The Truth About Addiction
While it is true that some individuals are able to use recreationally or medicinally and never become addicted, many are not as fortunate. The reasons and risk factors behind addiction are complex and varying, but often abuse is an individual’s way of escaping the emotional, physical, or psychological pain. The ability to avoid problem areas in their lives or troublesome situations that cause stress and prompts occasional use to become regular abuse. Ironically, this avoidance likely exacerbates existing life problems, compounding the individual’s loss of control, and perpetuates use, creating more problems.
Individuals experiment with illicit drug use for many reasons. Most addictive substances provide an escape from reality that is alluring to people looking to have a good time, fit in socially, ease anxiety, or simply escape their problems. This type of drug experimentation is dangerous, as flirting with powerful, addictive substances carries far-reaching risks. Often, individuals find themselves drug seeking after only a few times using, and then after continued use, are addicted. It is important to note that the drug seeking behavior may have more to do with underlying issues than it does with the actual consumption frequency.
Drug and alcohol addiction does not discriminate.
Addictions do not discriminate. Many individuals of all ages, social-economic and education levels, including teenagers as young as 11 to the elderly, can all be at risk of substance abuse. The following list of common signs and symptoms of drug addiction can be a helpful tool for family members concerned about their loved ones. Overuse of any substance should never be ignored as treatment is often the only life-saving intervention available for those under addiction’s powerful hold.
What is Addiction?
Addiction to alcohol or drugs is described as the inability to control consumption, even when detrimental side effects are present. Individuals addicted to substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and barbiturates will exhibit drug seeking behavior as a result of uncontrollable cravings. The person may desire to get clean and stop using, but is often unable to resist the desire to use.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction May Include:
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Withdrawal symptoms may be present. When the substance levels drop and are not replaced, the individual will begin to exhibit various symptoms of withdrawal. These can be emotional such as extreme mood swings, apparent depression, and a short temper. Physical symptoms of drug withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, seizures, diarrhea, temperature fluctuations, bone and joint pain. The most common psychological symptoms are drug cravings and hallucinations.
Changes in social engagement and participation in activities. One of the first signs that an individual may need intervention for addiction may be a sudden loss of interest in activities and relationships previously enjoyed. This should be a red flag for those concerned about their family member. Withdrawing from interests and friendships often means the addict is focusing all their available energy, resources, and time in seeking drugs.
Excessive consumption in social situations. Often this is a symptom that friends notice before family members. Sometimes alcoholics will drink before social engagements and top off once in the presence of others. An individual who regularly arrives inebriated and consumes enough to lose control is probably displaying signs of alcohol addiction.
Unexplained financial difficulties and money seeking behavior. Individuals who are addicted to prescription medications such as OxyContin and Fentanyl are supporting expensive habits. The financial resources required to illegally purchase these prescription pain medications can be excessive. Prescription drug addiction can drain bank accounts and ruin credit. Addicts will often turn to family and friends seeking cash loans under false pretenses to support their habit.
Physical symptoms of addiction can be evident
Sudden changes in self-care and appearance. As an individual’s addiction grows, focus shifts from self-care to drug seeking and using. It may become apparent that personal hygiene has become unimportant, or even non-existent. Sudden changes in a family members appearance should not be ignored, especially if addictions are suspected. Contact Coastline Rehab Centers today to find out how to get appropriate treatment for your loved one in one of our facilities.
Problems with local law enforcement. Once, law-abiding citizens, heroin addiction can spur risky behaviors, leading to arrest or incarceration. Identity theft, writing bad checks, and stealing from family members can all result in altercations with the police. Should you notice unusual behaviors and consequences, seek help immediately. Voluntary admission into drug rehab centers is always less disruptive than court-ordered admissions.
Denial of Substance Addiction When Confronted
Hidden or missing prescription bottles. When suspecting prescription drug addiction, one of the first signs is missing prescriptions. Should family members have Vicodin or Norco tablets in their homes that are not under lock and key, and notice they are no longer full or have been refilled on their behalf, it would be wise to secure all medications immediately. Another sign of addiction could be hidden bottles of pain medications found in unusual places. Being aware of the risks of prescription drug abuse is key to preventing improper, illegal use.
An increase in relationship problems. When a partner’s behavior changes and probative questions are rebuffed or provoke anger, this might be a sign of an underlying abuse issue. At Coastline Rehab Centers, we receive many calls from loved ones suspecting addiction, and often the first tip-off was relational issues.
Denial of addiction when confronted. This often provokes an overly aggressive response as addicts will go to extreme lengths to conceal their use. Drug addicts are proficient liars and are often able to manipulate situations, turning the blame back on the concerned family member or friend. Their refusal to admit they need help, or that there is even a problem, can all inhibit drug and alcohol treatments.
Why do some drug users become full-blown addicts?
This is a complex question. There are many different facets to drug and alcohol addiction. It is important to restate that much like diabetes or cancer, addiction is a disease. While it is true that many diabetics and cancer patients did not cause their disease, there are risk factors for developing all sorts of illnesses. The disease of addiction does have some clearly understood risk factors such as the following:
- A history of addiction within the family
- Exposure to traumatic experiences
- Abuse and neglect at any point in a person’s life
- Physical injury’s that require long-term care
- Mental disorders
- Age of first exposure
Contact Coastline Rehab Centers and speak to one of our intake counselors about signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction. We are here to help individuals and their family members the help needed to regain sobriety.