A good percentage of teenagers and adults have experimented with drug use at some point in their lives, whether it is prescription drugs or recreational drug use. The line to be drawn between casual use and substance abuse or addiction is sometimes hard to define. However one thing is true for all people with a drug addiction - they rely on this drug in order to get trough the day.
The Individual become dependent on the drug for physical and emotional benefits, and the substance abuse and addiction ultimately affects other areas of their life.
Some individuals are more prone to drug addiction than others which is why some people will notice they have become dependent on a drug that their friends tried but never used again. While anyone can become addicted and dependent on the drugs they use, some individuals have traits or family lifestyles which show a higher percentage of substance abuse. Some of the risk factors for drug addiction include a family history of addiction to drugs or alcohol, a history of abuse or neglect as a child, traumatic childhood experiences, mental disorders like anxiety and depression, experimenting with drugs at an early age, and those who choose to use drugs by smoking or injection because these tend to be the most addictive methods of administering drugs.
How One Becomes Addicted to Drugs
When you begin using a certain type of drug whether it is prescription medication or a recreational drug, it affects certain parts of your brain and its functions. Doing recreational drugs creates a surge of the levels of dopamine in your brain which will then trigger feelings of pleasure and nostalgia on many cases. Your brain remembers how this feels which ultimately leads to you wanting to keep reliving the experience and this is how drug abuse gets started. This is also one of the reasons why individuals with certain mental disorders such as depression or anxiety are prone to drug addiction; while other methods of reliving their stress or depressed feelings may not work, they notice the drugs they were trying made them feel happier, and therefore became dependent on them.
Substance Abuse and Addiction Risk Factors
There are a variety of other lifestyle changes and behavioral habits which can increase the likelihood of you becoming addicted to drugs which sometimes are made worse by continuing to try additional or more dangerous substances. The first risk factor in substance abuse is when your body and mind adjusts to the type of drug you are using or how much you are taking and then requires more to get the feeling you are craving. What started as casual drug use can increase to complete dependency in a very short amount of time. If the drugs you are taking are fulfilling some kind of need in your life; this can be one of the biggest risk factors that may result in addiction and dependency. This need may be emotional, psychological or even physical if its some sort of pain reliever for chronic pain. Drugs sometimes fill social needs for individuals who feel awkward and shy when sober but more active and social when they are under the influence.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
There are a variety of signs which can hint at the fact that you or someone you know has become addicted to the drugs you are taking. Some of the more common behavioral signs include neglecting your school or work responsibilities as well as home duties like cleaning and cooking healthy meals, taking dangerous risks while you are under the influence, getting into legal trouble while you are under the influence or in order to obtain drugs, or causing problems with your friendships and relationships.
Additional signs you may be addicted to the drugs you are taking include building up a tolerance to the drugs you abuse, the inability to stop using without intense withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea or insomnia, the feeling you have lost control over your drug use, your life revolving around getting high or obtaining drugs, or the sudden loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
If you have a friend or loved one who is abusing drugs or you suspect they are, these are some of the more common warning signs that may point to drug addiction and abuse. They include changes in appetite and body weight, unusual odor, poor grooming and hygiene habits, reduced coordination and improper balance, a sudden drop in attendance at work or school, financial problems, new groups of friends, engaging in illegal activities, mood swings and irritability, lack of motivation, lethargy and being suddenly anxious or paranoid. Much of the signs in others include an abrupt difference from how they used to act and react, and how they act now.
Getting Help for Drug Addiction
The first step to overcoming your addiction is to accept that you have a problem and look for professional help. Quitting a substance abuse can be an overwhelming experience and your best chance is to seek help from a local drug rehab center. These types of centers are qualified and experienced in helping those addicted to various drugs or alcohol in not only quitting but handling the withdrawal symptoms and getting through the detoxification process.