Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterised by drug seeking and a compulsive urge to use. It is impossible to control drug addiction because the urge to use is ingrained into the physical and psychological fabric of the person.
Addiction to drugs is not a modern problem. People have been getting addicted to opium for thousands of years. However, access to drugs is easier than ever, and the drugs that are available now are more addictive than ever as well.
What we have is a society that makes access to drugs easy, and drugs that are designed to get people hooked quickly. It makes no wonder addiction rates are so high when it’s easy to buy drugs and easier still to get addicted to them.
The Neurochemistry of Drug Addiction
When a person uses drugs, a chemical change occurs in the brain.
Sometimes, this can be helpful, like the way paracetamol dulls a headache, or the way Xanax can ease anxiety.
However, overexposure to some drugs, like opiates or Xanax, is dangerous because the chemical makeup of your brain can be irreparably changed. This leads to a dependence on the drug and an intense urge to use it.
Your brain is responsible for coordinating your body’s functions. It does this with neurotransmitters. Drugs interfere with these neurotransmitters and they can also replace normal neurotransmitters with addictive neurotransmitters.
Basically, overexposure to a psychoactive drug interferes with the normal neurotransmitter state of your brain. This change causes dependence on a drug.
Drug Use, Drug Abuse & Drug Addiction. What’s the Difference?
Most of us will use paracetamol, ibuprofen or antihistamines now and again. This is normal drug use – using a drug because you have a medical need for it.
Drug abuse is different – drug abuse is when you habitually take drugs for recreational reasons, or overuse drugs because you have become dependent on them to feel normal.
Drug abuse often leads to addiction. Addiction is when you can’t stop taking a drug because you have a physical and psychological need for it.
The Warning Signs of Drug Addiction
Here are some of the common warning signs of drug addiction:
- You can’t stop taking drugs
- You are taking more drugs than you should
- You are doubling up your dosage
- You are mixing drugs with alcohol, to enhance the effects
- You reach for illegal drugs whenever you feel anxious or stressed
- You reach for illegal drugs to ease depression
- You don’t feel normal without taking drugs
- Drugs have started to interfere with your social life
- Drugs have started to interfere with your professional life
- Drugs have started to cause problems with family and friends
If you can identify with any of these symptoms, we would say you are probably in the earliest stages of addiction. It is crucial that you seek help as soon as possible, so you can resolve your problem before it develops.
The Stages of Drug Addiction
Addictions always start with experimentation, where you try drugs and use them infrequently, perhaps with friends or on your own.
A habit is when you start using drugs in certain situations. For example, whenever you meet with friends or before stressful situations like a job interview.
Dependence is when you need to use drugs because you crave them. You look forward to their effects and you need them to feel normal.
The scariest part about all this is how quickly addiction can form. Some drugs, like opioids and synthetic stimulants like mephedrone, can create a dependence within days of use. This is the danger of drug abuse – becoming addicted before you know it.
The Different Types of Drugs
The most commonly abused illegal drugs include:
- Crack cocaine
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
- Synthetic cannabinoids
- Synthetic stimulants
- Hallucinogens (such as LSD or magic mushrooms)
There are also a wide variety of abused prescription drugs, including:
The Different Types of Drug Addiction Treatment
There are several ways you can beat your addiction to drugs:
A detox is a supervised recovery programme that will resolve the physical aspect of your addiction, to get you clean and break your habit.
With a detox, you can stay in clinic accommodation or at home. You will be prescribed a drug substitute medication (if suitable) and medication to manage your withdrawal symptoms, so your detox is as comfortable as possible.
We specialise in medicated detoxes for drug addiction and can help you beat your addiction in a safe, manageable way.
Rehab is when you enter into a comprehensive recovery programme. It will include a detox and a therapy programme, to resolve the physical and psychological sides of your addiction to help you achieve long-term abstinence.
With rehab, you can be an inpatient or an outpatient. The main difference is that as an inpatient, you will stay in residential accommodation and enjoy a break away from home. This is also the safest environment to detox in.
Our rehab clinics specialise in treating chronic drug addiction, including double diagnosis, and people with complex mental health problems. We can help you overcome your addiction, no matter your needs or personal circumstances.
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or is showing signs of a problem, please
Request a callback
Speak to us today and get confidential advice from our medical experts. We’re here to help
Alcohol Addiction FAQ's
Where can I find my nearest rehab centre?
We offer locations for alcohol rehab centres nationwide, call our team on 0333 444 0434. They will be able to advise you on treatment options available in your area.
How soon will you be able to get me into rehab?
This all depends on your personal circumstances. We ask that you contact our team on 0333 444 0434 so that we can fully understand your situation and needs.
We’ll talk you through a short telephone questionnaire designed to help us provide you with the best possible care.
We then set a date and time for your admission and you can look forward to a new start in life.
Could my mental Health be linked to my addiction?
Absolutely yes, so many people are not even aware they have a mental health problem and many people don’t make the connection in children and mental health. The alcohol can become a ‘solution’ for a persons mental health. At the start it will seem as if the alcohol is quieting the mind, but in time as the addiction progresses it will only add to any mental health problems the person has. It is also difficult to diagnose a person with mental health while under the influence of alcohol.
Is it true that alcohol affects sexual performance and harm an unborn babies?
As well as being directly related to many serious diseases, drinking large amounts of alcohol can also lead to poor sexual performance, and it can harm an unborn baby. If you have an alcohol related problem, there are many ways in which you can get help to reduce your drinking, and there are also many services that you can use that will help you stop altogether. Definition The problems associated with alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, are wide ranging, and can be physical, psychological, and social.
Is rehab a cure for addiction?
There is no definitive cure for addiction. However, rehab can provide patients with the skills needed to successfully manage their addiction and remain sober. Recovery from addiction is never over and patients will need to work on their ability to avoid relapse for the rest of their lives. A high quality addiction rehab programme sets patients up for this process.
Am I an alcoholic? What is the difference between casual drinking and alcohol addiction?
Most people can enjoy a casual night out with friends, have one or two drinks and then stop, and they might not drink again for several days. They enjoy a drink, but they don’t NEED it.
If you feel that you would like to talk to one of our experts and see how we can help you, call us on 0333 444 0434.