Drug addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is dependent on legal or illicit drugs or medication. Keep in mind that alcohol and nicotine are legal substances but are also considered drugs.

When you are addicted, you cannot control your drug use, and you can continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. For example, drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. You can quit smoking, but most people find that they can not do it yourself.

Drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including physical and mental health problems, relationships, employment, and the law.

You may need help from your doctor, family, friends, support groups, or an organized treatment program to overcome your drug addiction and stay drug-free.


Addiction symptoms

Most addictions start with the experimental use of the drug in social situations. For some people, drug use is becoming more common. The risk of addiction and how quickly you become addicted varies depending on the drug. Some drugs have a higher risk and addictive faster than others.

Over time, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may need the drug to feel good. With the increase in drug use, you may find that it becomes increasingly difficult to live without drugs. Attempts to stop the use of drugs can cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill.


Addiction Causes

Like many other psychiatric disorders, and certain factors may contribute to the development of addiction and dependence. The main factors are as follows:


  • Environment – Environmental factors, including the beliefs and attitudes of your family and the impact of a peer group that encourages drug use, seem to play a role in initial drug use.
  • Genetics – Once you have started to use the drug, the development of addiction may be influenced by inherited traits that can delay or accelerate the progression of the disease.
  • Changes in the brain – Physical addiction occurs when repeated drug use alters the way your brain feels pleasure. In addition, drug use causes physical changes in some nerve cells in the brain. For example, neurons use chemicals called neurotransmitters for communication. These changes may remain long after you stop using the drug.


Addiction Risk factors

People of any age, sex, or economic status can become addicted to the drug. However, some factors may affect the likelihood and speed of the development of drug addiction:


  • A family history of substance abuse – Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely includes a genetic predisposition; you’re at greater risk for substance abuse if you have a close relative such as a parent or sibling with alcohol or drug problems.
  • Male – Men are more likely to have problems with drugs than women. However, the progression of addictive disorders is known to be faster in women.
  • The presence of other mental health disorders – If you have a mental health disorder, such as depression, attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, you’re more likely to become addicted to drugs.
  • Peer pressure – Peer pressure is a strong factor at the beginning of the use and abuse of drugs, especially for young people.
  • Lack of family involvement – Complex family situations or lack of communication with their parents or siblings may increase the risk of addiction; how can this lack of parental supervision.
  • Anxiety, depression, and loneliness – Using drugs can become a way of coping with these painful psychological feelings and make these problems even worse.
  • Taking a highly addictive drug – Some drugs, such as stimulants, analgesics, or cocaine, may lead to drug addiction more rapidly than other drugs. Nevertheless, taking drugs is considered less addicting – the so-called ‘light drugs’ – can start you on the path of drugs and drug use.


Addiction Preparing for your appointment

It may help to get an independent perspective from someone you trust and who knows you well. You can start with discussing your substance use with your primary doctor or ask for a referral to a specialist in addiction, such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor or a psychiatrist or psychologist. Take a family member or friend along.


What can you do

In order to prepare for the appointment:


  • Be honest about your drug use – If you have a problem with drug use, it can be easy to downplay or underestimate how much you use and your level of dependence. To get an accurate idea of ​​what treatment can help, be honest with your doctor or other mental health providers.
  • Make a list of all the medicines, vitamins, or other additives
  • That you are taking and the dosage. Tell your doctor about any legal or illegal drugs that you use.
  • Prepare questions to ask your doctor.


Key questions to ask your doctor include:?

  • What is the best approach to my drug problem?
  • Should I see a psychiatrist or another provider of mental health services
  • Will I need to go to the hospital or spend time in recovery in a hospital or outpatient clinic?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What sites do you recommend?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you’re suggesting?

Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.


What can we expect from your doctor?

Your doctor may ask you some questions. Be prepared to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:

  • What drugs you are using
  • When your drug use first start
  • How often do you use drugs ??
  • When you take medicine, how much do you use?
  • Have you ever feel that you might have a drug problem?
  • Have you tried to quit on your own? What happened when you did?
  • If you have tried to quit, did you have withdrawal symptoms?
  • Are there any family members who have criticized your drug use?
  • Are you ready to get the treatment needed for your drug problem?


Addiction Tests and diagnosis

Diagnosing drug abuse requires careful evaluation and often involves assessing a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Blood, urine, or other laboratory tests evaluate drugs, but they are not diagnostic test drugs. Instead, these tests can be used to monitor treatment and recovery.

For the diagnosis of substance use disorders, most experts on mental health with the help of the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association to diagnose mental conditions. Insurance companies also use this guide to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for a substance use disorder include behavior pattern of drug use that causes significant problems and the suffering, no matter what the drug is used.

