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Addiction

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There is a significant difference between a drug addiction and a drug dependency. Addiction is a mental and physical dependency on a substance while dependency is the body’s natural response to having a medication introduced for a period of time, which creates the body’s belief that it needs the substance to function normally.

DRUG ADDICTION SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to spot a drug addiction is someone in the earliest and most treatable stages. The signs and symptoms of drug addiction include but are certainly not limited to mood swings, withdrawal, weight loss (sometimes weight gain when marijuana is the drug of choice) lying, unexplained absence from work or school, drastic behavioral changes, and discoloration of skin. However, crystal methamphetamine user will show severe physical changes in very short periods of time including sudden and extreme tooth decay, severe weight loss, and sores all over their skin and face where they have picked or cut themselves believing they had to remove something from under their skin.

Anyone can have an addiction to drugs, whether it is street drugs or prescription medication. There are people who are more susceptible, but no one is immune from the possibility of drug addiction. Some scientists believe that drug addiction has biological influences, such as the excessive release of dopamine and endorphins in drug users. There is speculation that social rewards are a motivating factor in drug use, but these theories have yet to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Effects of chronic alcoholism
Image: Effects of chronic alcohol addiction

DRUG ADDICTION CAUSES

Risk factors for drug addiction are both typical and atypical. Teens with addictive personalities who are experiencing severe stress are more likely to try and become addicted to drugs. Often unsupervised teens are likely to try drugs, and may or may not end up addicted to them. Depression is the most common cause of drug addiction. Drug use can alter the reality long enough to provide temporary relief from a problem or unhappy life. Other people such as home makers, professionals, and doctors are at risk due to boredom, depression, or extreme pressure to stay awake and perform on command. People who are introduced to drugs by their friends are likely to continue in their company and eventually begin drug use alone.

Drug use can be detected when behaviors are suspicious and a blood or urine test can be used to determine whether the behaviors are drug related. Most drugs stay in the system anywhere from three days to three months, depending on the drug. Often addicts can be confronted in a hospital setting and will simply admit to drug use and provide a list of drugs which they have used within the last six months to a year.

Untreated drug addiction can lead to serious complications including loss of employment or dropping out of school, crime, jail time, severe illness, homelessness, and death. Not all drug addictions end up with such serious consequences, which can make it harder to convince a drug addict to quit. Some drug addicts have been able to negotiate the world while maintaining their drug addiction.
Drugs addiction
Image: Drugs addiction

DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT

Drug addiction treatment varies, but most people with a drug addiction do need to spend at least thirty days in a rehabilitation facility. There are medications that can help to interrupt the addiction process by alleviating the pleasure associated with drug use. Many drug users are prescribed a daily dose of methadone, a prescription drug which is also addictive. The theory is that is the symptoms of withdrawal from street drugs or painkillers can be alleviated, the source of the drug addiction can be treated and then the dose of methadone can gradually be reduced. Methadone allows the drug addict to function normally while receiving treatment. Therapy and counseling are an intimate part of recovery. Without adequate treatment, drug users are likely to relapse. Therapy and rehabilitation facilities are part of the treatment plan.


The addict needs to have a desire to quit the drug use he or she has become so dependant upon. Without a desire, the addict is likely to relapse at the first available opportunity. Many drug addicts have to find themselves in nearly intolerable pain before deciding to deal with their drug addiction.

Coping with drug use requires counseling for the addict as well as the family members and those affected by the chronic drug use. In therapy, friends and family members will learn to lovingly set limits in dealing with an addict’s drug use.
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