What is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a disorder in which the progressive use of drugs develops into uncontrolled, compulsive use with no regard to the harmful consequences. Addiction can alter the chemical balance in your brain, which may affect your mood, energy level and behavior. Once the chemistry in your brain adapts to the drug presence, it will become harder to quit due to the withdrawal symptoms that are generated when the drug use is decreased or stopped.
Drug addiction is linked to many of the social problems in the United States. Statistics show that most cases of hepatitis C and approximately 1/3 of all AIDS cases are due to injected drug use. 50% of those arrested for theft, assault and homicide were under the influence of drugs. In addition, 60% of the individuals in federal prisons are serving time for drug related crimes.
Signs of Drug Addiction
There are several warnings signs to look for if you think you or your loved one may be struggling with drug addiction.
Warning Signs Include:
- Mood change, easily angered
- Unkempt physical appearance
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
- Unreliability, absence from school or work
- Detached from family and friends
- Change in sleep habits
Reasons for Drug Use
Why would anyone use drugs if they know that it could lead to self destruction? Some start by experimenting, some have friends that use drugs, and others just want to escape. Drugs confuse the brain cells by sending messages of euphoria. The more often you use drugs, the more drugs it will take to get you to feel that same sense of euphoria – this is called tolerance. Once you are addicted, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to quit using drugs. Withdrawal symptoms may be anything from the inability to sleep to severe muscle cramping and vomiting.
Drug Addiction Treatment
Drug addiction knows no race, age, creed or sexual identity. Anyone can struggle once they have crossed the line from abuse to addiction, and most will need help to stop and possibly a detox center. Drug addiction treatment can be anything from 12-step meetings, therapy, intensive out-patient treatment to a residential drug treatment center.