You can have the use of psychoactive substances, if at least two of these issues occur during the 12-month period:
  • You often take more of the drug for a longer period of time than you expected,
  • Y’all want to cut down or quit smoking but have not been successful
  • Y’all spend a lot of time getting the drug, using the drug, or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • You have an intense urge for drugs that block any other thoughts
  • You are not fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities due to the use of psychoactive substances
  • Y’all continue to use the drug; even if you know it’s causing problems in your life
  • You give up or cut back important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use
  • You can use this material in situations that may be dangerous, such as driving or operating machinery
  • Y’alluse the substance, even if you know, it’s causing you physical or psychological harm
  • You develop tolerance, which means that the drug has less and less effect on you, and you need more of the drug to get the same effect,
  • You have physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug or drugs you are taking to avoid withdrawal symptoms


Addiction Treatments and drugs

Treatment options explained below can help you overcome addiction and stay in treatment programs for chemical dependency without drugs.

Treatment programs generally offer:

  • Individual, group, and family therapy sessions
  • Emphasize understanding the nature of addiction and relapse prevention
  • Levels of care and settings that vary according to your needs, such as outpatient, residential, inpatient programs


  • Detoxification

The purpose of detoxification, which is also called ‘Detox’ or withdrawal therapy, will allow you to stop taking the drug use as quickly and safely as possible. For some people, it may be safe to undergo withdrawal therapy on an outpatient basis. Others may need admission to a hospital or residential treatment center.

Withdrawal from different categories of drugs -. Such as depressants, stimulants, or opioids – produces different side effects and require different approaches. Detoxification may involve gradually reducing the dose of the drug or temporarily substituting other substances, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.


  • Counseling


As part of a drug treatment program, counseling – also known as talk therapy or psychotherapy – can be done with the help of a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a licensed alcohol and drug counselor with the individual, family, or group. The therapist or counselor can:

  • Help you develop ways to cope with drug cravings.
  • Suggest strategies to avoid drugs and prevent relapse
  • Proposals on a proposal on how to deal with relapse if it occurs
  • Talk about issues related to your job, legal problems, and relationships with family and friends
  • Including family members to help them develop better communication skills and support


  • Self-help groups

Many, though not all, support self-help groups use the model of the 12-step first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous help people who use drugs.

Self-Help Support Group’s message is that addiction is a chronic disease with a risk of recurrence. Support Self-help groups can reduce the feeling of shame and isolation that can lead to relapse.

Your therapist or counselor can help you find a self-help group. You can also find support groups in your community or online.


Addiction Coping and Support

Overcoming addiction and staying drug-free requires sustained efforts. Learning new survival skills and knowing where to find help is essential. Taking these steps can help:


  • See a therapist – Pay attention to your mental health. Drug addiction is associated with several problems that can be helped with counseling, including other major mental health problems or marriage or family problems. Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist can help you regain peace of mind and fix your relationship.
  • Seek treatment for other mental health disorders – People with other mental health problems such as depression are more likely to become addicted. Seek immediate treatment from qualified mental health, if you have any signs or symptoms of mental illness.
  • Join a support group – Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous can be very effective in the fight against drug addiction. Compassion, understanding, and exchange of experience can help you overcome your addiction and stay drug-free.



Drug use can have significant and devastating short- and long-term consequences. Taking some drugs can be particularly risky, especially if you take high doses or combine them with other drugs or alcohol. Here are some examples.


  • Methamphetamine, opiates, and cocaine are highly addictive and cause numerous health effects in the short and long term, including psychotic behavior, seizures, or death due to overdose.
  • GHB and Rohypnol can cause sedation, confusion, and memory loss. These so-called “date rape drugs’ easy to give someone without their knowledge and consent and are known to reduce the ability to resist unwanted contact and memory of the event. In large doses, they can cause convulsions, coma, and death. The danger increases when these drugs with alcohol.
  • MDMA or Molly can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and complications, which may include seizures. Long-term, MDMA can damage the brain.
  • Club drug’s particular danger is that the liquid, powder, or tablet forms of these drugs available on the street often contain unknown substances that may be harmful, including other illegally produced or pharmaceuticals.
  • Due to the toxic nature of inhalants, users may develop brain damage of various levels of severity.
    Other life-altering complications


Dependence on drugs can create a number of dangerous and devastating complications, including:


  • Getting an infectious disease – People who are addicted to the drug. More likely to get an infectious disease such as HIV through unsafe sex or by sharing needles.
  • Other health problems – Addiction can lead to various short-term and long-term mental and physical health problems. They depend on the fact that the drug is taken.
  • Accidents – If you are addicted to a drug, you’re more likely to drive or do other dangerous activities while under the influence.
  • Suicide – People who use drugs commit suicide more often than people who are not addicted.
  • Family problems – Behavioral changes may cause marital or family problems, strife, and custody.
  • Work issues – drug use and dependence can cause a decrease in productivity at work, absenteeism, and ultimately the loss of a job.
  • Problems at school – drug use can adversely affect the performance and motivation to succeed in school.
  • Legal issues – It is widespread for drug users. It can be a consequence of purchasing or possessing illegal drugs, stealing to support your drug addiction, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or disputes over child custody.
  • Financial difficulties – Spending money to support your drug use takes money from your other needs, could put you into debt, and could lead to illegal or unethical behavior.