Drug addiction is defined as a chronic mental illness characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. The effects of drug addiction on an individual’s brain as well as its structure can be long-lasting. It has been seen that people generally get addicted to drugs for a number of reasons such as to feel good, to get better, curiosity, etc.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-related risks and outcomes 2017, approximately 52,404 people died from drug overdoses during 2015, in the U.S.
Drug addiction is referred to as a “downward spiral” for a reason. It starts slow and typically springs from a social diversion or desire to escape from trauma or distress. As its use progresses to abuse and dependency, the drug’s highs and the withdrawal’s lows subtly intensify until drug abusers lose all control over their addiction. In that, every story is the same, but each person’s road to drug addiction is unique; thus treatment for individual recovery must also be unique.
Mission Recovery’s drug addiction treatment centers provide personally tailored drug addiction treatment programs that are a perfect amalgamation of a detox program, medications and psychotherapies. Our facilities, provide evidence-based and holistic treatment modalities to provide relief from all substance use disorders.
Different levels of Drug association
Some people legitimately take prescription drugs in the recommended dosage to treat chronic pain or mental health disorders. On the other hand, there are others who try an illegal substance once and manage to avoid it thereafter. But, there are many for whom a drug experiment digresses into addiction over which they have no control.
On the basis of this variation, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shares the continuum of substance use as follows:
Substance use. At this stage, individuals try a substance for social assimilation or experimentation. Those with recent medical or mental health attention may be initially prescribed a controlled substance for its desired bodily effects. Use at this point doesn’t necessarily mean an addiction, but such use is not safe for driving and can even harm a fetus.
Substance abuse. This is usually the next step. In this phase people start abusing prescription drugs, alcohol or illegal drugs at least once or more times in a year. They also exhibit the following signs:
- Recurring physically hazardous situations
- More than one substance-related legal issue
- Repeated use even though the substance abuse is causing frequent social and interpersonal disturbances
- Substance use is impeding performance and completion of obligations; children will begin to be neglected intermittently
Drug addiction. At this juncture on the continuum at least three of the following are true for an individual:
- Tolerance is built up within the brain’s reward system. More of the substance is needed for the same high.
- The substance is taken more often and in increasingly greater amounts than perhaps intended.
- Efforts to control substance use are futile.
- Drug-seeking instead of supervising one’s own children or using budgeted household funds on drugs.
- Usual activities are forgone in lieu of substance abuse.
- The majority of one’s time is spent on planning, obtaining, fantasizing about, or actually abusing, the substance.
- Dependency doesn’t waver, despite the user’s knowledge of the problems drug addiction is causing.
- Withdrawal symptoms occur when a regular “hit” is missed.
Symptoms of drug abuse and withdrawal
There are some tell-tale signs you may not realize you or your loved one exhibit that signifies a drug addiction. Some of these are:
- Doctor shopping for multiple prescriptions
- Track marks or scars
- Open sores or skin irritation present at injection sites
- Dry mouth and nose, frequent sniffing
- Frequent, sudden and urgent financial situations
- Consistent presence of unusual containers, wrappers or small apparatus
- Dramatic weight gain or loss
- Secretive behavior
- Mood swings
- Sudden change in personal relationships, new crowd of equally secretive acquaintances
Withdrawing from the drug can lead to the development of following symptoms:
- Anxiety attacks, edginess
- Nausea, vomiting
- Shakiness, sweating
- Confusion, bouts of anger
- Audio and/ or visual hallucinations
- Abdominal pain
Effects of drug abuse
Within the brain, drugs overwhelm the body’s natural pleasure center and cause a chain reaction:
- What once triggered dopamine release such as sexual pleasure, eating, sleeping and even stress, are overshadowed by illicit and controlled substances. The natural triggers provide significant pleasure.
- The abused substance builds up a tolerance in the brain, requiring more and more to feel its effects.
- If a user tries to stop using the drug on his or her own, the body can suffer withdrawals as he/she is chemically dependent on its intake. On the other hand, former addicts who have overcome their chemical dependence but resume using drugs at their levels can risk an overdose.
Getting Help for Abuse
Drug addiction treatment needs to be personal, customized to each individual so as to embed recovery as a way of life. It should not be a mere mandate for people to stay away from places or things that trigger its development.
That’s why here at Mission Recovery we tailor our drug addiction rehab programs for each person. A patient may be placed on a recovery plan for substance abuse or a dual diagnosis.
There are many drug rehab treatment centers who just offer detoxification treatment and educational pamphlets on a particular substance. And, that is why patients often relapse because, although their body was treated, the damages to the mind and mental distress which may underlie the addiction were never dealt with.