What defines drug addiction? Addiction is defined by professionals as a psychological or physiological dependence on a mind altering substance. Two characteristics of addiction as defined by the American Psychological Association are an increased tolerance to a substance and physical and mental withdrawal symptoms when the body suddenly stops receiving the substance. Addiction is considered to be a progressive disease that only gets worse with time. While addiction can be either genetically or environmentally influenced, or both, only the addict can label him- or her-self as such, once they have conceded this truth.
Common drug addictions include prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and alcohol. In addition, newer drugs on the market many young adults are experimenting with include ecstacy, bath salts, MDMA and cough syrup. Regardless of the particular drug, the signs and symptoms of addiction remain the same. While some drugs have more of a chance of overdose and death, all are dangerous in some form or another, and usually addiction begins with recreational use.
If you are trying to determine whether you or someone you love has a problem with drugs, there are signs and symptoms that can help you. These may be indicators of drug abuse or addiction:
- You may feel that you have to use the drug regularly, which can be every day or several times a day.
- You or someone you care about might be unsuccessful in attempts to quit or control using.
- It becomes important to you to always have a supply of your drug of choice.
- You or your loved one will spend money on the drug despite not having the money readily accessible or put aside.
- You may find yourself, or see your friend, doing things for drugs that you would never have thought possible – such as engaging in sexual acts for money or drugs, stealing, or faking relationships and friendships with drug dealers.
- Feeling that you need to the drug to deal with problems, and even every day life.
- Driving, taking care of children or working while under the influence of drugs.
- More and more time and energy will be spent getting and using the drug, chasing the high or trying to prevent withdrawal, no matter what the negative consequences.
These are red flags when looking at your behavior for signs or drug addiction. It may be more difficult to see these in other people, especially young adults who don’t stand to lose jobs or families. Possible indications that your child or teenager is using drugs include problems at school such as frequent absences and sudden disinterest in school activities, health issues like lack of energy, a neglected appearance, changes in behavior such as mood swings or drastic change in familiar relationships and spending money more than usual or before.
If you or someone you love is showing signs of drug addiction, call Lifetime Recovery Centers of America today, and let us help you. You do not have to do this alone – our caring and dedicated staff will point you in the right direction towards a better life.