Drug addiction is defined as a chronic, life-threatening disease that is characterized by uncontrollable, compulsive drug-seeking and drug use regardless of the undesirable and often deadly consequences that result. Drug addiction is classified as a mental disorder due to the fact that drug use causes changes in the way the circuits of the brain respond to stimuli. These changes can last indefinitely, even after the addict has stopped using drugs.
Addiction is chronic and progressive. Those who suffer from drug addiction have become convinced that they cannot function from day to day as a normal person without drugs. The problems become exponentially worse when the addict doesn’t have one specific drug of choice, but rather uses more than one substance. This increases the risk of serious, long-term health issues and even death. The most common drug of choice today is heroin. Combining heroin addiction with another drug addiction creates one of the most dangerous situations possible. Fortunately, there is help available for those who are struggling with multiple addictions.
Why Do People Use Dangerous Drugs?
People can start down the road to drug addiction innocently, with no intentions whatsoever of becoming dependent. Many people don’t realize that drug abuse can begin with legitimate prescription medications. This can happen before the person realizes that it is becoming a problem. For example, when pain medication is taken following surgery, after an injury, or because of a chronic condition, the person can easily become dependent on the medication. After a time, the medication no longer works. The user has developed a tolerance to it, meaning that they have become physiologically immune to the medication’s painkilling effects. This is when the problems begin.
When prescription medications no longer work, two things usually happen. The user begins taking more of the medication than directed, or if this still doesn’t work, they will turn to illicit street drugs to bring them relief. Neither of these options is safe and using illegal drugs like heroin is a fast track to serious trouble.
Turning To Drugs To Feel Good
Sometimes people decide to use drugs even when they don’t need medicine for a legitimate health reason. They will use drugs recreationally for fun or to “fit in” with their peers. Using drugs just for fun can lead to addiction just as easily as using prescription medications incorrectly. In fact, it is this type of drug use that easily leads to dependence on more than one substance.
Some of the most commonly abused recreational drugs include:
- Cocaine/crack cocaine
Commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- Painkillers (opioids)
- Mood stabilizers
It must also be noted that alcohol is also classified as a dug, and it is by far the most commonly abused drug.
Signs Of Drug Addiction
There are a number of warning signs that will indicate to you (and your loved ones) that you are in the grip of addiction. When the addiction involves heroin and another drug, the signs are even more obvious and dangerous. Some of the main signs of drug addiction include:
- Changes in personal hygiene and physical appearance due to neglect
- Chages in attendance or performance at school or work
- Deterioration of personal relationships. This is particularly true if family and friends are trying to get you to admit that you have a problem and seek help
- Making bad choices repeatedly despite constant negative consequences
- Discontinuing activities that you once enjoyed or considered important due to the effects of drugs
- Going to extreme lengths to try to hide your drug use from everyone, even though those closest to you can plainly see what is going on
- Withdrawal symptoms when you cannot get the drugs you have become addicted to. These withdrawals can include shaking, sweating, trembling, fatigue, and nausea, among others
In addition to uncomfortable – and dangerous – withdrawals, drug addiction causes a number of serious health problems, including:
- Kidney/liver damage
- Heart attack/cardiovascular disease
There Is Help Available
Regardless of the number of addictions you are dealing with, the good news is that there is professional help available to overcome these addictions. Taking the first step is easy when you have understanding, friendly people waiting to guide you through treatment for your addictions. Don’t be afraid any longer. Don’t delay your recovery one more day.
We are waiting to help you anytime, day or night. Reach out to us at 866-300-6707. Someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get the help you need and take back control of your life NOW!
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.