Drug Addiction: What You Need to Know
Drug addiction does not discriminate. It’s an illness that doesn’t confine itself to people of lower socioeconomic status, trauma victims, or the homeless. People from all walks of life, all ages, and all races can be affected by drug addiction.
The Different Types of Drug Addiction
Physical and Psychological addiction are two sides of the same coin, but it’s helpful to know the difference in order to provide the best treatment.
If we use cigarette smoking as an example, the physical addiction is the part of the body that craves the nicotine and gives you the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
The psychological addiction is the habitcomponent of smoking. It’s the part that makes you want a cigarette after a meal, or while having a cup of coffee, for example.
In many, if not all, cases, the psychological addiction is the more powerful of the two.
What’s the Difference Between Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction?
While you may have a vague idea of what the term drug addiction refers to, it’s important to know the difference between addiction, abuse, and use.
When we refer to someone as using drugs, we’re talking about someone who takes drugs occasionally. At this stage, people are enjoying the way the drug makes them feel and are easily able to manage or ignore the downside.
Drug abuse is when use becomes more problematic. At this stage, people begin to develop a tolerance to the drug and they need to take more to achieve the effect that such use previously gave them. People will also notice physical withdrawal symptoms if they go to look without any use of the drug.
Addiction occurs when the drug user has reached the point that they are no longer in control of their use. The physical withdrawal symptoms become severe and the person will avoid situations where they cannot take the drug. The person will continue to take the drug even though there may be far more negative effects than positive for them.
How Do I Know If I’m Addicted?
Many people believe that if a drug has been prescribed by a doctor, it’s perfectly safe and they won’t get addicted to it.
In 2015, over 20,000 deaths in the U.S, were attributed to overdoses of prescription painkillers and the number of people who are addicted to prescription drugs continues to rise.
Opioids or Opiates are the most commonly abused drugs from prescriptions.
The Most Common Signs of Addiction
Addiction to stimulants or other drugs is not always obvious in the early stages. As time goes on however, signs and symptoms become harder to disguise. Here are the more common signs of drug addiction that you might see in someone:
- Too much or too little sleep
- The person may stop eating and/or lose weight.
- Needle marks, skin rashes or infections, lesions or scabs, bruises, scratches
- Muscle cramps/spasms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Poor motor coordination
- Pale, clammy skin or fevers
Keep in mind that the person does not have to be showing all these symptoms, all the time, to have a problem with addiction.
Often, the first thing that is noticed about someone who is suffering from drug addiction is changes in their behavior. This can often be attributed to the negative effects of physical withdrawal. However, this does not make them any less distressing for the people around them.
Some people develop addictions to drugs that have been prescribed to help with another sort of addiction. For example, Benzodiazepine’s (Benzos) are often prescribed to relieve symptoms of alcohol addiction.[/vc_column_text]
How Do I Know If I’m Suffering from Drug Addiction?
Although it may seem obvious to some, a person may not be aware that their drug use is becoming problematic, particularly if they are developing an addiction to a prescription drug. You may recognize some of the following signs and symptoms in yourself.
- Mood swings, irritability, depression
- Isolating yourself, keeping secrets from people you are close to
- Anxiety, tearfulness or bouts of crying, paranoia
- Loss of ability to focus, loss of memory, cognitive impairment
- Hallucinations, psychosis, violent outbursts
In addition, you may find that you’ve lost interest in your favorite activities or that you’ve stopped showering or combing your hair. Problems at work or school are common with drug addiction as well as arguments with family and close friends.
One of the difficulties in recognizing drug addiction is that it doesn’t happen suddenly. It’s a gradual process. By the time you recognize you have a problem, you may find that the people closest to you are already aware of the changes in your behavior.
How Is Drug Addiction Treated?
There are several ways to treat drug addiction. At Revive Detox, we can help you decide which program is best for you or your loved one.
Our residential inpatient treatment program offers alternative therapies for drug addiction recovery. We help in all areas of addiction, lifestyle changes, and recovery planning moving forward. We also provide family support and guidance.
At Revive, we understand that detox and recovery processes should be managed differently with each drug or substance. Our services are delivered in a way that recognizes marijuana detox is a much different process than heroin detox, for example.
We are here to help and answer any questions you might have. If you’re concerned about your own drug use, or of someone you love, contact us today to discuss treatment options.