For anyone that has never suffered from addiction, it can be difficult to understand how it feels, and what an addict actually goes through.
In order to gain a better understanding of this topic, it is important to learn more about what addiction actually means and some of the most common drug addictions out there. In addition, it is important to learn more about the different symptoms that a drug addict may experience and what to look out for to spot drug addiction.
Learning about some of the most commonly abused drugs and why they can be more addictive than others can help when it comes to understanding more about addiction.
What is addiction?
Addiction can be defined as a mental condition where an individual compulsively uses drugs even if they are aware of the harm they may cause. Those who suffer from more severe addictions may become almost obsessed with using a specific drug to the point that it affects the rest of their life. Even though they may be aware of the harmful consequences, addicts continue with their compulsive substance abuse.
Those who suffer from addiction may display signs such as irrational thoughts and behavior. Addicts have deep and uncontrollable cravings for the drug that are extremely difficult to resist. As the drug use continues, their brain is rewired making it harder and harder for them to stop using the drug.
Though people with addictions may themselves be aware of their disorder, they still find themselves unable to overcome it. Drug addiction not only leads to potentially serious health problems but can also have a huge negative impact on other areas of the addict’s life. This includes their career, education, and even relationships.
What are some of the most common drug addictions out there?
There are various drugs that people tend to get addicted to. It is most common for people to develop addictions to:
- Other drugs such as methamphetamine, painkillers, PCP, and LSD
What are some of the symptoms of drug addiction?
There are four different categories of the symptoms of drug addiction:
- Inability to keep up with work or social life
- Continued use of a drug despite known risks
- Constant cravings for the drug that can’t be controlled or resisted
- A growing tolerance to the drug as well and an increasing display of withdrawal symptoms
Though addiction can have negative consequences, the good news is that there are many treatments available to help addicts take a step towards sober living. Many people have managed to recover from addictions and effectively returned to their regular life style. For those suffering from more severe addictions, this is usually after taking an action such as checking in to a sober recovery house.
Specific Drug Addictions
Below is an overview of some of the most common drugs that people become addicted to and what makes these specific drugs so addictive.
An extremely addictive drug, heroin is illegal in almost every single country around the world. Heroin is a chemically modified drug derived from the opium in poppy plants. It can be consumed in multiple different forms, such as powder, tar, or solid chunks. It can also be consumed in different ways, such as being snorted, smoked or injected into the body.
No matter how it is taken in, heroin is a strong drug that delivers its effects quickly. It can also be a very easy drug to overdose on. It has both short and long-term effects and can impact on both the physical and mental health of the user. Short term effects of the drug include a feeling of euphoria, enhanced sensation, drowsiness, and lethargy. Long-term effects may include skin damage from scratching, lack of appetite and weight loss, problems sleeping, damage to dental health, and continued weakness. It is also important to remember that the number of fatalities arising from heroin overdose have risen sharply over recent years.
Many of those that become addicted to heroin do so because of the euphoric feeling that is provides when it is taken. It also reduces pain and gives users a warm feeling.
Getting over heroin addiction can be very hard for those that have been using for a while. In fact, withdrawal symptoms can start to kick in just hours after the drug is last used. Addicts start to feel sick and unwell when they do not have this drug in their system, which makes it all the more challenging for them to break the addiction.
Derived from the coca bush, cocaine is a white powder that is commonly known as “coke” or “blow”. It first became popular in the 1970s. Though the dangers and addictive nature of cocaine are well known, it is still a widely abused drug in the US. It is easy to become tolerant of and physically dependent on the drug and withdrawal symptoms can be hard to endure.
Some of the effects of cocaine include a ‘high’ that is intense but short-lived. This is then followed by emotions such as paranoia, anger, depression, and hostility. Users then feel compelled to take more of the drug thus to addiction continues. Some of the health effects that the drug can cause include loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, nausea, erratic behavior, and even problems such as psychoses in the long term.
Once considered a ‘yuppie’ drug, cocaine has become more easily available to the masses, and this has led to more people becoming addicted. When users take the drug, the effects don’t last long so they crave it again to achieve that same high. However, over time they have to take more of the drug to achieve that high.
Because of the addictive nature of cocaine, breaking the addiction can be very difficult for those that have been using it over the long term. The withdrawal symptoms can vary based on the amount that the user has been taking and for how long. Some signs of withdrawal may include inability to focus, restlessness, increased fatigue, nightmares, tremors, and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts.
Though alcohol isn’t technically a drug, it is a substance that many get addicted to. In fact, 10% of adult men and 5% of adult women in the US meet the general criteria of an alcohol addict. People are able to get alcohol very easily because it is not illegal like many of the other addictive substances. Even children that have fake ID or look older than they are can get their hands on alcohol, which can result in childhood addiction.
Alcohol addiction is more common in those who start drinking from a young age. For many who eventually become addicts, they first start drinking alcohol because of the pleasant and sedating effect that it can offer. They turn to it again and again to numb any pain they may be feeling in other areas of life. This is what leads to alcohol addiction, which can be difficult to overcome without treatment such as checking in to a sober recovery house.
Those addicted to alcohol will find that many areas of their life may be affected. If has obvious effects on health including dental issues and damage to major organs such as the liver. Many people end up hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning after consuming huge amounts over a short period of time. This addiction can also affect the addict’s ability to work, study, form or maintain relationships, or control finances.
