Drug addiction is recognised as a major problem worldwide. The cost to society of this illness is staggering. It costs society through increased hospital visits, elevated crimes, premature deaths, as well as having members of society going through life in an altered state. These indirect costs show why many countries have established anti-drug campaigns to attempt to curb the prevalence of drug abuse. It’s also interesting to note that research done in the USA showed that for every one Dollar spent on addiction treatment, seven Dollars was saved in reduced health care costs.
What is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a disease that causes significant changes in behaviour. It is clinically known as drug dependence and can be formally diagnosed by the presence of a number of symptoms. Perhaps the best known symptom of drug addiction is the physical withdrawal symptoms that an addict may suffer if they suddenly discontinue using drugs. These symptoms are unpleasant but can even be dangerous. This is why it is key that a drug detox should be monitored by a medical doctor. Not only will the patient be safer but they are more likely to be able to cope with the withdrawal symptoms and so succeed in detoxifying.
The next symptom is “tolerance” which refers to the addict needing to increase their dose of the drug in order to get high. It occurs as the body adapts itself to the presence of the drug and learns to cope with the presence of foreign chemicals. Another symptom of drug addiction could be the person continuing to use and seek drugs even in the face of very negative consequences. These consequences could include social problems such as divorce, problems at work, and health problems. It is possible to be addicted to a substance without having a physical dependence on the substance. Many people fall into the temptation of rating the danger of a drug by the degree to which it results in physical withdrawal symptoms. It does not require a physiological withdrawal in order to diagnose drug addiction.
Causes of drug addiction
As yet there is no concrete evidence for a single cause of drug addiction. Drug abuse is possibly the best way to predict drug addiction. Other factors that could lead to addiction include genetics, the effect the drug has, peer pressure (social environment), emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and stressful life events. Two of the symptoms of drug addiction, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, can develop as a result of prolonged drug abuse.
Remember that tolerance is the situation where the addict displays a need for a higher dose in order to become intoxicated. In other words the drug has less effect on them. This occurs as the body adapts itself to the presence of the foreign chemical and learns to be able to cope with it. Withdrawal symptoms are the flip side of tolerance.
The body has become so accustomed to the presence of the chemical that it can no longer function normally without it. In other words it requires a certain level of the chemical to be present. If the person suffering from drug addiction stops using abruptly the body will lack the chemical and so go through a withdrawal as it readjusts itself.
Research has also shown that it’s impossible to predict a drug addiction cause, it does not affect any particular population group more than others. Not age, race, creed, sex, or any other factor can be used to determine a predisposition to or cause for this illness. From what we have seen above we can say that drug abuse is the best predictor of who is at risk of this disease.
If you are concerned about your drug use and want to find out more about getting help in reclaiming your life please contact the intake coordinators at We Do Recover for expert and confidential advice.
Please contact us to discuss on:
South Africa: 082-74-REHAB (73422)
UK: 0808 26 REHAB (73422)