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Drug Addiction

woman with drug addiction

 

Addiction to drugs can lead to loss of financial resources, loss of support networks, damage to the brain and other organs, and even death. Depending on the drug, addicts can build up tolerance to their substance of choice, increasing their risk of an overdose. A drug addiction can also push addicts into engaging in risky behaviors such as committing crimes in order to obtain money, sexual behavior or using unsanitary delivery devices such as dirty needles. Each has their own negative consequence. The fallout from an untreated drug addiction can be devastating.

Dangers of Drug Addiction

Different drugs have different effects on the body. For example, nicotine primarily damages the lungs and respiratory system, while cocaine causes damage to the heart. While the exact physical effects of drug use vary from drug to drug, the secondary effects are common to all. Besides the drugs themselves, the delivery device that is used to take drugs plays a significant role in its risks. For example, a dirty needle can give the user Hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or collapsed veins. The expense of illicit drugs, paired with an addict’s prioritization of using the drug, means that addicts quickly exhaust their money and assets to fund their addiction. Addicts also have a tendency to push away their social connections. They might rebuff friends and family who attempt to intervene, or even manipulate them for money or other aid. Eventually, an addict will be left alone with their drug addiction and thus even more vulnerable.

A drug addiction, left untreated, can do more than just degrade the body of the addict. Addicts sometimes turn to crime like robbery or prostitution to fund their addiction, potentially putting themselves at risk for legal trouble or becoming victims of violent crime. This is also the point where an addict’s problems spill over into the lives of loved ones.

Addiction and Tolerance

Drug addiction can be quite dangerous due to the body’s tolerance mechanism. Tolerance is the way the human body builds up a resistance to substances it ingests. In practical terms, this means that a drug addict needs to continuously increase their doses in order to get the same effects of the drug. While the subjective effects have become weaker, the toxicity and danger of the substance has not. If the body’s tolerance to the drug increases each time the addict consumes the drug, then the risk of overdosing also increases. The human brain has a euphoric recall. When drugs are taken, the brain knows that there is a tolerance level and remembers the feeling that the drug has, causing the addict to want to “chase the first high”. In addition, the damage that the drug has done to the body over time also makes the addict more vulnerable to further organ damage and deterioration.

Drugabuse.gov past month illicit drug use - 2013

Drug Addiction Treatment Center

Drug addiction treatment centers help addicts manage and recover from their addiction. Rehabilitation involves separating the addict not only from their substance, but also from other distractions from the outside world. An addiction often comes with one or more psychological disorders that might have appeared before or during the addiction. Treating those can make it easier for an addict to face their addiction. These drug addiction treatment centers give addicts the tools they need to manage their disease so they can live life without using drugs to function.

Addiction and tolerance to a drug sometimes means that attempting to stop taking that drug will cause a backlash in the body called withdrawal. Withdrawal ranges from mild to potentially lethal depending on the drug, the addict and the dosage history. Some drug addiction treatment centers offer detoxification (or “detox”) treatment to monitor withdrawals and ensure the addict is as comfortable as possible.

Drug addiction treatment centers use different techniques and approaches to their treatments (these are also known as modalities). It is important to look at different options and decide which treatment center might suit the addict best.

Delaying Treatment

Addiction becomes riskier and riskier as time goes on. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can reduce that risk by intervening before overdosing, legal troubles and other medical risks become impossible to control. Waiting can lead to further damage, which may be irreversible.

Addiction is a chronic disease. Like diabetes, the disease requires long-term management and behavioral changes, but it is possible to regain a healthy and happy life.

Are you looking for a drug addiction treatment center well suited for you or a loved one? Call our addiction advisors for the guidance you’re looking for: 1-800-259-1361

Most Commonly Abused Substances

  • Alcohol
  • Ayahuasca
  • Amphetamines
  • Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones)
  • Cocaine
  • Crack Cocaine
  • Crystal Meth
  • Ecstasy
  • DMT
  • GHB
  • Hallucinogens
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Marijuana (Cannabis)
  • Mescaline (Peyote)
  • Methamphetamines
  • Morphine
  • Mushrooms
  • Over-the-counter Cough/Cold Medicines
  • Opiates
  • Prescription Opioids
  • Prescription Sedatives (tranquilizers, depressants)
  • Prescription Stimulants
  • Psilocybin
  • Salvia
  • Steroids (Anabolic)
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids
  • Tobacco