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Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction Treatment

As a whole, addiction is a disease that affects your brain and its behaviors. For instance, when drugs come into play, your brain becomes chemically dependent on these substances. Making it incredibly difficult to resist the urge for drugs. Unfortunately, drug addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of individuals and families all across the globe. What initially is frightening about this disease, is that it affects everyone differently. For example, it may take one person years to develop an addiction, while on the other hand, someone can become addicted after their very first time using drugs.  

According to the CDC, the United States has seen the most recorded number of drug overdose deaths in a 12-month period, which ended in May 2020. This indicates that more than 81,000 individuals have died due to drug overdose in that time period.  Overdose Deaths Accelerating During COVID-19 | CDC Online Newsroom 

What really is it? 

Drug addiction is a serious disease that affects an individual’s brain and behaviors. For some, addiction may occur from the very first moment someone uses or tries a drug. However, for others, it may take several weeks, months or years to develop a drug addiction. This is just one of the many scary factors tied to drug addiction. You can get hooked the very first time.

As a whole, addiction is marked by the continued and repeated use of a substance, despite the emergence of unwanted or undesirable outcomes. Addiction can also be used to describe the habitual engagement of certain activities, like gambling or sex.

How does it work? 

Drug addiction is a condition in which a person requires drugs in order to function properly. There are two main types of drug addiction: physical and psychological. The two types of drug addiction are different from each other and can occur simultaneously or independent of one another.

Psychological addiction:

Psychological addiction is a form of addiction in which an individual believes themselves to be dependent on a drug. Someone who is psychologically addicted to a drug may or may not have an actual physical dependence. Nonetheless, they may be unwilling or unable to approach certain situations without their drug of choice.

For example, someone who is unable to attend a social function without a drink of alcohol would be considered psychologically addicted to alcohol. Someone who relies on medication to retain focus during school or work would be considered psychologically dependent.

Psychological addiction usually indicates that the patient has some sort of underlying mental or emotional health problem. In most cases, addressing the underlying issue is enough to help rectify the addiction. Once the problem is solved, the patient no longer needs to rely on drugs as a form of self-medication.

Physical addiction:

Physical addiction occurs when someone has been using drugs or alcohol for long enough for the body to become dependent on it. This means that the body requires these substances in order to function properly.

Physical addiction usually occurs because the body becomes reliant on drugs to produce certain hormones, chemicals, or neurotransmitters. As the body becomes increasingly reliant on the drug to create certain biochemical effects, the body stops producing these effects on its own.

For example, alcohol affects the brain’s GABA system. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of relaxation and well-being. It also regulates the more stimulating neurotransmitters in the body, preventing us from over-excitation which can cause issues like anxiety, shaking, or even seizures.

When someone becomes dependent on alcohol, their body becomes less effective at producing GABA on its own. When the patient stops drinking alcohol, their body has trouble producing the necessary GABA. Thus, they will experience symptoms of over-excitation and lack of GABA: sweating, shaking, anxiety, and other symptoms characterized by alcohol withdrawal.

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What Types of Drugs are Addictive? 

An addictive drug is a substance that stimulates either physical dependency, behavioral changes, or both. However, some drugs are more addictive than others. There are various types of drugs, classified by how the substance works. Below are some of the most addictive drugs we know of.

Stimulants

Stimulants, also known as uppers, tend to cause the drug user to feel more energetic and alert. This type of drug is generally used to treat those with asthma or ADHD. Abuse or even addiction can occur when a person needs and uses the drug to stay awake or perform tasks better. Examples of stimulant drugs are:

  • Methamphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Ritalin
  • Caffeine
  • Adderall
  • Synthetic marijuana
  • Ecstasy

Depressants

Depressants, also known as downers, help to slow down the body. Typically these drugs are used by medical doctors to help with conditions such as OCD or anxiety disorders. For those who do not need these drugs for medical purposes, a sedative-like experience occurs. Examples of depressants are:

  • Barbiturates
  • Valium
  • Rohypnol
  • Xanax
  • Benzodiazepines

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens alter the way the brain communicates, oftentimes changing a person’s emotions or perceptions. This type of drug can be highly addictive because of the intense high they bring about. Common examples of Hallucinogens include:

  • LSD
  • Salvia
  • Peyote
  • Psilocybin

Dissociatives

Dissociatives are highly similar to hallucinogen, just much more dangerous. These drugs allow users to escape from everyday life, and that is why they are so dangerous, yet used. Overtime, long-term use of dissociatives can be life-threatening. Examples of common dissociatives include:

  • Dextromethorphan
  • Ketamine
  • Nalorphine
  • Opiorphin

Opioids

Known in America to be one of the fastest-growing causes of drug overdose deaths today, opioids come into play. Both prescription and illicit forms of this drug are highly addictive and life-threatening. These drugs work as painkillers, creating a euphoric high. Opioids can be so addictive, just one try can leave you hooked. Examples of common opioids include:

  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Oxycontin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Percocet

What is a Drug Relapse?

Put simply, a relapse occurs when somebody who is in addiction recovery slips up and uses drugs again. A relapse can be a temporary, one-off experience in which someone uses drugs for a single day. Or, it can be a longer regression lasting weeks or months.

A relapse can be a mistake or a calculated experience. Sometimes, people may relapse because they are overwhelmed by life situations and unable to cope with their current situation. Others may decide that their recovery is no longer in their best interest. 

Whatever the case, a relapse can be a fairly serious issue. While it does not indicate that your recovery has been a failure, it is certainly cause to be concerned and aware. Most recovering drug users experience a relapse at some point during their recovery. The most important part is learning how to work through the relapse and prevent future ones.

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what is drug overdose?

A drug overdose occurs when an individual has too high a level of the drug in their body. Unfortunately, drug overdoses occur rather often. A drug overdose can happen both on purpose, or accidentally if an individual takes too much of one or several drugs. Common signs of a drug overdose are: 

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Violent behavior
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Paranoia

signs of drug addiction

Various factors are considered when determining if someone is abusing drugs. Top signs of substance abuse include:

  • Being physically dependent on the substance
  • Inability to stop using the substance
  • Using the substance on a regular basis
  • Substance tolerance increases
  • Spending a lot of time trying to obtain, use and recover from drugs
  • Drugs or alcohol use adversely affecting personal, family, or business relationships
  • Intense cravings

Substance abuse and addiction looks different for everyone, and doesn’t always result in job loss, physical tolerance, or withdrawal. Likewise, the journey to recovery is unique for each person. Drug and alcohol abuse ranges in intensity and someone exhibiting mild symptoms may be able to quit on their own while severe abuse requires special treatment at a rehab facility.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Addiction is a complex, yet treatable disease requiring long-term rehab. Serious withdrawal symptoms may result if you suddenly stop taking the substance or reduce the amount normally taken. Drug abuse treatment programs let you detox safely and help you through all stages of recovery.

When you recognize the signs of substance abuse in either yourself or a family member, it’s time to reach out for help. There is no single method that works for everyone, but behavioral therapy and counseling are common treatments.

When someone is struggling with both mental health and substance abuse issues, or a co-occurring disorder, getting help at a facility such as a Recovery Team, where dual-diagnosis is available is key to sobriety. Call us today so we can help you find effective drug or alcohol abuse treatment options: 800-817-1247.