What is drug addiction?


When a person abuses drugs on a regular basis, there are changes that take place in their brain and nervous system. This leads to a person being dependent on the drug to feel normal, and having an addiction. In turn, a person will continue taking the drug, most often with increased dosages just to get through a regular day. There are acute drug dependency symptoms, such as cravings or painful withdrawals.

However, it is the chronic symptoms that have the most serious effects, such as depression and liver damage. It is therefore not surprising that a person with drug addiction will feel completely out of control. Drugs have completely taken over their life.

Stigmas of addiction

A drug rehabilitation programme can offer those with addiction the necessary tools in order to claim back control over their life. Using class A drugs, such as heroin and cocaine have had huge stigmas attached to them in the past. These stigmas are as bad as the stigmas associated with a disability or a mental health problem.

‘You are not alone’

However, there has been an increase in understanding of drug addiction. It has been show that 19% of people have had a direct or close experience of a drug problem. That’s 1 in 5 people who have some understanding of what you are going through. The same opinion poll found a massive 88% of people support the state providing drug treatment for people who want to address their problems. This does not mean that everybody will be understanding or helpful with your situation. It also doesn’t mean the recovery process you will undertake will feel free from judgement. But, it does mean the understanding of drug addiction is improving. It is important to know that you are not alone in your journey.

There are a multitude of support groups out there that can help, such as Narcotics Anonymous. Recovery from dependence is possible and people have been through similar experiences to you. It is far more widely recognised amongst the population that people with drug dependency have a medical problem and are in need of treatment. Therefore, like any other medical condition treatment is incredibly important.

Short and long term goals

In the short term, stabilising your symptoms should be the first priority. Reducing the harm you do to yourself and others, minimising withdrawal and reducing cravings is involved. In the long term, getting away from a lifestyle that is centred around your opioid dependence and tackling some of the reasons why you used drugs  will help you move towards recovery.

Getting help for addiction

A long-term rehabilitation programme has been proved to be the most successful means of recovering with minimal relapses from serious drug addiction. If you have tried, unsuccessfully, to stop using drugs in the past, you are not alone. The majority of people try and fail at least once. If you have already tried a treatment process and it has not been successful, it was not the right time for you to recover and you must try again. There are many choices which are available to you. If you are worried about a friend or family member who might have a problem, you must take action in helping them find treatment as soon as you can. You could save their life.

The Haynes Clinic is a drug addiction treatment centre. for free and confidential advice please call 01462 851 414.

What is drug addiction?