Drug Addiction

It is estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States suffer from drug addiction. Of these, millions will seek help only to relapse many times before they finally either recover or succumb to a life of addiction that will plague them forever. Still thousands more will die as a result of their addiction and complications of using drugs such as overdose, disease or heart attack. The National Survey on Drug Use & Health estimates that only about a quarter those who are addicted to drugs will ever receive treatment for their addiction.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is defined as the physical dependence or psychological dependence that develops from drug use and leads to adverse consequences. Despite the consequences that come from drug abuse, an addict will continue to use the drugs in an effort to get high. Many will develop a tolerance to the drugs which causes them to use more and more of the substance in an effort to produce the same or a similar effect. Regardless, people use drugs for a variety of different reasons such as:

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction occurs when a user becomes physically or psychologically dependent on a substance.

  • Seeking Pleasure – many think that drugs make them feel good, have a pleasurable experience or otherwise are “good” Some drugs actually will cause the addict to feel a pleasurable state, but only for a short period of time and this state is followed by rash consequences such as withdrawal symptoms and long term physical and psychological health problems.
  • Increased Energy or Performance – many think that the drugs they use will help them to perform better at work, home or school. Some drugs do increase energy but this increase is often followed by a drastic drop in energy that leads to fatigue that is difficult to overcome.
  • Medical Purposes – many are prescribed medications for a real medical purpose and wind up addicted while others take drugs in an effort to self-medicate against a problem such as anxiety or depression.
  • Socializing – many use drugs socially at first and then find that their social or recreational use of the drugs leads to sustained use of the drugs and ultimate addiction. Teens especially are likely to fall victim to drug addiction as a result of initial social use through peer pressure.

Types of Drug Addiction

There are many different substances that an individual could potentially become addicted to. The most common types of drug addiction include:

  • heroin addiction
  • cocaine addiction
  • methamphetamine addiction
  • prescription drug addiction
  • crack addiction
  • marijuana addiction

Prescription drug addiction is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits in the United States and results in thousands of deaths each year. Many people who become addicted to prescription drugs suffer from this addiction as a result of their doctor actually prescribing them a drug for a medical purpose such as pain, injury or mental illness. Unfortunately, even prescription medications are highly addictive and they can lead to adverse consequences, even if they are taken as prescribed by a doctor.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

People who are addicted to drugs can seek treatment for their addiction through a number of different options. Community programs exist to provide support and care while residential programs can be found in many hospital and inpatient treatment facilities. Depending on the severity of the addiction and various other factors, drug addiction treatment could take a few weeks, a few months or a lifetime. Lifelong addicts remain in recovery and will continue to need psychological support and care for many years following their last use of drugs.