What is Drug Addiction?

Substance abuseDrug addiction is a state in which the user has developed a mental or physical dependence on a substance. The drug in question can be either a prescription drug or an illegal substance.

The urge to consume drugs grows to the point where the user is overpowered by the overwhelming need to use the substance regardless of the damage it has on their health and wellbeing. The addiction to drugs typically starts with occasional or social use which can be pleasurable and produce feelings of relaxation or euphoria. As use becomes more frequent the user’s tolerance level builds and so the need to consume more of the drug to achieve the same level of feeling builds. In addition, continued use alters the signals from the brain which results in an even stronger urge to use the substance.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, illegal drugs are now obtained with relative ease. The most common of these are listed below:

• Amphetamine
• Cocaine
• Crack Cocaine
• Ecstasy
• Heroin
• Magic Mushrooms
• Marijuana
• Nitrites
• Solvents
• Tranquillisers

Prescription drugs are also open to abuse or misuse either purposefully or indeed by mistaken overuse which can also be a path to addiction. The addiction rate from prescription drugs is increasing due to the easy global availability via online outlets.

Prescription drugs commonly used abusively fall under the categories of anti-depressants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and painkillers such as:

• Ativan
• Fentora
• Percocet
• Ritalin
• Soma
• Temazepan
• Vicodin
• Valium
• Xanax XR

Signs that indicate a problem with Drug Addiction

Whether you are evaluating your own situation or that of someone you care for the physical signs of addction to look out for when it comes to drug addiction do vary considerably depending on the substance. The following are examples of some of the common symptoms:

• Weight Loss or Gain
• Bloodshot Eyes, Dilated Pupils
• The Shakes
• Slurred Speech
• Impaired Coordination
• Disturbed Sleep Patterns
• Poor Physical Appearance
• Tremors
• Sudden Changes in Appetite

If you are particularly concerned that someone you care about may be suffering from a drug related issue, the answers to the following questions can also indicate that there is a problem:

• Has the person lost interest in their personal appearance?
• Has their general hygiene deteriorated?
• Have you noticed that they are subject to sudden mood swings?
• Are they going missing for long periods of time?
• Are they being unusually secretive about things?
• Have they changed or stopped socialising with their normal friends?
• Are they maintaining interest in their normal hobbies?
• Have you noticed if any of your valuables have suddenly gone missing?

If you are concerned about your own situation try answer the following questions about your personal behaviour:

• Have you increased the amount of the substance you are using or the frequency in which you are taking it?
• Are you finding that the effects of the substance are not lasting as long as it did?
• Have you noticed any change in the affects you get from the substance?
• If you don’t have the drug how do you feel, do you feel depressed, anxious, nauseas, or do you suffer with insomnia?
• Do you panic at the thought of running out of the substance?
• Do you plan your day around the availability of the substance?

Drug addictions can and often do cause many physical issues for the human body. This will depend greatly on the substance being used and the methods of consumption. The following list is by no means complete:

• Issues with Blood Pressure
• Heart Attacks
• Seizures
• Strokes
• Hepatitis

Addiction to Drugs also poses the threat of psychological effects such as:

• Anxiety
• Depression
• Paranoia
• Hallucinations

Substance Abuse.

Drug abuse or Substance abuse, is a condition that is characterised by a pattern of using a substance for the purpose of changing a person’s mood or their physical feeling. The abuser is using the substance contrary to the original purpose of the drug and is taking the substance in higher doses than the manufacturer intended.

Substances that are subject to abuse include prescription and illegal drugs as well as non-medical substances such as glues and other solvents, inhalers and even tobacco, coffee and alcohol. Not all abused substances alter mood or feelings, for example anabolic steroids. In theory, almost any substance could be subject to abuse.

All substances can be abused and if they are, pose a potential health hazard to the user. Every drug can cause short and long term damaging health effects. Amphetamines increase heart rate and blood pressure. Opium based drugs may decrease heart rate and lessen the speed of respiration.

There are various treatments available for substance abuse including behavioural therapies and/or medications. The method of treatments will be dependent on the individual, and many courses of treatment may be needed to reach a successful result.

If you or someone you care about is suffering with a drug issue the best advice is to seek professional help as quickly as possible. If you are unsure, seek guidance from a professional who will provide confidential advice that will help you to clarify your position and understand the treatments that are available to you.