If you or someone you know has a physical, emotional, social or psychological dependency on any form of drug, it may be a sign of addiction. Drug addiction occurs when you are unable to control your drug use, when most of your thoughts are either about obtaining more of the drug you have or about the next time you use the drug, and if you have not only intense cravings but severe withdrawal symptoms if you go a period of time without it.
Most people who are addicted to drugs often tell themselves they "need" it to get through the day; even just to get up in the morning and function somewhat normally.
About Drug Addiction
Most individuals who become addicted to drugs, whether it is a recreational drug or prescription medication originally given to you for pain, do so casually. Some people are take pain killers that they become addicted to over time and as their body develops a tolerance for it, they must continue to take it but in higher doses. Others begin a recreational drug in a social or casual atmosphere, and continue using this drug or others like it, until they gradually begin taking more drugs in higher doses and for longer periods of time. As you begin using the drug, your brain will create an endorphin state causing pleasure and blissful happiness throughout your body; this feeling is remembered by your brain causing you to crave the drug in order to continue to feel this feeling more often.
Drug Addiction Risk Factors
While anyone can become addicted to any type of drug, there are some people whose backgrounds or family history make them prone to develop an addiction more quickly and easily. Some of the risk factors include a family history of drug abuse and a family history of mental illness such as anxiety or depression, going through a traumatic experience as a child, being mentally or physically abused as a child or teenager, and having any type of mental disorder. If you have one or more of these risk factors, it is even more important for you to stay away from drugs than others because you are prone to develop an addiction. You may also be prone to drug addiction simply if you have an addictive personality, which is someone that tends to directly connect to certain habits and behaviors more easily than others, where they become easily addicted to things much more quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
There are a variety of behavioral, mental and physical signs and symptoms which can point to someone who is addicted to drugs. Maybe you feel that you are becoming addicted to a drug or someone you know and love is beginning to act differently and you have your suspicions. In the end, someone who begins acting differently than they have in the past for no other known reasons is cause for suspicion when it comes to substance abuse. Some behavioral signs of drug abuse include having sudden mood swings, irritability and angry outbursts that seem unwarranted and uncharacteristic, the sudden disinterest in activities they used to enjoy, being involved in illegal activity and frequent run-ins with the police, decline in attendance at work or school, being suddenly isolated from their friends and family or hanging out with a different group of people, or suddenly having poor grooming habits and hygiene habits. Additional signs and symptoms of drug addiction which you may notice in yourself are that most of your thoughts and feelings are in relation to getting more of the drug or on the next time you will be using the drug, feeling you need the drug to get through the day, having intense withdrawal symptoms after not using for a certain amount of time, and not being able to quit after making several attempts.
Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Different drugs will have its own set of withdrawal symptoms, which are emotional and physical ailments that affect you after you quit using the drugs, but there are some which seem generalized for most all types of drugs. The most common withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nausea and vomiting, body spasms, confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness, poor balance, insomnia and chronic body pain. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are more severe and will only affect certain individuals; these include seizures, irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, anxiety, and depression with suicidal tendencies, delirium and hallucinations.
Addiction Treatment Options
If you or someone you know is showing signs of drug addiction, it is very important that you find professional help immediately. Contact a local drug rehab center as soon as possible to get help in coming to terms with your addiction, helping you quit and deal with the withdrawal symptoms, enroll you in a detoxification program, and make sure you get counseling which will help you remain off the drug.