Addiction: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, Types & Treatment

what is drug addiction

Support can go a long way in making the recovery process more successful. Many organizations can help, depending on the type of addiction. Make your tax-deductible gift and be a part of the cutting-edge research and care that’s changing medicine.

Stimulants include amphetamines, meth (methamphetamine), cocaine, methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, others) and amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (Adderall XR, Mydayis). They’re often used and misused in search of a “high,” or to boost energy, to improve performance at work or school, or to lose weight or control appetite. Despite the name, these are not bath products such as Epsom salts. Substituted cathinones can be eaten, snorted, inhaled or injected and are highly addictive.

To locate treatment facilities in your area, try calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for a list of options. You can also visit SAMHSA’s treatment locator website, the American Addiction Centers location finder, or, if you have health insurance, call your insurance company for in-network services. For questions about medical detoxification, talk with your healthcare provider. Addiction affects millions of people each year, causing over 11 million deaths from smoking, alcohol abuse, and illegal drugs.

  1. Substances and certain activities affect your brain, especially the reward center of your brain.
  2. Addiction is a chronic condition with a range of psychological and physical effects.
  3. Tolerance happens when a dose of a substance becomes less effective over time.

Fears about addiction should not prevent you from using narcotics to relieve your pain, but it’s smart to use caution. So you might need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. And other things you enjoyed, like food and hanging out with family, may give you less pleasure. Many, though not all, self-help support groups use the 12-step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.

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When you’re addicted to drugs, you can’t resist the urge to use them, no matter how much harm the drugs may cause. The earlier you get treatment for drug addiction (also called substance use disorder) the more likely you are to avoid some of the more dire consequences of the disease. With treatment, many people manage addiction and live full, healthy lives.

what is drug addiction

Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives. If a person experiences a substance overdose, those around them should seek emergency medical assistance immediately. A person who has recovered from an overdose may want to seek professional help to treat their addiction.

Drug Overdose

With addiction, you may need to use higher doses, but it’s not for pain relief. Still, talk to your doctor if this effect becomes troubling. Drug misuseis when you use legal or illegal substances in ways you shouldn’t. You might take more than the regular dose of pills or use someone else’s prescription. You may misuse drugs to feel good, ease stress, or avoid reality. But usually, you’re able to change your unhealthy habits or stop using altogether.

Help from your health care provider, family, friends, support groups or an organized treatment program can help you overcome your drug addiction and stay drug-free. Drug addiction can start with experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some people, the drug use becomes more frequent. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction begins when they take prescribed medicines or receive them from others who have prescriptions. Symptoms of addiction often include declining physical health, irritation, fatigue, and an inability to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior. Addiction can also lead to behaviors that strain relationships and inhibit daily activities. Your doctor, your local poison center, or the emergency department of your local hospital may be able to help determine the seriousness of a suspected drug overdose.

Not when it causes financial, emotional, and other problems for you or your loved ones. That urge to get and use drugs can fill up every minute alcohol use and death by suicide of the day, even if you want to quit. The self-help support group message is that addiction is an ongoing disorder with a danger of relapse.

Some people who’ve been using opioids over a long period of time may need physician-prescribed temporary or long-term drug substitution during treatment. As time passes, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. As your drug use increases, you may find that it’s increasingly difficult to go without the drug. Attempts to stop drug use may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill. Addiction treatment can be difficult, but it is often effective.

what is drug addiction

The initial decision to take drugs is typically voluntary. But with continued use, a person’s ability to exert self-control can become seriously impaired. This impairment in self-control is cognitive behavioral therapy for relapse prevention the hallmark of addiction. There’s not a single cause of addiction — it’s a very complex condition. A significant part of how addiction develops is through changes in your brain chemistry.

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

The effects of these drugs can be dangerous and unpredictable, as there is no quality control and some ingredients may not be known. Remember, many people deny that they have problems for a long time. Just remind them that you care and ask permission to keep checking in with them. A person with addiction can find many organizations that may help them. A person can also call a hotline for help with their addiction.

Addiction is a serious, chronic dependence on a substance or activity. The prevalence of addiction costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Many people, but not all, start using a drug or first engage in an activity voluntarily. The term addiction does not only refer to dependence on substances such as heroin or cocaine. Some addictions also involve an inability to stop partaking in activities such as gambling, eating, or working. But if you’ve misused drugs or alcohol in the past or have family members who have, you may be at a higher risk.

Letting your friends, family, and those closest to you know about your treatment plan can help you keep on track and avoid triggers. The best plans are comprehensive, as addiction often affects many areas of life. Treatments will focus on helping you or the person you know stop seeking and engaging in their addiction. Charity Action on Addiction, 1 in 3 people in the world have an addiction of some kind. Addiction can come in the form of any substance or behavior. The relapse or recurrence of use process begins weeks or months before a person actually takes the substance.

Taking some drugs can be particularly risky, especially if you take high doses or combine them with other drugs or alcohol. Misuse refers to the misuse of a substance at high doses what is holistic addiction treatment or in inappropriate situations that could lead to health and social problems. If your parents or siblings have problems with alcohol or drugs, you’re more likely as well.

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