In today’s society, drug addiction is treated like an illness or relapsing disorder of the brain, because it compels a person to abuse illicit drugs without rational thought, despite potential awareness of all the dangerous consequences.
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Drug addiction can form a dangerous and destructive pattern of behaviour within a person. They may take drugs, thinking they have positive effects because of the way they make them feel, but may also wish to stop taking drugs because of the after-effects, which take their toll after the immediate ‘high’ experienced. The need to feel the ‘high’ again repeats the cycle, which can prove difficult to break.
A person can become both physically and psychologically addicted to a substance, to the point where they become dependent on it. Only certain substances are physically addictive, and a person’s reaction to a substance will vary greatly from one individual to another. In the cases where a person is both psychologically and physically addicted to a substance, they will constantly crave it to the point where it takes over their thoughts and everyday life, with devastating consequences for their general physical and mental health, confidence, relationships and financial circumstances.
There is a misconception that a drug addict will be perfectly okay if they immediately stop taking drugs. If a person is dependent on a substance, their body’s response to a sudden and immediate removal of the drug from their system can prove fatal. If a person has a drug addiction and stops taking drugs, they can suffer uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the drug from their system such as nausea, seizures, headaches and insomnia.
Drug addiction continues to be a problem worldwide, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths globally every year. In many cases, governments and society generally have the difficult task of ensuring that there are enough facilities available for drug abusers, while also ensuring that crime related to drug use is controlled.
What Is The Difference Between Drug Addiction & Drug Abuse?
These two terms should not be confused or mistaken for one another. It is possible to abuse drugs (through taking them on a single one-off occasion, for example), without being addicted to a substance. Someone abuses drugs when they actively consume them without feeling a compulsive desire to take repeated hits.
Drug abusers are also not at a stage where their habit has taken over every facet of their lives. Repeated abuse of drugs indicates addiction. However, even someone who doesn’t have a drug addiction can at any time be at risk of a fatal overdose. Many people die every year from taking or trying drugs as a one-off experiment, for things to go disastrously wrong.
The Consequences Of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction has negative social and financial consequences for a person. Taking drugs regularly can be very expensive, with many addicts using extreme methods to get the funds to afford their addiction, such as stealing from friends or family, taking out loans and getting in debt to other people. A drug addiction can also steal a person’s future and prospects. As an addiction takes hold, a person may not be interested in holding down a job or completing a course of education and may abandon their future hopes and dreams as a result of mental health issues resulting from their addiction.
What Are The Signs Of Drug Addiction
You should look out for the following signs in a person who could have a potential drug addiction:
- Feeling extreme tiredness
- Blue tinge to nails and lips
- Weak muscles
- Dry mouth
- Slow pulse
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling disorientated
- Feeling confused
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach cramps
- Muscular cramps
Who Is Most Likely To Have A Drug Addiction?
It is difficult to determine who will ever succumb to a drug addiction, and there are a number of factors that can contribute towards a person turning to drugs. There are however particular groups of people who are at a greater risk of succumbing to drug taking. Young people for example are very influential and are more likely to be influenced by friends through peer pressure to try drugs. The earlier a person consumes drugs in their life, the more likely they are to develop a drug addiction in the long-term, especially without help and support.
Those who have been abused in their lives or experienced a traumatic event, especially as children, are also more likely to fall victim to drug abuse and potential addiction, as are those who have very stressful jobs in high power positions.
How Can I Help Someone With A Drug Addiction?
It is very important that you do not put yourself in danger when trying to help someone with a drug addiction. If you speak to them about their addiction, try to be understanding and supportive. Suggest they seek help through rehabilitation and counselling therapy, and always show them kindness and support. If the person is not ready to face rehab for their drug addiction, it is important to try and persuade them that it is the right thing to do.
Ultimately, it is the person with the addiction that needs to take the first step in order to help themselves. This begins with accepting that they have a drug problem. Let the person know that you will be there for them when they are ready to enter rehab. Do not use confrontational behaviour unless you have no choice. Monitor them closely and note any warning behaviour or health signs. Keep talking to them if they are suffering from depression or anxiety.
In some more extreme cases, it may be necessary to set up an intervention in order for a person with a drug addiction to enter rehab. Research interventionists and the process of getting your loved one into rehab thoroughly before taking this step.
If you or someone you love has a drug addiction, we can help at Action Rehab. Get in touch with us today to speak about your circumstances and referral options so we can begin the process of rehabilitation and recovery.