Drug addiction is defined by the existence of both psychological dependence and physical dependence on at least one illicit substance, according to PubMed Health. Marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, synthetic drugs and even prescription drugs that can be effective medically are highly addictive. There are a number of reasons why someone may develop an addiction, but recovery comes the same way to everyone: through comprehensive treatment that addresses individual obstacles to sobriety.
What Is Drug Addiction?
When you are unable to stop using your drug of choice despite a desire to live without addiction, when you experience physical withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop getting high, when you crave your drug of choice and obsess about getting more – these are just a few characteristics of active drug addiction. Because it is a medical disorder, it is recommended that those who are diagnosed with the disease get immediate treatment that includes medical detox and psychotherapeutic treatment.
What Are the Signs of Drug Addiction?
Depending upon the substance of choice, the signs of being under the influence will vary. But drug addiction can create a number of problems that are common to all who live with the issue. These include:
- Hiding substance use
- Lying about substances used or the amount of the drug used
- Violent or erratic behavior
- Extreme mood changes
- Complaints of physical illness
- Continued use of drugs despite negative consequences
- Inability to maintain employment or function well at work
- Rationalizing drug use despite consequences
- Inability to remain clean and sober for any length of time
- Disrupted sleeping and eating patterns
- Choosing to get high over other activities
What Are the Risk Factors for Drug Addiction?
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
When a patient is diagnosed with both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue, then it is termed a Dual Diagnosis. According to Medline Plus, common mental health disorders that tend to occur alongside addiction include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Moderate to severe depression
- Personality disorders
- Mood disorders
In many cases, symptoms of the mental health disorder appear first. As they become more and more overwhelming, the patient may attempt to “treat” those symptoms by using different drugs. For example, a patient who struggles with depression may attempt to improve their mood by taking heroin or prescription drugs. Patients who are living with anxiety may try to calm themselves by smoking marijuana. Conversely, someone dealing with an eating disorder may attempt to further their weight loss attempts by abusing stimulant drugs like cocaine or crystal meth.
In other cases, the drug addiction comes first and due to chronic drug abuse, mental health issues can develop later due to the fact that drug use alters brain function over time.
When and How Should Drug Addiction Be Treated When a Drug Addiction Is Present?
No matter which disorder develops first, both the drug addiction and the mental health disorder should be treated simultaneously at a Dual Diagnosis treatment center. Because the symptoms and effects of one disorder often trigger and drive the other disorder, both issues must be addressed through comprehensive treatment. To learn more about your options in Dual Diagnosis rehab, contact us today at the phone number listed above.
Further Reading About Drug Addiction
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.