Many people still hold misconceptions about addiction that are largely fueled by what they learn from the media. However, for a growing number of people, addiction is a very real issue that has the potential to ruin lives and even end them abruptly. For these people, the way addiction is represented by the media doesn’t recognize them as being individuals needing drug addiction treatment for a devastating illness.
There is still a school of thought that addiction is somehow a lifestyle choice people take when they start using substances. The truth is rather different however, and addiction is an illness that develops silently as a person becomes more driven to abuse substances that they have come to need rather than desire. People close to addicts are exposed to particularly negative behaviors, including lies and manipulation, which can lead to them rejecting them Inevitably, at some stage many people ask what it is exactly that leads to people developing addiction illness?
There Is No Single Answer to the Question
There are numerous reasons people initially start using drugs or alcohol including some of the following reasons:
- As a response to stress or trauma such as divorce or pressure at work
- To self-medicate the symptoms of an illness or injury
- Because many perceive the confidence boost substances give them are beneficial in social or work settings
- Peer pressure through being in environments where others are using and abusing substances
In many ways, people use drugs and alcohol as social props or because they are trying to solve a problem. The majority of us face problems on a daily basis without the need to use substances but some people, they can’t find an easy solution to their situation and so they look for the answer in alcohol or drugs.
Because of the regularity we are faced with stressful situations in daily life, someone who has used substances to get them through in the past is more likely to see the benefit of continuing. This is an incredibly vulnerable time as individuals can find themselves becoming tolerant to the effects of drugs or alcohol, making them use more to achieve the desired effects.
When a person has started to become dependent or addicted to substances, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms every time they stop drinking or using drugs. Sometimes, addiction can be so severe as to awake people in the night with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Experiencing withdrawal prompts individuals to use substances to reduce discomfort and because they have simultaneously developed tolerance; they progressively consume more and more of the substance as cravings become more severe.
What Can a Person Do When They Have Become Addicted?
Broadly speaking, drug rehabilitation programs are the only way forward for people seeking to overcome addiction illness. However, before anything can be achieved it is important to detox the body from any toxins or contaminants that have accumulated over the time the person has been abusing substances. This process varies in terms of how long it takes to detoxify an individual, depending on the substance used and how long they used it for.
Once detox has been completed, it is crucial that patients in drug rehab centers undergo a complete assessment to provide an accurate diagnosis of their specific addiction. This is because there is a strong correlation between addiction and mental health and many people in drug rehab centers can be suffering from two conditions at the same time.
These patients are known as dual-diagnosis and they need to attend a specific drug addiction treatment center which addresses both conditions separately while at the same time. Dual diagnosis cases are more complex that addiction on its own as the two conditions can have an interplay that perpetuates addiction in the individual, keeping them in an abusive cycle. However, our understanding of addicts with co-existing mental health conditions has improved significantly and it is now eminently possible for full recovery to be achieved.
Prescription Drug Addiction
This is a whole grey area that has emerged in the world of addiction in the past decade. In the 1990s, physicians started to use opiate-based drugs to treat patients with chronic pain conditions. However, at that time, they were largely unaware of the highly addictive nature of these painkilling medications and it resulted in a proliferation of prescriptions leading hundreds and thousands into addiction.
Over the years, many of the people prescribed intensely potent opiate medications have become dependent or addicted to them, many “graduating” to heroin abuse when their tolerance becomes overwhelming.
In a similar way to dual diagnosis patients, prescription drug addiction is complex to treat because it is still a relatively new phenomenon. It is also an addiction that starts in the physician’s office and when people are prescribed medications, they naturally trust them to be safe. However, the opposite is true and more than 65,000 Americans die every year as a result of a fatal opiate overdose, with concerns about an increasing epidemic sweeping the nation.
There Is No One Reason Why
We are all individuals with our own set of hopes, wishes, and desires. Humans are complex creatures operating across the mind, body, and spirit and so naturally, when someone has become addicted to substances, they need personalized drug addiction treatment. A good drug addiction treatment center should provide an environment that promotes self-exploration so that someone with substance use disorder can learn to understand their illness.