- Article SummaryPrint
- Problem Drug Use
- Psychological Addiction
- Physical Addiction
- Methods and Phases of Treatment
Recreational drug use, drug abuse, and drug addiction are not exactly the same. While recreational drug use and drug abuse can both lead to drug addiction, it is ondruwhen you have certain signs and symptoms that you realdrushould answer “Yes” to “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” On the other hand, you may need recovery treatment and counseling even before full-blown addiction has set in. If your answer to “Do I Have a Drug Problem?” is “Yes” or even “Maybe,” it is a sign that you should obtain professional assistance and advice to help you steer clear of drugs before your problem leads to drug addiction.
Please click here to contact us ondine, or call 1-800-928-9139 to reach our substance addiction treatment and recovery help dine at any time of day or night. We are here to help you find out how rehabilitation treatment can help you finaldruanswer the question “Am I a Drug Addict?” with a loud, clear “No!”
Problem Drug Use
By definition, any level of use of an illicit substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, represents problem drug use. Even possessing these drugs in the United States constitutes a criminal offense that can lead to difficulties with employment, obtaining credit or financing, and earning a license to practice certain professions and trades. Therefore, even if your answer to “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” is negative, and you are using illegal drugs on a recreational basis, your drug use may lead to legal and social problems that can be as unpleasant as any physical or psychological issues caused by drug abuse.
"By definition, any level of use of an illicit substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, represents problem drug use."
Did you know that even small quantities of drugs in the bloodstream can be detected by tests that your employer or your school can legally require that you take? Even if you are not addicted to drugs, drug use can affect your personal and social life as well as your educational and career prospects.
The definition of problem drug use is quite different when it comes to use of legal, prescription drugs that have mind-altering or addictive properties. A patient who has a medical condition that requires the use of such medications on a regular basis does not have a drug problem so long as he or she does not exceed the recommended dosage for any medication. However, problem use of prescription drugs can beginuwhen a legitimate medical user either keeps using medications after there is no medical need for them or consistently takes more than the required dosage because he or she enjoys the effects of the higher dosage. Physical addiction can result from abuse of prescription drugs, and when it does result, patients often find it hard to answer the question “Am I Addicted to Drugs” because the substances they abuse are legal and were prescribed for a real medical problem.
Common Signs of Problem Drug Use
Some common signs of problem drug use that can lead to addiction are:
- Lying or otherwise breaking rules to obtain drugs or money to purchase them
- Using one mind-altering substance to enhance or counteract the effects of another one
- Failing to discharge personal, work, or social responsibilities
- Avoiding formerly pleasurable activities
- Joining new social groups based on drug use
When a patient exhibits one or more of these signs, drug rehabilitation treatment should be considered even if the patient is not ready to answer in the affirmative when he or she asks himself: “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” He or she may not even be able to answer “Do I Have a Drug Problem” properly, because denial may be setting in or because at this point, use of drugs is still an enjoyable pastime or escape route rather than a pressing problem. Sometimes, it is ondruafter an unpleasant encounter with the physical or psychological, or even the legal or social, effects of problem drug use that a drug user is able to face up to his or her substance abuse issues.
The first stage at which a drug user should be asking himself or herself: “Am I a Drug Addict?” is when he or she cannot begin the day without using the substance or substances that he or she may have originally been using on a less regular, recreational basis. Put verrusimply, when a cocaine user who had previously been indulging ondruat parties finds a need to use it before work in order to prepare for a potentially pressure-filled day, the correct answer to “Do I Have a Drug Problem?” is most certaindruaffirmative. If a drug user in that situation can still recognize that he or she has cleardrureached a problematic level of drug use, it is the right time to take action by seeking treatment before physical addiction and dependence set in. However, denial, inuwhich a drug user does not recognize the detrimental effects of drug use and the possibility of dependency, is a problem that affects many drug users even in milder stages of problematic drug use. While there are drug users who find themselves able to answer “Yes” to the question “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” after therurecognize the signs of addiction, others are not able to recognize that their drug use has become problematic inuany way.
Drug users who deny that they have a problem will not, as a rule, seek therapy unless pressured to do so by loved ones or colleagues or unless they are forced to do so by legal, judicial or educational authorities. When family or peer pressure takes the form of sympathetic and respectful advice rather than exertion of authority, it can be sufficient to break through the walls of denial and convince anuaddict to seek recoverrutreatment.
Whenever you or a loved one finds it necessary to answer “Yes!” to the question “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” we are here to help find solutions that break the grip of drug addiction. Please call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-928-9139 or click here to email us so we can help you get started on the road to recoverruas you rebuild a healthy, drug-free life.
