Drug Addiction: The Nature of the Beast
The precise nature and cause of addiction has perplexed physicians for decades. There seemed to be no explanation for why adjusted, healthy adults and children turned to substance abuse. Early on, it was believed that the drugs themselves must be intrinsically addicting—psychology never entered the picture. It is true that some substances such as nicotine and cocaine are habit-forming; however, behavioral, emotional, and situational variables also play into addiction, as does the mental state of the individual in question. Scientific experiments and psychiatric research have revealed that a person’s psychological well-being—the stress in their lives, the presence or absence of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression, their social life, their self-esteem, and other intangibles—are a deciding factor.
Addiction is now understood to be a powerful psychological disorder, which manifests itself as a strong desire to use a substance or engage in a certain behavior. The pursuit of this activity results in a flood of pleasure chemicals in the user’s central nervous system. Using a substance such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or alcohol repeatedly can create both a mental addiction (a psychological urge to use the drug in question) and a physical dependency (a need to use the drug to stave off withdrawal symptoms and bodily discomfort). Even drugs which are believed to be “safe,” such as marijuana, can still create mental addictions if not physical dependencies. No matter what type of substance you or your loved one may be addicted to, Drug Treatment Denver CO can help.
Drug Rehab Step-by-Step
Signs and Symptoms of Dependency
Recognizing the tell-tale indicators of addiction in yourself or others is an essential first step in getting treatment. Each substance is different, and has differing symptoms, but there is still a standardized set of addiction symptoms and signs to watch out for, especially ones affecting the person’s demeanor and appearance. These include:
- Unkempt clothing and poor hygiene
- Swift and unexplained changes in mood or behavior
- Neglect of old hobbies
- Trouble sleeping
- Incoherent speech and/or absent demeanor
- Strange disappearances or inexplicable absences
- Change in friends or current hang-outs
- Secretive behavior and coyness
- Miscellaneous water pipes, tinfoil, spoons, shoelaces, and other drug paraphernalia
The need for urgent medical attention is very real if you observe these signs in a family member or yourself. Don’t consider quitting “cold turkey” (withdrawing from drugs or alcohol by immediately and permanently abstaining from their use). If your addiction was protracted or intense, the withdrawal symptoms could be excruciatingly painful, even deadly. Also, addiction isn’t merely physical—it’s a recurrent psychological disorder that needs therapy to be treated effectively. Therapy and counseling are essential if an afflicted individual is to dodge relapse, heal their mental strife, and re-learn the skills they need to stay sober and rejoin society.