Drug addiction is an issue that’s wider than the traditional stereotypes – anyone can become a drug addict. Whether it’s called drug dependency, drug addiction, speed addiction, heroin addiction, cocaine addiction or substance abuse, it involves not just illegal drugs, but prescription and non-prescription medications too.
Our relationship with drugs may start out simply enough. They may be just something to help us wind down, or a regular part of a big night out. Or they may be prescribed for us, to help us deal with pain or control our moods.
But for some of us, they’ll start to consume more and more of our lives. Eventually, we may become so dependent that living without them or detoxification seems unthinkable – and unbearable. Asking for help with drug problems can seem embarrassing, attempts to cut back or detox may give some unpleasant or frightening side effects and drug intervention by families can be hard.
There are good reasons why many people fail to quit drugs and drug abuse or go through drug detox on their own. Drug Addiction happens on two levels: physical and emotional.
Signs of Physical drug addiction and drug abuse
Being physically addicted to a substance occurs when your body develops a higher tolerance to the effect of the drug you’re taking, whether the substance you are abusing is an illegal drug (like heroin, ice or crystal meth, speed, cocaine, or marijuana) or a prescription or non-prescription medication (like benzos, such as valium, or opioids such as codeine and Panadeine). Higher tolerance means you need a higher and higher dose to feel the same effect.
A physical addiction can be recognized when you stop or cut down the amount you are using. You could expect to experience some, or all, of a range of physical withdrawal symptoms such as:
• Excessive sweating
• Shakiness or tremors
• Sleep disturbances
• Seizures or blackouts
• Increased craving for the substance(s)
• Agitation and irritability
• Appetite disturbances
• Joint pains
• Flu symptoms or fever
• Mood swings
The length of time it takes for your body to detox or withdraw from a substance varies, depending on what you have become addicted to and on your individual drug addiction history. This is why it is safer to detox under professional supervision.
Identifying the signs of emotional dependence on a substance
Emotional dependence to a drug can occur easily and to different degrees. The signs of being emotionally dependent can be split into two categories: obsession symptoms and compulsive symptoms.
Obsession symptoms involve spending large amounts of time ‘obsessing’ or thinking about the following:
• Drug use and drug dependence
• How to get more drugs or drug information
• Thinking about other people who use drugs
• Your behavior while under the influence
• How to quit or cut down drug abuse
• “The next hit” or “getting high”
• Feeling remorse or guilt for past behaviors
• Justifying why it’s okay to use drugs (ie: I only do this once per week, it’s what we do to relax)
Compulsive symptoms relate to the way you may try to commit to cutting down or stopping their drug use, yet still find yourself continuing to use your substance of choice. The following symptoms are indicators of significant emotional dependence:
• Unsuccessful efforts to control drug use
• Priority given to drug use over family, work commitments or other life activities
• Loss of recreational interests
• Loss of friendships
• Reduced ability to function in social or work settings
• Relationship difficulties or conflict
• Paranoid thinking
• Low self-esteem
• Anger or rage outbursts
Taking the first steps towards kicking the dependency
Admitting to yourself, let alone to others, that drugs are a problem and you need help with drugs can be hard. It takes courage. But it is the necessary first step in the journey to recovery.
The next step happens when you talk about your problem to another person. Seeking professional help at a drug rehabilitation clinic such as Cove Center for Recovery, Addiction Treatment Center, is the best chance you have for successfully managing your drug addiction, drug detox, drug rehab and staying drug-free afterwards.
It’s easy to take that step to drug rehabilitation with Cove Center for Recovery, Drug Rehab. You can talk one-on-one with us over the phone, or at an obligation free, no cost assessment appointment, to get a better idea of how we can help.