A drug addiction – which is also called a substance use disorder or chemical dependency – is a term that describes someone’s inability to control or moderate the use of substances.
Drugs affect both our brains and our behaviours and losing the ability to moderate the use of substances has, can and will, unfortunately, take more away from us than it gives back.
Across the globe, drug use is a growing concern. In America, for example, drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990, and only 10 per cent of the population receive treatment for their addictions. In Europe, Spain has one of the highest substance abuse problems, with 35.5 per cent of people attending rehab for alcohol addiction, and 24.6 per cent for cocaine.
Substance use disorder, affects the brain and our behaviours. It is defined by an inability to control or moderate the use of a particular substance.
Initially, with many addictions, use of the substance can be classified as recreational. However with repeated use and chemical “rewards” in the form of pleasurable sensations, the mental obsession can be formidable.
Physically the body becomes reliant on the substance over time. Tolerance to the chemical can develop and the need to recreate that initial ‘high’ leads to an acceleration in use (both in terms of amount and frequency).
The speed at which a person descends into dependency depends on many factors, but no matter the substance, the consequences can be equally as damaging.
More than 90 per cent of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old.
As with many addictions, the use of substances can be classified as recreational. But what often starts as harmless ‘recreational’ fun at a younger age can quickly turn into something that we constantly feel we ‘need’ rather than ‘want’, and the younger we are when we’re introduced to d rugs, the more likely we are to depend on them later in life.
There are many reasons people turn to drugs. Often, drugs are seen as a way out of the reality of life, and many people take them to avoid hardship and adversity.
Some other reasons a person might try drugs include:
There are, of course, any number of reasons someone might use substances, and many numbers of ways they might do so, which span ingestion, injection and inhalation.
With such availability to drugs at almost every turn in life, it can be difficult to say no.
Drug addiction affects different people in many different ways. Physically, the body inevitably becomes reliant upon a substance over time, and when you decide to take that substance away, you experience withdrawal symptoms.
In a less severe example, withdrawal symptoms from caffeine often include headaches and migraines.
But with something like heroin, it might include fevers, nausea, tremors and severe agitation.
With drugs, they say that no high is the same as the first high and that those addicted to substances are forever trying to chase that initial high. Because drugs contain chemicals that change the makeup of our brains, we can begin to build a tolerance to how much and how frequently we use and to find a new level of high, it requires a higher and more consistent intake of the drug.
This, unfortunately, is how addiction begins to form, and after a while, the signs and symptoms of addiction show their true colours. This might include:
There are many other signs of addiction, and it affects each person differently.
If you find that you’re developing an addiction to drugs, there are some measures you can take to try to overcome the initial stages of addiction.
Admittedly, it’s not an easy thing to overcome an addiction alone, but if you’re looking for guidance on how to stop using, these steps might help.
We treat a variety of substance use disorders at Camino Recovery, including:
The greatest predictor for treatment success and sobriety from drugs is time spent in a structured environment. As with any addiction, there is no one-stop fix to drug addiction, and it’s not something to be ‘cured’. Treatment for drug addiction must be taken with a long-term viewpoint, one that comprises a multi-dimensional solution including:
There is no such thing as two of the same addiction. A substance use disorder affects each and every person uniquely.
Here at Camino, we look to provide highly individualised treatment that addresses specific needs.
That way, we can equip you with the toolkit needed to stay sober, long after your treatment program has ended.
To find out more about drug addiction treatment at Camino Recovery, contact us here.
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