What is drug addiction? What causes it, and what are the signs and symptoms of drug addiction? No one wakes up in the morning thinking that he or she will become a drug addict. Addiction can be severe and have life-threatening consequences, but healing is possible – and drug-related tragedies are preventable. Treatment for drug addiction may take place at a residential facility, an outpatient facility, or both. Treatment often includes detox (supervised for safety) followed by the rehabilitation process, which involves therapeutic intervention, community support, and life skills training.
What Causes Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction occurs when the reward center in the brain is rewired by the surge of dopamine and serotonin brought on by the use of certain substances. This rush of feel-good chemicals compels the desire to continue to use drugs. Individuals who use drugs are most often seeking ways to relieve physical or emotional pain, even to self-medicate a mental health condition. But drug abuse quickly turns from the perceived solution to a multi-faceted problem.
When users take a lot of a certain drug, they become tolerant to its effects and even experience painful symptoms of withdrawal when substance use has stopped. This rewiring of the brain’s reward center, and the pain that follows lack of drug use, compels individuals to seek out drugs without regard for adverse consequences.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in people becoming dependent on drugs that were prescribed to them for a medical reason, such as painkillers after a surgery or injury, or anxiety medications given by a psychiatrist. As their tolerance to these medications built up — and the physical or emotional pain returned — they may have started taking more in order to experience comfort or pain relief. Overuse or misuse of drugs can cause dependence, which may quickly turn into addiction — driving individuals to steal from others, sell their belongings, or engage in risky behaviors in order to obtain more of the drug.
Drug addiction can happen to anyone, and it is happening more frequently in the US because of prescription drugs. Synthetic opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl have been the most harmful, accounting for 67% of accidental overdose deaths.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
What are the common signs and symptoms of drug addiction?
Drug addiction symptoms may vary based on what kind of drugs an individual is taking, but here are a few signs that he or she may have fallen into addiction:
- Isolating behavior or disappearing from home or family events seemingly at random
- Mood swings, self-deprecating behavior, or pervasive apathy
- Dilated eyes and seeming to be “out of it”
- Interrupted sleeping patterns, such as extreme oversleeping or insomnia
- Lying or stealing behaviors
- Continually asking friends and family for money or selling items of value
- Lack of regard for others or personal well-being
- Increased preoccupation
- Sudden outbursts of anger or intense grief
- Paranoia or increased fear and anxiety
- Withdrawal symptoms set in when drug use stops (high sensitivity to pain, tremors, restlessness, fatigue, clammy skin, sweating, vomiting, chills, aches)
- Suicidal ideation and increase in risk-taking behaviors
- Joking about being addicted or denying any altered behavior patterns
If you or someone you love is exhibiting signs of drug addiction, please get in touch with our team today. We can guide you in determining your best next steps and help you get started on the path to recovery.
Drug Addiction Facts
Common Types of Drug Addiction
- Opioid Addiction. Opioids include heroin and morphine as well as opioid synthetics, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Opioid drugs are addictive because they are natural pain relievers that also induce a sense of calm and euphoria.
- Cocaine Addiction. Cocaine is a stimulant made from the coca leaf, and it generates a rush of energy. Crack cocaine is an especially addictive form of the drug.
- Synthetic Drug Addiction. Synthetic drugs include bath salts, MDMA, K2 (synthetic cannabinoids), and other chemically developed substances that have intense psychoactive properties. These drugs are dangerous because they can be altered easily and the effects they may have are often unknown.
- Methamphetamine Addiction. A powerful stimulant, meth is known for its stark highs and dramatic lows as well as its damaging side effects on the physical body.
- Amphetamine Addiction. Prescription amphetamines like Adderall and Dexedrine are stimulants that can be addictive when used for nonmedical purposes.
- Prescription Drug Addiction. Prescription drug addiction may include the nonmedical use of benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium) or opioid drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone (OxyContin and Vicodin).
- Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Combining drugs and alcohol can easily lead to addiction due to the varying effects of these mood-altering substances. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are an especially addictive combination. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can be dangerous when used alongside opioid drugs, which also depress the respiratory system and other body functions.
Drug Abuse and Overdose Facts
According to the CDC, over 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2018. Roughly 70% of those overdoses involved prescription or illicit opioids.
An estimated 750,000 people have died from drug overdoses in the past 20 years.
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 16.9 million people misused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the last year, including 9.9 million who misused prescription pain relievers.
Get Drug Addiction Treatment through BeWell Network
BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based residential and outpatient treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one needs help for drug addiction, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.