Drug Addiction & Drug Abuse
On the surface, drug addiction can be pretty confusing. It’s detrimental to the individual engaging with it. It’s detrimental to friends and loved ones. It’s detrimental to society as a whole.
So why would anyone engage with it? Well, here at Help 4 Addiction, we understand exactly how and why an astounding 5.4 percent of people become drug addicts at some point in their lives.
We understand that drug addiction is a disease. We understand that it is an illness. But we also want to ensure that you know that it is something that you can overcome. Believe it or not, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Drug Addiction is a Disease
Let’s start out by establishing that addiction is a disease. Much in the same way as other diseases can prove detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing, addiction can be detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing.
Many people will wrongly assume that addiction is a result of poor moral standards, lack of ethics, or an absence of willpower. But this really isn’t the case.
There are all sorts of factors that can result in addiction and influence addiction. When it comes to drug addiction, you also have to bear in mind that drugs can change your brain’s chemistry and encourage you to act in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise dream of.
They can have physically addictive qualities as well as mentally addictive qualities. The combination of physical addiction and mental addiction can make these substances extremely difficult to kick.
What Constitutes as Drug Addiction?
So, what actually is drug addiction? What symptoms and behaviour can highlight drug addiction?
Well, drug addiction is when someone actively seeks out drugs and either uses them compulsively or finds their use of drugs difficult to control. They will continue to seek out and use drugs regardless of negative impacts that their drug use may be having on their life.
While the majority of people voluntarily begin taking drugs, repeated use can alter their levels of self-control and interfere with their capability of resisting urges to continue using these drugs.
This sounds pretty straightforward and simple to identify. But it’s important that you can determine the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction, as these are two related but completely different problems.
While drug addiction sees someone become reliant on drugs, drug abuse is when someone uses drugs in a quantity or fashion that can be dangerous to themselves and those surrounding them.
Someone can engage with drug abuse without being a drug addict. Of course, drug abuse is a serious problem. Many people die of overdoses associated with drug abuse every single year. But for now, let’s keep the focus on drug addiction in particular.
You Can Become Addicted to Legal or Prescription Drugs
When we think of drug addiction, the majority of our thoughts automatically turn to illicit and illegal drugs – cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin, for example. But it’s important to remember that you can be addicted to legal or prescription drugs too! Alcohol may well be legal, but it is technically a drug and you can become an alcoholic.
Prescription opioids are legal, but again, you can become addicted to them. Tobacco is legal, but contains extremely addictive nicotine. Even the caffeine in coffee, which people of almost all ages can consume, can prove to be addictive.
So, never assume that just because something is legal or prescribed, it is completely safe and that you cannot become addicted to it.
Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs, Whilst Others Do Not?
If anyone takes drugs consistently and regularly or abuses drugs consistently and regularly, it’s highly likely that they will become an addict.
Why do some people become addicted to drugs in real life when others do not?
Well, this can fall down to various different factors, but the most common factors that influence whether someone becomes an addict in their lifetime tend to be environment, biology, and development.
The environment that we grow up in or find ourselves in at a later stage in our lives can largely influence whether we become a drug addict or not. Someone who is exposed to drugs and offered drugs or access to drugs regularly is more likely to become an addict than someone who has never seen drugs in real life.
Similarly, someone who socialises in circles where people are regularly engaging with drugs is more likely to also engage with drugs and risk addiction than someone who doesn’t know anybody who does drugs.
Peer pressure or a wish to fit in can prove to be a major influencer when it comes to people trying drugs, getting involved with drugs, and becoming addicted to drugs. Other environmental factors that can impact our likelihood of becoming an addict can include economic status, experiences of physical or sexual abuse, stress, and parental guidance.
Believe it or not, biology plays a major role in someone’s chances of becoming a drug addict.
Some of us are simply biologically hardwired through our genes to be at more open risk of experiencing addiction.
Some of us have a naturally addictive personality and will indulge in things to a state of excess or detriment.
Addiction can occur at any point in someone’s life. We could have gone our entire life drug free, only to become an addict at a much later date. But generally speaking, the longer someone goes without becoming a drug addict, the less likely they are to ultimately become a drug addict.
The earlier in someone’s life that drug use begins, the more likely they are to experience trouble with addiction as they grow older. Introductory steps towards addiction tend to be particularly problematic in regards to teenagers.
Not only are environmental factors, such as peer pressure, more likely to affect teens, but teens taking drugs have not fully developed areas in their brains that control decision making, judgement, and self-control.
Risks Associated with Drug Addiction
Now, we all know that drug addiction is a bad and undesirable thing. Nobody wants to experience drug addiction. But what actually are the risks associated with it? Well, the ultimate risk that comes hand in hand with drug addiction is the risk of loss of life.
If you are suffering from addiction, you constantly put yourself at risk of overdosing or experiencing an adverse reaction.
You also regularly put yourself in a situation where you cannot be entirely sure what you are putting in their body – after all, drugs aren’t regulated and people who sell drugs could be selling you absolutely anything.