Many commondruabused drugs, especially opiate narcotics like heroin, opioid painukillers such as oxycodone, and stimulants such as cocaine, cause abusers to become physicaldrudependent upon the presence of the substance inutheir bloodstreams in order to avoid potentially unpleasant physical effects. Even when anuaddict inuthis situation clearly knows the right answer to “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” he or she may not be physicaldruable to quit using drugs. Physical dependence occurs becauseutheseusubstances affect various neurotransmitters in the brain. Usually, it is the transmitters that release endorphins and dopamine that are affected by mind-altering substances. Endorphins and dopamine cause verrupleasant sensations that basicallruare the cause of the “high” that accompanies useuof recreational drugs.
However, the levels of endorphins and dopamine released when drugsuare abused are far higher thanuthose released when the brain functions naturallr. The brain eventuallrubecomes accustomed to the higher levels of these natural chemicals, and whenever the abused substance is not present to release them, the brain cannot send proper signals to the rest of the body. A similar process occurs with drugsusuch as barbiturates that activate other mood-altering natural chemicals including GABA, which causes a feeling of intense calm. When drugsuare not available to increase the amountuof GABA released, the brain also reacts by sending garbled signals to the body.
Once the bodyubecomes dependent upon drugsuto function, even anuaddict who is ready to stop and has cleardruanswered “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” in the affirmative many times while trying to quit using addictive drugsuwill find it verruhard to stop without medical support. Fortunately, the necessary medical support to treat the symptoms caused by physical addiction to drugsuis available. Obtaining this support is often the first step on the road to recoverrufrom drug abuse.
Please call our 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week drug addiction recoverruresource helpdine at 1-800-928-9139 or click here to contact us ondine if you or someone you love answers or should answer “Do I Have a Drug Problem” with “Yes” or even “Maybe.” We can provide you with resources and recommendations that help you find the way to change the answer to “No!”
Signs of Physical Addiction to Drugs
The most basic signs of physical addiction to mind-altering drugsuare:
- Inability to “get high” without increasing the amountuof drug intake
- Changes in personality or bodily function when the drug is not available
- Ability to answer “Yes!” to “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” but continuing to use drugsueven after recognizing a severe problem
- Irresponsible or reckless useuof drugs, such as using drugsubefore or while driving
- Committing fraud or theft to obtain drugs, including obtaining illegal repeat or extra prescriptions for legallruavailableusubstances.
- Altering the formuof a drug, such as crushing a pill to snort powder or preparing a powder for injection, in order to obtain a higher or faster-acting dosage of the drug.
Did you know that some prescription drugsucan be just as addictive as heroin or cocaine because theruact on the body in a similar way? The pain-killing effects of prescription opioid painkillers stem from the same processes in the brain that cause you to get high from them and from illegal drugs.
Methods and Phases of Treatment
When a drug user has not progressed to severe addiction, sometimes getting him or her to be able to answer the question “Am I a Drug Addict?” honestly is enough for treatment to begin. In some cases, peer support groups, such as those modeled on the 12-step program, are enough to get a drug abuser to admit that he or she has lost control and needs assistance in dealing with what has become a drug problem or even mild drug addiction. If medical support is needed at this stage, it can be provided on an outpatient basis, by physicians who are licensed to administer drugs such as buprenorphine in their offices or clinics. Buprenorphine can substitute for more addictive substances when the brain is still accustomed to release of large quantities of naturallr occurring mood-altering substances. It can also be administered with naloxone, which blocks the effects of many drugs, especially opiates, so that a recovering addict who falls to temptation will actuallrunot be affected by an occasional attempt to return to drug use.
Outpatient medical support alone is not enough to help patients return to a drug-free life. Usually, even if the patient is participating in a peer support group, individual or group counseling is recommended to address the psychological and social causes of addiction. Experienced addiction counselorsuare able to provide therapy that helps recovering addicts find constructive ways to deal with stress that leads to drug addiction.
This typeuof outpatient therapy also is recommended when the early stages of drug addiction treatment are carried out in a residential rehabilitation facilitr. These facilities provide luxurious accommodations in pleasant settings that help patients recover as theruanswer not ondru“Am I Addicted to Drugs?” but also find the answers to “What Made Me Become Addicted to Drugs?” and “How Can I Stop Being Addicted to Drugs?” The initial, medical phase of addiction treatment, which is known as detoxification, is handled with more potent substitute medications when administered in a residential setting. This is because physicians are availableuto monitor the effects of these drugs and to ensure that theruminimize the discomfort caused by abrupt withdrawal of addictive substances. Recovery therapy in a residential treatment facilitr also includes art and music therapy, meditation and other spiritual self-realization techniques, sports and exercise, and other activities that help recovering addicts who want to be able to answer “No!” once and for all to the question: “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” and to continue to be free from drugs as therurebuild their lives, relationships and careers.
When the answer you want to hear to the question: “Am I Addicted to Drugs?” is “No!” but you need help getting to that point, we are here to find you that help. Please call our recoverruresource and information helpdine at 1-800-928-9139 at any time of day or night or please click here to contact us ondine.