Drug addiction affects the lives of as many as 22.1 million people in the United States alone and these numbers are ever growing. Unfortunately, the majority of people who suffer from drug addiction never do get the qualified help that they need to get well and this leads to a lifetime of consequences for the addict, for society as a whole and for those who care about the individual. Drug addiction is marked by a desire or need to use drugs as a result of developing a physical tolerance that grows with each subsequent use of the drug.
There are many different types and levels of drug addiction. For instance, an individual may only be mildly addicted to drugs or he or she may suffer from a catastrophic addiction that requires immediate professional help. Some of the most common types of drug addiction include heroin addiction, prescription addiction, methamphetamine addiction, cocaine addiction and marijuana addiction but of course any drug that is abused heavily has a significant risk of causing addiction that is physical, psychological or both.
How Drug Addiction Develops
The manner in which drug addiction develops often depends on the user. Some will begin to use drugs as a means of escaping stress or reality while others may use the drugs to cope with pain. Many people who are addicted to prescription medications started off using the medications as prescribed by a doctor and as time progressed because physically addicted.
Addiction develops when a drug is used for a prolonged period of time and the individual develops a tolerance. Tolerance is the effect of the user having to take more and more of a drug in order to produce the same high as when the drug was first used. As tolerance builds, physical dependence is likely to set in which can lead to withdrawals if the user stops taking the drugs.
Signs & Symptoms of Drug Addiction
There are many different signs and symptoms of drug addiction and they can differ from one individual to the next as well as with one drug addiction versus another. Some drugs will cause the user to act restless while others cause the user to act sleepy. Some drugs will cause the user to lose weight while others can result in significant weight gain. The only true way to recognize symptoms of drug addiction is to know what drug or at least what type of drug is potentially being abused.
Below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of drug addiction:
- Behavioral change
- Lack of appearance
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Marks on the skin
- Changes in friends
- Avoiding family or friends
- Losing a job or lack of productivity
- Failing grades at school or poor performance
- Desire to use more drugs despite known problems
- Lying to friends or family about drug use
When to Seek Help for Drug Addiction
If you or someone you know is abusing drugs, knowing when it’s time to seek help can make all the difference in whether or not you suffer life-long consequences as a result of this terrible disease. As soon as physical tolerance has developed and there is any sign of withdrawal when a drug is not used it’s time to seek help. Drug addiction can cause many problems in life. Job loss, financial ruin, loss of personal possessions or relationship problems also signify the need for immediate help.