has to heal."
Hardie said healing can take months if not more than a year depending on how long substances were abused.
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