This Page was last reviewed and changed on June 6th, 2022
Did you know that drug addiction is one of the leading causes of death in the world? In fact, more people die every year from drug overdoses than car accidents. However, while drug abuse and addiction can cause huge damage, it’s important to know that there is help available if you are ready to make a change in your life.
On this page, we will discuss everything you need to know about drug addiction, from its underlying causes to the signs and symptoms to look for in yourself and others. We will also explain the extent of the issue of drug addiction in the UK as well as possible treatment options.
Cocaine blocks the brain’s neurons, causing dopamine levels to rise, which gives users elevated confidence. When people become addicted, their tolerance increases, thus causing destructive consequences for their health.
Heroin is perhaps the most dangerous drug on the planet. Heroin overdose is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people worldwide. It’s common for people to become addicted, even after one or two doses.
Although legalised in many countries, Cannabis is still illegal in the UK. Whilst it’s considered less addictive than other substances, it’s possible for people to become emotionally dependent on the high, leading to cannabis addiction.
Crack Cocaine is the ‘rock’ form of Cocaine and is inhaled to give an immediate high. The more someone uses Crack, the higher their tolerance grows. An addiction to Crack Cocaine endangers a person’s mental and physical health.
Although medical professionals prescribe prescription drugs to combat illness, they don’t come without the risk of addiction. As this may be the most difficult one to spot, it is essential to know the symptoms early.
Drug addiction is a condition that develops when a person uses drugs to the point where they become reliant on them and have a compulsive need to take them despite negative consequences. This can happen after using drugs for a short period of time, or it can happen after years of drug abuse. Drug addiction is a chronic and progressive condition, which means that it gets worse over time.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to drug addiction. These include genetics, mental health problems, trauma and environment. If you have a family member who is addicted to drugs or you were exposed to drug abuse at an early age, you are more likely to develop an addiction. This is why drug abuse and addiction are often seen to “run in families”.
Mental health problems and traumatic experiences can also increase your risk of drug addiction, as you may turn to drugs in order to self-medicate or cope with the trauma. This often results in a vicious cycle of drug abuse and mental health symptoms because the drug use only exacerbates the underlying problems.
The economic impact of drug abuse on the UK is also enormous. According to recent research carried out by the government’s chief drug policy advisor Dame Carol Black, illicit drug use costs the country almost £20 billion a year. This results in funding being diverted away from other important areas such as education, health and housing which all have a knock-on effect on people’s lives and wellbeing.
What are the health impacts of drugs?
There are a variety of drugs that can cause addiction. These include cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, opioids and various prescription drugs. Each of these drugs has its own unique effects, but all of them can lead to addiction if they are abused or used excessively on a regular basis.
Depending on the type of substance, drug addiction can have a range of short-term and long-term effects. These effects can be physical, mental or emotional and you can experience them from the very first time you take the drug.
Short-term effects of drug addiction include things like impaired judgement, slurred speech, drowsiness, hyper aggression, paranoia, nausea and extreme dehydration. Long-term effects of drug addiction include organ damage, memory problems, mental health issues, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and potentially even death.
Signs of drug addiction in yourself
Addiction can be difficult to spot because it is very sneaky and is often able to convince a person and those around them that there is no issue. In order to get help as soon as possible, however, it is first crucial that you are able to identify and accept that you have a drug addiction. To help you see through the web of deception that addiction weaves, here are some signs of drug addiction to look out for:
Spending a lot of time obtaining, using or recovering from drugs
Trying to cut down or stop using drugs but being unsuccessful
Giving up important activities in order to use drugs
Using drugs despite them causing problems in your life
Continuing to use the drug despite physical or mental health problems
Developing a high tolerance to drugs and needing to use more to maintain a satisfying effect
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using drugs
Lying to friends and family about your drug use
If you recognise any of these signs or symptoms in yourself, then you may need treatment for drug addiction. Get in touch with us today and our team of addiction treatment experts can discuss your situation and the help available.
Signs of drug addiction to look for in others
It is also very important to know how to spot drug addiction in others. This can be very difficult because addiction is adept at staying well-hidden and manifests itself differently in different people. However, here are some of the signs to look for in your loved ones:
Changes in mood or behaviour
Changes in appearance
Secretive or suspicious behaviour
If you are concerned that someone close to you is addicted to drugs, then the best thing to do is talk to them about your concerns. It is important to note that these potential symptoms could also be signs of other mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, so if you are unsure, seek professional advice here.
While trying to help a loved one with an addiction, it is crucial that you don’t enable their drug-taking behaviour. For example, if you know that money you give them is going to be spent on drugs, don’t give it to them even if this impacts your relationship.
Can drug addiction be cured?
While addiction cannot be “cured” in the traditional sense of the word, there are many fantastic treatment options available that can help you identify the underlying causes of your addiction and create new drug-free coping mechanisms.
UKAT provides comprehensive drug rehab programmes that have already helped hundreds of people make a fresh start in life and achieve long-term recovery from drug addiction. To find out more about the options available to you, get in touch with our supportive admissions team.
What is the next step?
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, the best course of action is to seek professional help as soon as possible. Drug addiction can quickly take over your life and cause immense damage to your health, relationships and finances. There are a number of resources available to help those struggling with drug addiction, so do not hesitate to reach out for help.
Myths about drug addiction
There are a number of myths about drug addiction that can make it difficult for people to seek help. Some of these myths include:
Drug abuse is not the same as drug addiction. It is possible to abuse drugs without being addicted to them but they can still have the same damaging effects on your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most addictive drug?
While alcohol is the most widely accessible drug, and therefore the most commonly abused, all illicit drugs and many prescription drugs can be highly addictive. That is why treatment for both illicit and prescription drugs is offered at rehab.
What are the signs of drug addiction?
There are various physical signs of drug addiction to look out for in yourself and others These include withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking drugs, a compulsive need to take drugs even though they are causing negative consequences in your life, changes in mood and personality, and hiding drug use from others.
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