There are many reasons people take drugs. Some do so for recreational purposes while others do so in a bid to block out painful memories. No one ever takes drugs with the intention of becoming addicted to them, despite many people believing that drug addiction is a lifestyle choice. But while some individuals can take drugs without it becoming a problem, others will go on to develop a crippling addiction that threatens to destroy everything they hold dear. If you are interested in learning more about what drug addiction could mean for you and your family, please read on.
How Drug Addiction Begins
You may have heard horror stories about how dabbling in drugs will leave you destitute and how if you try them once, you will be hooked instantly. It is true that some people do get hooked almost immediately, but for most it is a gradual thing.
They begin taking drugs for their own reason; maybe its curiosity or perhaps it’s to change the way that they feel. Some even begin by taking prescription medication for a medical condition. In the beginning, all might be good. The drugs will make them feel different and some will like the feelings they get. Depending on the drug taken, they may feel alert and confident, or they could feel warm and sleepy.
The main thing is that if they like the drugs, they will more than likely take them again. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you will more than likely be familiar with how, after a while, you struggle to achieve the same feelings that you got when you first began taking drugs. This is because the body quickly adapts to the chemicals in drugs.
In the beginning, your brain will have released dopamine, or ‘feel-good’ chemicals, in response to the drug you took. It is this release of dopamine that makes you experience pleasure. After a while though, the brain releases fewer of these chemicals when you take drugs. This is because you have built up a tolerance to them.
You now need to take more drugs to achieve the feelings you desire. This cycle continues to the point where you are physically addicted to drugs and your body is craving them whenever the effects wear off. What drug addiction can do to your life at this point is immense.
The Negative Consequences of Drug Addiction
Many individuals wonder what drug addiction is like before ever taking drugs. It is hard for those who have no experience of this illness to understand the devastation it can cause. And it is even harder for them to comprehend why people continue to take drugs even when knowing it will cause harm.
With no understanding or experience of drug addiction, it is difficult to see it as anything more than a lifestyle choice. Nevertheless, you know better. You know that drug addiction holds you in its grip and will not let you go. You know that you have absolutely no control over your need to take drugs and that even when you desperately want to quit, you have no power to resist the urge to use. This is what drug addiction is like.
It is an illness that destroys lives. It can affect mental and physical health, relationships with loved ones, and leave you in financial ruin. But still you continue taking drugs because you have no choice.
How People See Drug Addicts
Drug addicts are often discriminated against because many people associate them with criminals. They believe that all addicts are ‘bad’ or ‘weak’ and that they should be shunned. They often use the term ‘junkie’ to describe them and fail to see that they are ill and need help.
Stereotyping of drug addicts happens every day and this often has a lot to do with how addicts have been portrayed in the media for decades. It is not uncommon for many to see drug addicts as:
- people with a criminal history who regularly have issues with the police
- people who do not have a job
- people who steal money and possessions from their loved ones
- people who spend most of their days injecting drugs down dark alleyways
- people who sit in the street begging for money to buy drugs
- people who do not wash or look after their personal grooming
- people who have left school early with no qualifications
- people who live in squats with other drug users.
The truth is that while there may be some folks who fit the profile of the stereotypical addict, most do not. Drug addiction comes in many forms, and most addicts are just like everyone else in that they have nice homes, loving families, and a job. From the outside looking in, all looks normal. Except they are struggling to cope with an addiction to drugs.
It may be that they are taking prescription medication to help them get through the day, or that they spend their weekends taking cocaine as they party the night away. What most people do not realise is that having an addiction is not the same for everyone. You do not have to take drugs all day every day to be an addict. It is not about the type of substance you take or how often you take it; it is about the amount of control you have over it when you do take it. If you cannot stop once you start, or if you cannot resist the urge to use drugs even when you do not want to, you need help.
What Drug Addiction Treatment is Like – And Do You Need it?
It is hard to accept that use of drugs is out of control. In fact, many individuals will continue to pretend that nothing is amiss, even when everyone else seems to think they have a problem. It is usually easier for those around a drug addict to tell that something is not right. The person with the addiction often finds it harder to see what everyone else can see quite clearly.
If your loved ones believe you have a problem, you should listen to them. It is unlikely that they would have broached the topic without thinking long and hard about doing so. The stigma that is attached to addiction means that it is often considered a taboo subject. Most people will ignore it for as long as they can, hoping that others are wrong or that the issue will somehow resolve itself on its own. This never happens.
So if your loved ones have suggested you need help, it is likely that you do. If you are struggling to control your drug use and find it hard to resist the pull, you need to speak to someone about treatment. But what is drug addiction treatment like? Knowing what to expect might make it easier for you to reach out.
Detoxing from Drugs
A drug detox is typically the first step on the road to full recovery. It is necessary for anyone with a physical addiction to drugs. If you experience physical symptoms when in need of drugs, it is likely that you are physically dependent on them. You may feel nauseous or have headaches when the effects of your drugs wear off. This is your body reacting to the lack of chemicals.
During a detox, your body will attempt to get rid of any remaining chemicals that have built up over time. This process will usually result in a range of withdrawal symptoms that could be mild, moderate, or severe in nature. The type of symptoms you experience, and their severity will depend on the substance you were using, how frequently you used it, and how long you have been using it for.
Other factors such as your age and whether you have any underlying medical issues can also impact how your detox progresses. Nevertheless, you will be safe and comfortable in a dedicated medical facility that specialises in detox programmes. In such facilities, staff will provide medication to ease your symptoms if appropriate. They may even be able to provide a replacement drug in tapering doses during the first few days of your detox to help manage the withdrawal symptoms and make them less severe.
A drug detox lasts for between one to two weeks usually, after which time you will be ready to begin a programme of rehabilitation.
What to Expect from Drug Rehab
Drug rehabilitation should always follow a drug detox. You may be tempted to quit treatment after your detox, under the false belief that you are better. You should remember that a detox will only address the physical element of your addiction and that the reasons you became addicted in the first place will still be lurking under the surface until you address them in a rehab programme.
Rehab aims to tackle the cause of your illness. Through a series of counselling and therapy approaches, your rehab provider will help you to identify the negative thoughts and beliefs that have led you to this point in your life. You will work together to challenge these thoughts and develop new positive behaviours.
Drug rehab is not a quick fix; it will take patience and effort on your part, as well as a commitment to do all you can to achieve your goal of permanent recovery. In a rehab clinic, staff will work hard to help you overcome your addiction, but they cannot do it for you. If you want to change and are willing to work with the counsellors and therapists, you can get sober and stay that way.
If you would like more information on what drug addiction treatment is like, or if you are ready to get started on a programme of recovery, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Liberty House Clinic. We can provide you with information and advice about our excellent programmes of detox and rehabilitation.
Our advisors will take your call and listen to what you have to say. We can give you more information about the treatment process and how to get started. Please call today to find out more about how we can help you get better.