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Drug addiction is more than a desire or craving for a substance, yet the addiction may start out as such. A drug addiction is when the user has no control over the decision to consume the drug or substance. No matter how much an addict will try, he or she will be unable to beat the addiction alone. Drug addiction is a complex disease which effects the brain and causes harm to the body as well.

The battle against drug addiction is a mental and physical struggle which can consume an addict who does not seek treatment. People may continue consumption in social settings or alone, seldom monitoring the amount of consumption. Over time, the person will continue to abuse the drug until functioning without it is impossible.

Causes and facts of addiction

The Behavioral Health Barometer of Colorado found that from 2009 to 2013, around 117,000 Colorado residents 12 years of age and older per year, depended on or abused illicit drugs. Drug addiction is a complex disease. The user will continue to consume the harmful and brain-altering drugs despite knowledge of its damaging effects. Contrary to popular belief that drugs burn, fry and destroy the brain, consumption of drugs and illicit substances actually re-wires the brain.

The brain is re-built to continue consuming the drug from the euphoric feeling or reward the brain feels with each use. The addict will begin to build a tolerance to the effects of the drug and require more to feel anything. Due to this, the addict will continue using the substance even when it causes pain and harms the body.

The causes for drug addiction vary per person as each drug and substance has different effects on the body. Along with environmental factors, a person may have a genetic history of addiction which can affect younger generations. In some cases, an addict may be going through a transitional and emotional phase of life pushing the users to abuse drugs. Prescription medication can also be a drug of addiction as some begin to abuse the medicine by consistently consuming more than the required dose. Other drugs and substances of addiction include:

  • Inhalants
  • Solvents
  • Nicotine and tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Steroids
  • Synthetic drugs

These are only a few of the possible drugs which can cause addiction. Users of these drugs may start out with the common or recreational use, unaware of how quickly they begin to crave the substance more and more.

Symptoms of drug addiction

Through drug addiction, the user not only loses control of decisions and harms their body through continued use, but the user will become unable to perform the simplest of tasks without the drug. This is the point of addiction in which a person cannot fathom being in a social environment or completing any task unless the drug is present. At this point, like a bit to a horse, the drug now supercedes and governs the inner compass of the individual.

Symptoms indicating drug use can vary according to which drug or drugs are being abuse. Some signs and symptoms of drug addiction can include:

  • Being unable to function without said drug
  • Spending as much money as possible on the drug
  • Constantly craving the drug and making sure it is always available
  • Change of behavior and interest in activities
  • Willing to steal money from friends or family for more of the drug

Treatment for addiction is effective with or without the consent of the addict. Since the addict is no longer in control of his or her thoughts, they may be unwilling to seek treatment. However, if the addict is understanding and willing to seek treatment, the positive attitude will help.

Normally starting after a safe detox, the treatment process can be at an inpatient treatment facility or through outpatient treatment. Hospitalization may be required if the addict is a harm to him or herself. Different treatment programs may use medication, therapy or a combination of both based on the needs of the client. Even after going through a good treatment program though, most individuals should seek out continued support to ensure they stay clean and reduce their risk of relapse.

If you or your loved one is struggling with drug addiction, help is available. To seek drug addiction treatment or for more information, please feel free to call the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline. We can connect you to the right treatment program for you and get you started on the path to recovery. Do not hesitate to seek help and call.

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