Many people try recreational drugs at some point in their lives without ever becoming addicted. Others take prescription pain medications exactly as their doctors prescribed only to find themselves unable to control or stop their drug use. Also known as substance use disorder, drug addiction is a complex mental health issue that has many underlying causes.
When a person is addicted to drugs, they think about them incessantly. They make getting high or finding ways to get high their top priority. Even facing severe consequences as the result of drug use does not change their behaviors. People who are addicted to drugs will continue using them despite job loss, loss of stable housing, legal problems, and the loss of important relationships.
Many addictive substances change the way in which people perceive pain. For instance, opioids block the brain’s pain receptors so that even when the conditions for pain are present, none is felt. Addictive substances also have the potential to radically alter the brain’s chemistry in other ways. In fact, some do so permanently. After abusing drugs for too long, many people have a hard time feeling happy, motivated, or even in tune with the world around them on their own.
These and other changes within the brain and body set the stage for drug addiction. Although people are constantly at risk of becoming dependent upon drugs when abusing them, full-blown addiction is reached when a person cannot function without them. If you experience widespread physical and psychological distress signals. each time you limit your drug use or stop using outright, these are withdrawal symptoms. The development of withdrawal symptoms during abstinence is a sure sign of drug addiction.
While urine, hair, and blood tests can be used to identify drug use, they are not effective in diagnosing drug addiction. There are multiple factors that must be assessed including:
Because addiction is recognized as a mental health disorder, many medical professionals rely on the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Most commonly, however, the presentation of withdrawal symptoms during abstinence is recognized as a clear indicator of addiction. People who stop using habit-forming drugs suddenly often develop problems such as:
Certain substances can also cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as auditory and visual hallucinations and seizures. This is especially true during self-supervised, unmonitored detox or when people go “cold turkey”. In the effort to promote the safety and health of people in recovery, anyone who experiences withdrawal symptoms when abstaining is advised to seek treatment. When relatively mild, initial withdrawal symptoms are not mitigated using needs-specific medical interventions, detox for many substances can be both dangerous and potentially fatal. This is true for alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other substance types.
If you believe that someone you care about is suffering from drug addiction, there are several key signs to look for. These include:
Drug addiction is defined by largely compulsive behavior. Addicts experience compulsive cravings for their substances of choice. They’re known to seek them out compulsively. Whenever substance use becomes the first priority in a person’s life, the likelihood of addiction is incredibly high.
Treating drug addiction and curing it means two very different things. Although substance use disorder (SUD) can certainly be treated, it cannot be cured. Even after inpatient or outpatient rehab has been completed, SUD remains a chronic, lifelong issue. Addiction must be diligently managed. People who are successful in long-term addiction recovery rely on things like:
Drug addiction has many possible underlying causes, and each of these must be addressed in addiction treatment. Some people abuse drugs due to low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth. Others abuse drugs to escape physical pain, the emotional pain of past or present traumas, or the discomfort of unresolved guilt or grief. Among drug heavy drug users, there is also a high prevalence of co-occurring disorders. Drug abuse is a common way for people with undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders to treat their own emotional pain.
There are many effective treatments for drug addiction and no specific treatment type is guaranteed to work well for everyone. For people with co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment is always advised. Dual diagnosis treatment programs aim to simultaneously treat both drug abuse and mental health disorders like:
This eliminates the need to self-treat in unhealthy ways and establishes a stable foundation for long-term addiction recovery.
Rehab programs offer new and healthier coping tools for dealing with stress, physical pain, and emotional pain for all participants. Among some of the therapies and treatment types offered in rehab are:
For highly addictive substances that dramatically alter brain chemistry, brain functioning, and ultimately a person’s self-control and decision-making abilities, targeted weaning programs are often applied. Certain withdrawal medications can be used in lieu of illicit or prescribed substances to limit the discomfort and challenges of withdrawal.
Other forms of medication support are often offered to limit the psychological effects of withdrawal including depression, overwhelming anxiety, insomnia and other sleep troubles, and more. One of the most important things to know about addiction recovery is that even long after withdrawal is complete, people will still need to have the right tools and skills for remaining on course.
At Agape Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, we take a holistic and entirely individualized approach to treating drug addiction. We recognize that every patient and every addiction type is unique. From the moment that our clients arrive, our team offers targeted, needs-specific support.
We perform comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations upon entry, and we use these assessments to create customized treatment plans. Throughout treatment, our patients receive around-the-clock monitoring and timely interventions. They also have access to a diverse range of on-campus holistic services and therapies such as:
We also offer multiple options in group and individual counseling, life-planning, goal-setting, and skill-building services, and relapse prevention planning.
We strive to make starting drug rehab as easy as it can possibly be. We know just how challenging it is for people to make this important and life-changing commitment. Call us today to find out more about our programs, our fees, and our availability. Our admissions coordinators can answer your questions about insurance, help you make transportation arrangements, or start your intake assessment.
Agape Treatment Center for substance abuse embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances. We provide individuals all over the country with the opportunity to achieve the gift of lasting sobriety.