What are the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction?
If you’re a loved one or a parent, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. Some people are able to use recreational or medication without experiencing adverse effects or addiction. For countless others, however, drug use is an attempt to escape problems in their lives and have more serious consequences. The abuse of drugs to cope with life’s problems only develop the existing problems and new problems worse probable cause, creating a sense of isolation, helplessness, or shame.
If you’re bothered about your own drug use or a friend or family member, it is necessary to know that help is accessible. Learn about the nature of drug abuse and addiction-why and how it grows, how it looks, and why it can have such a powerful hold- you get a better understanding of the problem and how to give them the best deal.
Understanding Drug Use, Drug Abuse, and Addiction
People experiment with drugs for several purposes. Many first try drugs out of curiosity, to have a great time, because friends are doing it, in an attempt to advance athletic
performance or alleviate another problem, such as stress, anxiety or depression. Using it doesn’t automatically drive to abuse, and there is no specific point where drug abuse moves from casual to problematic. Drug Abuse and Addiction is less concerned about a number of drugs consumed or frequency, and also about the reasons people turn to drugs in the first place as well as the consequences of their drug use. If your drug use is generating problems in your life at work, at school, at home or in your relationships, you probably have a drug abuse or addiction problem.
Why do some drug users become addicted, while others don’t?
As with many other disorders and diseases, susceptibility to addiction differs from person to person. Your genes, mental health, family and social environment all play a role in addiction. Risk factors that increase your vulnerability are:
- Family history of addiction
- Abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences
- Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Early use of drugs
- The method of administration-smoking or injecting a drug may increase its addictive potential.
Drug addiction and the brain
Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. While each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances have one thing in common: the repeated use can adjust the way the brain functions.
- Taking a recreational drug causes a rush of the hormone dopamine in the brains that triggers feelings of pleasure. Your brains retain these feelings and want them repeated.
- If you become addicted, the substance takes on the same meaning as other survival behavior such as eating and drinking.
- Changes in your brain meddle with your capacity to think clearly, to exercise good judgment, guide your action and feel normal without drugs.
- No matter which drug you are addicted to, the obstinate urge to use is growing more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, even your own well-being and happiness.
- The push to use is so strong that your mind will find several ways to deny or rationalize the addiction. You can drastically underestimate a number of drugs you take, how much it affects your life and the level of control you have over your drug use.
How drug abuse and addiction can develop
There is a fine line between general use and drug abuse and addiction. Very few addicts are able to acknowledge when they have crossed that line. Although the frequency or amount of drugs consumed does not necessarily establish drug abuse or addiction forms, they can often be indicators of drug-related predicaments.
Drug Abuse may begin as a way to connect socially.
- Usually, people try drugs for the first time in social situations with friends and acquaintances. A strong urge to adapt the group can make you feel like taking the drugs with them is the only option.
- Problems can sometimes sneak up on you, whenever your drug use develops gradually over time. Smoking a joint with buddies on weekends, or taking ecstasy at a rave, or cocaine on an occasional party, for example, can increase from using drugs few days a week to use them daily. Gradually, getting and applying the drug becomes more and more important to you.
- If the drug fulfills a valuable need, you can always trust yourself on it. You can take drugs to calm or energize, or make you more confident. You can start using drugs to deal with panic attacks or relieve chronic pain. Until you discover an alternative, healthier ways to overcome these problems, drug use is likely to remain. If you use drugs to fill a void in your life, you are more at risk of crossing the line from casual use to drug abuse and addiction. To keep a healthy balance in your life, you need to have positive experiences and think good about your life without any drug use.
- If drug abuse grabs, you may be missing or often late for work or school, your job performance may gradually worsen, and you may begin to neglect social or family responsibilities. Your ability to stop using it is eventually compromised. What started as a voluntary choice has gravitated into a physical and psychological need.
- Ultimately, drug abuse can ravage your life, stopping the social and intellectual development. This only enhances the feelings of isolation which led to drug use in the first place.
The good news is that with proper treatment and support, you can counteract the distorting signs and symptoms of substance abuse and retrieve control over your life. The first obstacle is to understand and admit you have a problem or listen to loved ones who are often extremely able to see the negative consequences of drug use is having in your life.