For a long time, there has been negative stigma associated with drug abuse and drug use disorder.  Substance use disorder is a chronic disease that must be treated with behavioral therapy in treatment centers for true recovery. Understanding drug addiction and warning signs to look out for, is valuable for helping yourself or others find addiction treatment when necessary. Finding treatment for drug abuse early on is key for successful addiction recovery and long-term sobriety. Several levels of care and treatment options are available to create personalized treatment plans that can help anyone at any stage of their addiction. Millions of people have found successful recovery through substance abuse treatment at recovery centers.

The Definition of Addiction

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing mental disorder and brain disease that involves compulsive behaviors or substance abuse despite negative consequences. It is a physical and mental illness that involves complex interactions between a person’s environment, brain circuits, genetics, and life experiences. Individuals with addiction to drugs cannot control stopping use even after it interferes negatively in their life and they wish to stop. Often, addiction to drugs is said to be a disease of the mind, body, and spirit.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction to Drugs

When someone is abusing or addicted to drugs, it can affect them mentally, physically, and behaviorally. Signs of drug use will show up in all aspects of their lives and knowing what to look for could better their chances of successful addiction recovery. Not all addiction looks the same, and someone’s life doesn’t have to be at rock bottom to need help for drug and alcohol addiction. Some signs of substance abuse and addiction include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using
  • Neglecting appearance and hygiene
  • Lowered performance at school or work, including tardiness and absenteeism
  • Obsessing about next dose
  • Change in skin and complexion
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Stealing to obtain drugs or alcohol
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
  • Risk taking behavior
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on substance use
  • Mood swings including irritability
  • New or worsening anxiety or depression

Drug Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Over time, drug abuse can cause a chemical dependency meaning the body relies on drugs or alcohol that are being abused to function normally. When the body no longer has access to these substances, a person can start to feel withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol and drug withdrawals can be uncomfortable, painful, and at times even dangerous or deadly. Depending on the type of drug, different withdrawal symptoms will appear. However, there are general symptoms of drug withdrawals, which include:

  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Depression
  • Heavy sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Bone and muscle aches

More severe withdrawal symptoms can happen with certain addictions, including benzodiazepine abuse and alcohol abuse, which include:

  • Paranoia
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

How Drug Addiction Affects the Brain

Alcohol and drug addiction is a disease of the brain. Each type of drug has its own effect on the brain, but generally, most illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol that have an abuse potential, act on the reward center of the brain. They release bursts of endorphins and other feel good hormones that cause euphoria. The brain learns to associate these rewards with substance use and wants to repeat the experience. As substance abuse is repeated frequently, the brain depends on drugs or alcohol to release these neurotransmitters and can no longer function without the presence of these substances. When they attempt to stop using, their body goes into withdrawals, feels strong cravings, and will likely use again just to feel normal.

Drug Addiction Treatment

Physical and psychological dependence to drugs and alcohol is difficult to break, however it is not impossible and with the right substance abuse treatments, addiction recovery is possible. Personalized treatment plans at an addiction center can offer you the best chance at recovery. Carious treatment options can fit any person’s personal and addiction needs. Inpatient rehab is necessary for severe forms of addiction, but individuals can be just as successful in outpatient treatment when it is the right fit. If you are dealing with co occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or bipolar disorder, it is important to find an addiction center with dual diagnosis treatment. Alcohol and drug rehabilitation can help you recover from both illicit drug and prescription drug addiction.

If you or loved ones are dealing with addiction to drugs and would like more information on treatment approaches, DayBreak Treatment Solutions is available to guide you through addiction substance use disorder rehab.