While drug addiction begins with experimenting and recreational drug use in social situations, over time, substance abuse can become commonplace. The addiction can also begin with prescribed medications, such as opioids.
As time passes, the individual needs more of a substance to achieve the same effects. The addiction expands, demanding more drugs to feel normal. Still, the addict begins to find it difficult to function without their drug of choice. Intense cravings and physical withdrawal symptoms force the person to continue using, despite their desire to stop.
Addiction is challenging to combat; it takes commitment and the right help at the right time.
If you or a loved one need help, you’re not alone. We’re here and ready to help. Whether this is the first time you’re seeking assistance or have been on the road to recovery for a while, please contact us today by calling 800-626-1980.
Is Drug Addiction A Disease?
Most medical associations define drug addiction as a disease. This, of course, includes the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Similar to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, the causes include a combination of environmental, biological, and behavioral variables. Even genetic risk factors come into play, making up approximately half of the chance that someone will develop an addiction.
With addiction comes changes in the way a person’s body and brain function. While some of these changes are the result of risky substance use, other changes are pre-existing alterations rising to the surface after drug abuse.
Signs Of Drug Addiction
The following are signs of substance addiction:
- You continue taking drugs even after you’ve resolved a health issue.
- You feel shaky, sick, depressed, have headaches, or sweat when the effects of the drug wear off. If it is severe, you might also feel confused, run a fever, or have seizures.
- You’ve built up a tolerance for the drug and need to take more to feel its effects.
- You want to stop using a drug but cannot. You continue using even if the use results in adverse effects on your life.
- You no longer have an interest in activities you used to enjoy.
- You do dangerous things (for example, drive) when you’re intoxicated.
- You hide your drug use or the effects from others.
- You steal or borrow money to finance your drug habit.
- You’re sleeping more or less than you did before you began using drugs. Or maybe you’re eating more or less now.
- You’re meeting with more than one doctor to get more prescription drugs.
- You habitually look in other peoples’ medicine cabinets for drugs.
- You pair prescribed medications with alcohol or other substances.
- You find it challenging to get along with teachers, friends, family members, and co-workers. They say you’ve changed and no longer act the same as before you started taking drugs.
Causes Of Drug Addiction
While there’s no single cause, four basic categories of causes exist. These include biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual causes. The causes are interrelated, meaning each category tends to contribute to forming a dependance.
Biological causes include a person’s unique physiology and genetics. Certain people prefer or disdain addictive substances or activities. With this in mind, it can be more difficult to resist a substance or activity for some people. Being unable to temper impulsive desires with rational thought could make a person at greater risk for developing an addiction.
Psychological influences highlight a person’s ability to change the way they perceive drugs. People can learn to anticipate a benefit, despite its harmful nature. Between stress reduction, pleasurable sensations, coping with negative situations or feelings, avoiding withdrawal symptoms, and relief from boredom, the benefits can outweigh the adverse effects in an addict’s mind.
Socio-cultural influences involve one’s culture accepting or tolerating drug use. People become more vulnerable as a result. The most obvious social influence is one’s family. Families can teach their children about drug abuse without highlighting the adverse aspects.
Spirituality highlights the belief that life has meaning and purpose. Some people believe there’s something beyond their individual existence. Without meaning and purpose, a person can become disconnected from themselves and others. Addiction can further this disconnection, meaning a lack of spirituality can contribute to addiction progression.
Effects Of Drug Addiction
Untreated addiction can result in a plethora of physical and mental health disorders that demand medical attention. As time passes it can become disabling and even life-threatening.
Substance abuse changes the brain. Pleasure generally comes as a result of satisfying basic needs, including sex, thirst, and hunger. Addictive substances push the brain to release elevated levels of the same chemicals the brain uses as a reward for fulfilling these basic needs.
As time passes, the brain system changes and the release of these chemicals becomes dependent on the substance. Hence, the individual needs the substance to function as normal. This results in cravings for addictive substances, encouraging the individual to continue using even with knowledge of the detrimental consequences.
A person addicted to drugs might prefer their drug of choice to other healthy pleasures. They can also lose interest in normal life activities. In some severe cases of drug addiction, a person can stop caring about their own life, as well as the lives of their loved ones.
Drug Addiction Facts
The brain changes as a result of drug abuse and the changes can persist for long after the person reaches sobriety. These alterations can leave a person vulnerable to physical and environmental impacts on their sobriety as well, giving the person a set of triggers that could elevate the risk of a relapse.
Also known as substance abuse disorder, this disease is unfortunately all too common. With around 38% of adults battling some form of illicit drug use disorder as of 2017, it’s safe to say most people know someone who is coping with this disease.
With 63,000 deaths resulting from drug overdoses each year, getting clean is essential. Opioids are behind the majority of overdoses. However, cocaine and other stimulants are also responsible. The following are the statistics from 2014:
- Over 15,000 overdoses from heroin
- Over 14,000 overdoses from natural and semi-synthetic opioids
- Over 3,000 deaths from methadone
- Over 20,000 deaths from synthetic opioids (besides methadone)
- Over 10,000 deaths from cocaine
- Over 7,000 deaths from stimulants with abuse potential
Get Help Now
We’re here to guide you along with your transition to the sober life you deserve. For more information, please contact our Miami Florida rehab today by calling 800-626-1980. You can also follow the link to learn more about our drug rehab center in Florida.