A chronic, long-lasting and relapsing brain disease, addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is characterized by compulsive use of these addictive substances despite being aware of their harmful consequences. A serious and expensive societal problem, drug overdoses claimed more than 59,000 American lives in 2016.
Addiction can alter the way our brain works by rewiring its fundamental structure. Individuals addicted to drugs and/or alcohol show measurable changes in those areas of the brain that are critical to learning and memory, decision making, judgment and behavior control. Once addicted, an individual gets cravings that are painful, persistent and disturbing.
Similar to any chronic illness, addiction can be effectively managed at professional addiction rehab centers through a combination of detoxification (medical or natural), psychotherapies and lifestyle changes.
Signs and symptoms of drug addiction
Often considered a moral failing, a character flaw or something that “bad people” indulge in, addiction is a disease caused by various factors. Though no single factor can predict whether someone will become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, the risk of addiction to these addictive substances is influenced by factors like environmental, biological and developmental factors. The higher the risk factors, greater the chance of developing an addiction.
While each drug has its own manifestations, following are some of the common signs of drug addiction.
- Sweating and tremors
- Severe mood swings
- Sudden change of behavior
- Nausea and drowsiness
- Hallucinations, delusions or paranoia
- Drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms
- Declined performance at work or school
- Loss of interest in activities once considered enjoyable
Substance addiction: Causes and consequences
People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Often taken as part of experimentation, an escape from reality or simply to seek pleasure, the consequences of drug use are often worse than the reasons they were initially taken for.
Unlike other diseases, addiction to drugs and/or alcohol often begins voluntarily and gets progressive over time. Using drugs and/or alcohol can cause one to experience a variety of short-term and long-term consequences. Depending on the type of drug used, the amount of drug abused and other factors, drug users can experience a variety of short-term and long-term consequences.
Following are some of the negative health effects of drug abuse:
- Mental illnesses
- Heart or lung disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Drug overdose and addiction
In addition to causing emotional and physical consequences, alcohol and/or drug use can also have a host of indirect effects on the user as well as those around them, such as the risk of trauma, injury and communicable diseases. Changes may be seen in one’s education, employment, relationships and criminal justice involvement. In addition, drug-related legal troubles can lead to a number of consequences including fines, arrests, and disruption of the criminal record. Every year, drugs (prescription and illicit) and alcohol claim more than 90,000 American lives, incurring more than $700 billion in increased healthcare costs, crime and productivity.
Drug use often tricks the brain into thinking that drugs are essential, with any attempt to quit resulting in severe withdrawal symptoms and uncontrollable drug cravings. Owing to the addictive nature of drugs and/or alcohol and the severe withdrawal symptoms that accompany them, treatment for drug addiction needs to be sought at certified treatment centers for addiction under professional care. A comprehensive addiction treatment program at a certified rehab may involve a holistic combination of detoxification (medical or natural), psychotherapies and experiential or alternative therapies.
Treating addiction-related disorders
In addition to using clinical methods of treating addiction, treatment at addiction treatment centers must also help an individual stop using drugs and/or alcohol and stay drug-free, overcome cravings and be productive in personal and professional life.
A leading addiction treatment provider, Sovereign Health’s addiction rehab centers, California offer residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs that treat addiction and the underlying causes that feed them. At Sovereign Health, we believe that recovery is a life-long process and offers each of our patients customized treatment programs that combine expert medical care, clinical and holistic therapies, nutritional and health services in a secure, sober and welcoming environment.
For more information on our evidence-based addiction treatment programs or to locate the finest treatment centers for addiction in California, call at our live admission specialist at our 24/7 helpline number (855)-683-9756. You can also chat live with our online representatives for any further assistance.