It can be difficult to admit that it’s time for drug addiction treatment. There’s a lot of stigma about addiction despite the fact that it’s been officially classified as a chronic brain disease, not a weakness of character or personal failure. It’s also widely recognized that going through addiction recovery is a difficult process that involves a lot of pain, personal discovery, and hard work. However, no matter how tough treatment is, the inevitable results of ongoing drug abuse are worse.
People can take drugs recreationally without ever becoming addicted to them. They can also take drugs for medical purposes, following doctors’ directions to the letter, and still develop an addiction. Either way, anybody taking potentially addictive substances should keep an eye out for signs of addiction. Some people are more susceptible to addiction than others, so even if others have not become addicted from taking the same drug in the same amount, this doesn’t mean you’re safe from this disorder.
- Type of drug being taken
- Body mass
- Genetic factors
- Whether or not bingeing behavior occurs
- Frequency of drug use
- Method of intake (e.g., oral, smoking, snorting, etc.)
- Whether or not the drug is mixed with other intoxicants
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 22.7 million people in the US needed treatment for an addiction disorder in 2013.
Signs of Addiction
Most drugs involve both physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Physical addiction, also known as dependence, involves the development of a tolerance to the drug and the emergence of withdrawal symptoms when intake stops or the dose is significantly reduced. These symptoms vary from substance to substance and can be extremely unpleasant. In rare cases and only with certain intoxicants, they can even be life-threatening.
Psychological addiction involves cravings and the emotional attachment that people develop for their drug of choice, plus the distress they feel when the drug is not available. This goes beyond the emotional symptoms often involved in withdrawal. Many addicted individuals will become distressed while on the drug if they have no more and no easy way to obtain more.
Other signs of addiction include:
- Secretive behavior
- Hiding or hoarding the drug in the home
- Incurring debt related to the drug
- Professional or relationship problems caused by the drug
- Changes in social circles
- Changes in grooming habits and/or hygiene
- Losing interest in former hobbies
- Legal troubles involving the drug
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Unexplained mood swings
- Avoidance of situations where the drug is unlikely to be available
- Social isolation
- Inability or unwillingness to quit using the drug
Each drug also has its own physical and emotional effects. If these start to change or if it gets to the point that the user needs to take the drug just to feel normal, this is a serious indication of an addiction.
The sooner an addicted individual seeks treatment, the better off that person will be. Addiction only gets worse as time goes on, and seeking out treatment early can make it so the recovery process isn’t such an ordeal. There are many treatment centers across the US, most of which address multiple forms of addiction to many different drugs.