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Drug Abuse and Addiction

Addiction Disorder and Treatment

Understanding drug addiction and its warning signs is valuable in helping yourself or others find addiction treatment resources necessary for recovery. For a long time, there has been a negative stigma associated with drug abuse and addiction. Understanding and treating it like a chronic disease, has helped millions get the necessary help they need and allowed them to truly recover. Today, there are thousands of drug and alcohol treatment centers that offer behavioral therapy and other forms of treatment for any type of substance use disorder. Getting treatment for drug abuse early on is key for the best chance at addiction recovery. Several treatment options and levels of care are available to help anyone at any stage of their addiction, you do not have to hit rock bottom to need substance abuse or dependence treatment.

The Definition of Addiction

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that involves compulsive substance abuse or behaviors despite harmful consequences. It is a medical disease involving complex interaction among genetics, the environment, brain circuits, and an individual’s life experience. People with addiction to drugs or behaviors, such as gambling, cannot control stopping usage or the activity even after it interferes negatively in their life and they wish to stop. Addiction to drugs can be a disease of the body, mind, and spirit.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction to Drugs

Drug abuse or dependence can affect a person physically, mentally and behaviorally. You can start to see changes in all these aspects of their lives and knowing what signs of drug use disorder early on could better their chances of successful addiction recovery. However, it is important to note that not all addiction looks the same. Some signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug addiction include:

  • Neglecting appearance
  • Experiencing drug withdrawals when not using the drugs or alcohol
  • Stealing to get drugs or alcohol
  • Poor performance at work or school, including absenteeism or tardiness
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on substance use
  • Obsessing about next dose
  • Change in complexion
  • Interrupted sleep patterns
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • New or worsening depression and anxiety
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Risk taking behavior

Drug Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Drug abuse can lead to chemical dependency causing the brain to rely on drugs or alcohol in order to function. When those substances are taken away, the brain does not know how to function without it and starts to exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol and drug withdrawals can be extremely uncomfortable and at times even dangerous or lethal. Every substance has their own set of symptoms, however there are general withdrawal symptoms for all substance abuse. Symptoms of drug withdrawals include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and bone pain

More severe withdrawal symptoms associated with certain substances, such as alcohol abuse and benzodiazepine abuse, include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delirium
  • Seizures

How Drug Addiction Affects the Brain

Alcohol and drug addiction affect the brain on many levels. Each substance has their own effect on the brain, but in general, substances with a high abuse potential tend to act on the reward center of the brain, releasing bursts of endorphins and other feel good hormones and causing euphoria. The brain learns to associate these feel-good emotions with substance use and wants more. As a person continues with substance abuse, the brain starts to depend on these substances to release these neurotransmitters causing dependency on drugs and alcohol. When they stop taking the substances, their body goes into withdrawal, feeling strong cravings and they need to use again just to feel normal.

Drug Addiction Treatment

The physical and psychological dependence a person can have on drugs and alcohol can be difficult to break, however with the right substance abuse treatments, addiction recovery is possible. An addiction center can offer personalized treatment plans with various treatment options to fit any person’s addiction and needs, including inpatient drug rehab and outpatient drug rehab. Dual diagnosis treatment programs are important when dealing with co occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and an eating disorder. Drug rehab can help with both illicit drug and prescription drug addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to drugs, it is important to get into addiction recovery as soon as possible. Novo Detox is available to answer any questions about addiction substance use disorder rehab.