What Are the Signs of Drug Addiction and How to Get Treatment : Addiction is a complex condition that alters brain chemistry. It’s caused by the compulsive and uncontrolled use of a substance even when it’s causing harmful effects. People with severe substance use disorder feel a compulsion to use drugs and alcohol, to the point where it starts to take over their life.
It becomes a problem because the person is unable to stop using even when the drug is threatening their life. Fortunately, a number of effective addiction treatment options are available to help people recover from addiction and lead a productive, normal, and sober life.
Signs of Drug Addiction:
- Sudden Weight Loss
One of the earliest signs of addiction is a sudden weight change. If a person is hooked on stimulants like ecstasy, methamphetamine, alcohol, and Adderall; he/she is likely to experience quick weight loss. Conversely, a person struggling with marijuana is likely to eat more as marijuana stimulates appetite. Likewise, they will likely gain weight.
- Change in Sleep Patterns
Substance use disorder affects sleep quality. As a result, a person is likely to experience interrupted sleep patterns, hypersomnia, and insomnia. It’s hard for such a person to stick with a normal sleep schedule. They can have difficulty sleeping at night and may fall asleep at unusual hours.
- Changes in Skin
Drugs impact the liver that’s why the person with drug use disorder is likely to experience changes in their skin color. Acne, paleness, and jaundice are common observations among drug addicts. If a person injects himself with drugs, he’s likely to develop bruises, scars, scabs, and track marks on the skin.
- Secretive Behavior
A person with drug use disorder is likely to exhibit a lot of behavioral symptoms. Such a person is likely to seek isolation from the people around. This kind of societal withdrawal is an attempt for them to obtain/use drugs without getting caught. They would often lie about their whereabouts and what they’re doing as a way to keep their addiction a secret.
- Need to Isolate Oneself
Drugs change brain chemistry. Therefore, it’s not unusual if a person who was otherwise outwardly and extroverted suddenly finds himself withdrawn and seeking isolation. This need to separate oneself from friends, family, and their partners is usually an attempt at hiding their track marks, unexplained physical changes, and odd behaviors from everyone’s notice.
- Neglecting Responsibilities
Because drugs and alcohol can impair cognition and the ability to function like a normal human, it’s common for people to shun their daily responsibilities. People who remain mostly under the influence may start skipping work/school frequently. They can have trouble doing household chores and taking care of children and pets. They may forget important appointments and have difficulty remembering details. Sometimes, they would blatantly ignore important obligations and ignore pressing matters/deadlines.
- Sudden Mood Swings
A person struggling with addiction and drug abuse can have seemingly unexplained and unprovoked mood swings. He/she can become reactive, excessively excitable, and affectionate. But, when the effects of drugs wear off and the withdrawal symptoms set in, they may become irritable, abusive, and angry.
Fearfulness and thoughts of paranoia are another common psychological symptoms among people who abuse drugs. They start to develop a sense of mistrust about the people around them. They become suspicious of their own family members and may start ascribing malicious intentions to their simplest actions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling are effective treatments for managing paranoia and delusions.
- Lack of Motivation
Drug abuse and addiction can take a severe toll on a person’s willpower. The inability to get over addiction can make a person feel worthless and a slave to their condition. They may feel they are no good. This sense of despair and hopelessness can cause extreme lethargy. Such a person can lose his natural sense of motivation and the desire to get things done.
Hypersensitivity is also common among people who abuse drugs and substances. It becomes much more intense when they go through withdrawal symptoms. At that time, they can unexpectedly lash out at others in a fit of rage. They become easily irritable in general also. Therapy and individual counseling are ideal for correcting these behavioral symptoms linked to drug use.
How to Get Treatment for Addiction
Drug and alcohol detox is usually the first step in any addiction treatment. This involves ridding the body of substances and managing withdrawal symptoms. In almost 80% of the treatment cases, a therapist would use some kind of medication to manage those physically uncomfortable symptoms. A methadone clinic is often a popular choice to slowly detox from drugs using opioid-based medications. The need for medication to manage withdrawal symptoms of the detox process is more common with patients who have been using more than one substance.
- Counseling and Behavioral Therapies
The second step in most treatment programs is some kind of therapy or counseling session. This comes right after the detoxification. Therapy can be of several kinds. It can be both individual, group, and family-oriented. It all depends on the individual needs of the person undergoing treatment. Therapy is often part of inpatient drug rehab centers, which have proven to be quite successful at treating drug abuse. The sessions are usually more frequent at the beginning of the treatment. With time as the symptoms improve, sessions become less frequent.
Although medication is most common during the detox phase, some would even take them on a continuous basis all through the recovery process. Other than managing withdrawal symptoms, medication can also help to prevent relapses and reduce cravings. In this way, the person is far less likely to fall back into old patterns of addiction post-recovery. Medication can help the person stay drug-free even after the treatment is over. However, medication alone cannot fix something as complex as addiction. They are mostly used in conjunction with other treatments like psychotherapy.
- Inpatient Rehab
Inpatient addiction treatment centers provide the necessary way for an addict to start their road to recovery. By isolating the people away from their regular life and all of the triggers that can lead to substance abuse. Inpatient rehab centers do not only treat drug addiction. For people who are addicted to using alcohol, alcohol treatment centers (which are often part of the more broad drug and alcohol treatment programs) are able to help people get sober.
- Self Help Groups
Self-help groups allow the person to connect with others who are battling similar addictions. Connecting with others reduces the sense of isolation and also acts as a source of education and community. Group therapy and counseling can speed up the recovery. Classic examples of self-help groups are – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Drug addiction is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. With the help of the best addiction treatment approaches and proper care, it’s possible to overcome any addiction.
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