Drug addiction is a psychological and physical disease that leads to an inability to stop taking drugs or medication.
A broad term, it can refer to cocaine, cannabis, nicotine amongst many others.
As a result of being unable to stop taking drugs, addicts will typically continue to take a drug even when it hurts them and loved ones.
They may even continue to take it when they cannot afford to do so.
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Recognising Drug Addiction in Others
Drug addiction is generally easy to spot, although the symptoms vary dramatically based on the drug in question.
For substances containing cannabis, side-effects include:
- A sense of euphoria or feeling ‘high’
- Red eyes
- Increased blood pressure
- Slowed reaction time
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Decreased coordination
Long-term use can also cause:
- Poor cognitive performance
- Reduced ability at work
- Reduced number of friends
An addiction to synthetic cannabinoids, such as K2 and spice, has the following symptoms:
- A sense of euphoria
- Extreme anxiety
Substituted cathinone or ‘bath salts’, whilst also synthetic, differ from synthetic cannabinoids in that they are mind-altering (psychoactive).
Their symptoms include:
- Increased sex drive
- Loss of muscle control
- Panic attacks
- Psychotic behaviour
The risk of addiction and how fast you become addicted varies by drug.
Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers, have a higher risk and cause addiction more quickly than others.
As the addiction develops, most find that they need more and more of the substance to obtain the same high.
A consequence of this is the inability to feel normal without it that leads to strong psychological and physical side effects.
What are the Risks?
Drug addiction can grip anybody, regardless of age or background.
However, certain factors can make the possibility of drug addiction more likely, such as:
- Mental health disorders – certain mental illnesses, such as ADHD and PTSD, can make drug addiction more likely.
- Early use – picking up a drug habit early in life increases the chances of developing an addiction later on.
- Family history of addiction – addiction is in part genetic, meaning that if a close blood relative has a drug addiction, you may be more likely to develop one also.
My Loved One is Addicted – Should I Intervene?
A difficult symptom-based by drug addicts is lying and secrecy. This can make intervening especially difficult.
It is also the case that intervening can be emotionally stressful, sometimes resulting in for harm than good.
An intervention should be carefully planned and may be done by family and friends in consultation with a doctor, such as a licensed alcohol and drug counsellor.
Another avenue is family therapy.
The Executive Rehab Guide is published by Castle Craig, a private addiction clinic which specialises in family therapy for drug addicts and their loved ones.
For more details, visit their website.
Help for the family:
- Steps to motivate a loved one to go to rehab
- Convincing a loved one that rehab is the best option
- How can you help an addict?
- 5 crucial things to stop if you live with an addict
- Luxury rehab centres in the UK
- Are you an enabler?
What Help is Available?
With any addiction, it is good practise to visit a GP first to assess your symptoms.
From there, there are several options when approaching drug addiction.
If you decide that inpatient treatment is right for you or your loved one, there are multiple options available.
However, long waiting times and poor facilities can often be a barrier to recovery.
Castle Craig Hospital, the UK’s leading addiction clinic, offers state-of-the-art addiction care and recovery route for those considering private inpatient treatment programmes.
For more information and a free addiction assessment, visit Castle Craig’s website.