For an alcoholic, trying to wean themselves alcohol is extremely challenging. Some may manage it for a day or two before hitting the bottle again. Some are not even able to go one day without alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, sweating, shaking, hallucinations, anxiety and depression, inability to focus, sleep problems, and mood swings.
a) What it is, where does it come from and how is it used
b) What are the effects
c) Specific addictive properties (tolerances, trigger dopamine, euphoric affect etc. )
d) What Detox from specific drug is like
Xanax is a drug that is commonly used to effectively treat anxiety or panic disorders. However it can be quite addictive for those that take it for long periods of time or consume it in higher doses. It is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States, and misuse of Xanax has gotten thousands of people hospitalized over the years.
Some of the effects that come with this drug include cognitive issues, confusion, headaches, difficult focusing, and fatigue. There are also longer term effects to consider, which includes skin problems, depression, breathing difficulties, mood swings, memory issues, and weight fluctuation. An overdose can lead to even more serious effects including blurred vision, respiratory issues, and even coma.
Xanax can be addictive due to the dopamine within it which can trigger a high that feels pleasant and relaxing and can induce further cravings. Necessary treatment may include utilizing detox, drug rehab, and sober homes as part of the recovery plan.
Coming off this drug can be very difficult for those who are addicted because they become so reliant on it. There are various withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced by those that are addicted to Xanax. This includes tremors, anxiety, seizures, digestion problems, and sleeping problems amongst others.
Methamphetamine is a white powdery drug that is quite bitter in taste. It can be taken either orally, snorted, smoked or injected. This highly addictive drug absorbs into the bloodstream rapidly once consumed.
There are various side effects that come from using this drug including a variety of long-term, serious effects. This includes loss of memory, psychoses, issues with motor skills, aggression, dental problems, weight loss, and issues with brain function.
More commonly known as meth, a lot of the addiction to this drug is because of the fact that it enhances your mood and give you euphoric sensations when consumed. This is in part due to the dopamine it releases into your brain, which brings about an instant sense of well-being.
The withdrawal symptoms that come with addiction to Methamphetamine make it very hard for users to come off it without the right support. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, loss of coherent speech, hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
Crack cocaine is known to be highly addictive due to the instant and rapid high that it offers. It is taken in either by smoking or inhaling the vapor of heated crack, and the active cocaine element within immediately makes its way into the brain.
Both the short and long-term effects of this drug can be very serious and can have a major impact on the lives of users. Short-term effects include increased heart rate, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, aggression, and depression. Longer-term effects may include damage to major organs such as the liver or heart, respiratory problems, and an increased risk of heart attacks, seizures, and strokes.
The instant euphoric high that crack cocaine brings is intense, but it also doesn’t last long. The intensity of the euphoria is what causes this drug to be one the easiest ones to get addicted to. Because the effects of the drug do not last long, users tend to crave more very quickly so that they can reach that same high as before.
Once addicted, a user will find it extremely difficult to get over their addiction. In fact, they generally increase their usage to try and get the ultimate high that they are chasing. Proper support needs to be in place to help those that are addicted to crack cocaine in order to help them to break the addiction.
Prescription opiates are any narcotic medicines which are used to manage pain. Though they are helpful for those who need them for medical reasons of pain relief, they are widely abused and misused. The prescription opiates have the same effect on the brain that morphine and heroin does, and they provide quick pain relief and euphoric feelings.
The effects of prescription opiates can be similar to those of heroin. This is because they both fall under the same class of drugs, and both are able to create a euphoric feeling. The effects of these drugs may include bleeding ulcers, liver or kidney damage, seizures, organ damage, problems with brain functioning, and coma or death in the event of an overdose.
It is the euphoric feelings that can cause users to want to take them again and again until they become addicted. Over time, their growing tolerance leads to them taking higher and higher doses which can lead to overdose. Some of the most commonly used prescription opiates include Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin, Norco and Tramadol.
While these drugs are prescription drugs, there are many people that do become highly addicted and find themselves on a downward spiral because they are unable to break the habit. The withdrawal effects are part of the reason why it can be so difficult for users to come off these drugs. Some of these include insomnia, anxiety, fever, stomach cramps, nausea, agitation, pain in the bones and muscles, seizures, and coma.
Prescription amphetamines are most commonly used to manage ADHD and narcolepsy in patients. Some of the most popular ones include Adderall, Dexedrine and Vyvanse. The effects that they can have are similar to the effects of cocaine, and they also have the potential to boost energy and alertness.
When people take these prescription drugs, they experience increased energy, a rush, and an increase in blood pressure. This can then lead to hostility and aggression, paranoia, loss of appetite, and tremors. Once the rush starts to dissipate, the user may become exhausted, fatigued, and depressed. There are also serious long term health issues to consider such as palpitations, skin problems, seizures, and psychoses.
Many people start taking these drugs as prescribed by their doctor but become addicted because of the euphoric high that they provide. Some even obtain the drugs illegally without prescription in order to feed their addiction.
Amphetamine users could find themselves turning to higher doses of the drug to get the euphoric high effect they can induce. Once addicted, the physical withdrawal symptoms can be quite intense and this makes it very hard for users to break the addiction. A sober recovery house can be a good place to help amphetamine addicts get on their path to recovery.
It is clear to see why drug addiction has become such as major problem in the United States. This is an addiction that can affect people of all ages and from a range of different backgrounds. Once the addiction takes hold, it is extremely difficult for the addict to break free from this. However, three of the vital steps to aid recovery for any drug addict include detox, drug rehab, and sober home living. The latter is a crucial part of the process, as it enables addicts to recover from their addiction in an supported environment.