Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behaviour and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. When you are addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.
Drug addiction can start with experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some people, the drug use becomes more frequent. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction begins with exposure to prescribed medications.
The risk of addiction and how fast you become addicted varies by drug. Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers, have a higher risk and cause addiction more quickly than others.
As time passes, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may need the drug just to feel good. As your drug use increases, you may find that it’s increasingly difficult to go without the drug. Attempts to stop drug use may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms).
What are the signs of Drug Addiction?
- Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day.
- Having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts.
- Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect.
- Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended.
- Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug.
- Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it.
- Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use.
- Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it’s causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm.
- Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing.
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug.
- Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug.
- Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug.
Help with Drug Addiction.
If you think you or your loved one may be suffering from Drug Addiction, call to talk about the signs of Drug Addiction and your individual situation.