You are also at risk being incarcerated for possession of an illegal substance. Besides potential loss of life or jail time, which of course, should ward anyone away from trying their chances with this kind of thing, you also risk complete dependence on a substance that is expensive.
An addiction can quickly chip away at savings and income. Alongside these personal risks, drug addiction can result in alienation from social circles (including families, friends, and professional relationships).
Symptoms of Drug Addiction
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from drug addiction, it’s never too early to seek drug addiction help.
If you’re concerned, chances are that there’s cause for concern, and it’s better to tackle the problem sooner when you are in doubt as to whether you or a loved one is an addict, rather than later, when you may be sure that you are they are an addict.
So, what are some signs and symptoms of drug addiction that you might want to keep an eye out for?
- You continue to take prescription drugs when they are no longer required to counteract the health problem they were prescribed to treat.
- Your tolerance increases – you need to take more and more of a given substance to experience the same effect it provided you with in smaller volumes to start with.
- You feel unwell or strange when the drug wears off. You experience a wish to take more to “feel okay” again.
- You spend a lot of your time thinking about the drug and when you can next have it or where you can get some more.
- You regularly take more of the drug than you told yourself you were going to.
- You can’t stop yourself (or find difficult in stopping yourself) from actively seeking the drug out and taking it.
- You lose interest in things that used to occupy your interest.
- The drug, thinking about the drug, sourcing the drug, or taking the drug begins to interfere with your day to day life. You might begin to miss work, miss or cancel social meetings, or you may even stop eating or washing properly.
- You begin to borrow or steal money in order to be able to pay for the drugs.
- You attempt to hide the drug and the effects it’s having on you from others.
- You notice changes in your personality or behaviour. You may be irritable, lack motivation, feel paranoid, or get angry more quickly.
Is There a Cure to Drug Addiction?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for drug addiction. It’s similar to various other chronic diseases that isn’t curable. However, it’s important to remember that addiction is treatable. You can move on from your addiction and lead a great quality of life after rehab treatment and recovery.
Seeking Help For Your Drug Addiction
If these symptoms apply to you or a loved one, addiction may well be a problem and it’s always best to immediately opt for professional drug addiction treatment and support. Self-help can only go so far in regards to drug addiction.
At the end of the day, if you are suffering from addiction, you are likely to be impacted in a way that actively reduces your motivation and your self-control may be compromised. You may even find that resistance to treatment occurs.
By seeking professional help, you can reach out to people who will be able to determine whether you definitely are an addict. If so, they will be able to help to make the best decision possible depending on your individual circumstances.
Calling a Helpline
Calling a helpline is a great first step to take when it comes to the path of drug addiction help. By calling Help 4 Addiction, you will be connected to a professional who will be able to talk to you about your situation and who will also be able to determine the next best steps to take.
They will be able to guide you in the right direction for your addiction. This may involve referring you to treatment centers in the UK, Visit our Find a rehab center page for more. You needn’t worry when calling us. You will never be forced to do anything that you don’t want to do. You will simply receive the best information regarding what’s likely to be best for you or a loved one. Call now on 0203 955 7700
Drug Rehab tends to come hand in hand with the best outcomes for individuals experiencing drug addiction. Rehab is when you spend an extended period of time in a rehabilitation treatment center. This can last a week or a month in the center, but sometimes you may be required to stay longer in order to complete your treatment. Your stay will begin with a detoxification or “detox” period. This helps to clear any drugs from your system.
Withdrawal symptoms may manifest in this time, but you will be surrounded by professionals who can help to alleviate any discomfort better than anyone else will be able to. They will be able to help you through this process with medication and support.
You will also be around other people who have been through similar experiences and will be able to understand what you are going through. Once you have completed your detox process, you will be able to progress to the next phase with a clean slate.
You can read some of our useful reosurces on Rehab here:
- What is Rehab?
- What happens in Rehab
- How long does Rehab take?
- How much does Rehab cost?
- What happens if I cannot afford to go to Rehab?
The next stage is therapy. This will help you to unveil whatever it may be that is causing and triggering your addiction. Identifying these things will help you to understand your addiction and consequently overcome it more effectively. The most common and effective form of therapy for drug addiction tends to be cognitive behavioural therapy (which is often shortened to “CBT”).
Avoiding Unverified Treatments
On a final note, it may feel a little daunting going through traditional and professional means of combating drug addiction. But it is absolutely essential that you only ever seek treatment and help through these sources.
Con artists are out to make money from people’s doubt. Their methods are often unproven and can even be dangerous. So, be careful who you seek help from. Stick with the qualified and approved professionals!
Drug addiction, of course, is an extremely complex subject and it would be impossible to address every aspect of it in just one webpage. But hopefully, the above information has helped you to get to grips with the topic a little better and will help to guide you in the right direction should you experience drug addiction!
If you are concerned about addiction, require more information about addiction, or feel that you are ready to move forward with your journey towards recovery, don’t hesitate to call us at Help 4 Addiction 0203 955 7700. We understand you and we are here to help you!
You can call on 0203 955 7700 to speak to a friendly advisor.