Drug and Alcohol Rehab in South Bend, Indiana
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Addiction

Drug addiction is defined as the compulsive and repetitive use of a substance such as illicit drugs or prescribed medications. It is estimated that 19.7 million people in the United States use drugs, with approximately 6.4 million of those people addicted to prescription medications. Some of the most commonly abused drugs include marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, ecstasy, benzodiazepines (such as flunitrazepam and temazepam), opioids (such as Vicodin and oxycodone), and methaqualone.

Symptoms

Symptoms of drug addiction can vary from person to person, but there are some symptoms that are more common than others. One of the most common signs of addiction is tolerance. After prolonged use of a drug, the body needs increasingly larger doses of the drug to reach the “high.”

Other symptoms can include:

  • Taking drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • The addict’s life revolves around drug use
  • Abandonment of activities the individual once enjoyed
  • Continuing the drug use despite knowing it is harmful

Causes

There are many different reasons a person becomes addicted to drugs. The most common reason is avoidance of emotion. People can easily become overwhelmed by emotions when they are under significant stress. As their problems worsen (which can be a result of the drug use itself), the use of drugs to alleviate the pain becomes more frequent eventually leading to an addiction.

Other causes may be:

  • The drug fills an emotional void
  • The drug fulfills a need such as providing relief from anxiety
  • The drug hides symptoms of a mental illness such as hallucinations caused by schizophrenia

Risk Factors

Genetics can be a contributing factor in drug addiction. People who come from a family with a strong history of addiction to drugs (or alcohol) are much more likely to become addicts themselves later in life.

Children who have been abused or neglected are also more likely to become addicts as adults. Drugs can be used as an escape from the emotional and mental pain they suffer. The high the drugs offer allows the individual to completely ignore their past and avoid dealing with the issues.

Other risk factors include:

  • Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety
  • Use of drugs at an early age
  • Method of use (whether or not the drug is smoked, injected etc.)

Complications

Drug addiction can have several different complications. One of the most severe complications is sudden death. Addiction can also lead to suicide, health problems (mental, emotional and physical), unemployment, homelessness, poverty, relationship problems, child abuse or neglect and trouble with the law.

Coping and Support

Recovering from drug addiction is a constant battle and requires a strong support system. Addicts must learn new, healthy ways to cope with daily stress, especially if there is an underlying mental disorder. A qualified drug treatment program can be very beneficial in helping the individual find the coping mechanisms that work best for them. Support groups can also be helpful in dealing with emotions and stress by providing an outlet for them.

Prevention

Prevention starts with educating children about the negative effects of drug abuse. Parents need to talk to their children about drugs and listen to their children’s response. It is also important for parents to be role models for their kids by not using drugs themselves. Developing a strong bond with the child also lowers the risk of future drug addiction.

For those who are recovering from drug addiction, it is best to avoid high-risk situations and past associations to prevent temptation. If the individual does relapse, it is important to seek treatment right away.