Drug Dependence

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Drug Dependence

Addiction Dependence Treatment

Drug Dependence, also called substance use disorder, is a dependence on a legal or illegal drug or medication. Keep in mind that alcohol and nicotine are legal substances, but are also considered drugs. When you're addicted, you're not able to control your drug use and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. You may want to quit, but most people find they can't do it on their own.

 

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Drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment, and the law. You may need help from your doctor, family, friends, support groups or an organized treatment program to overcome your drug addiction and stay drug-free. Most drug addictions start with experimental use of a drug in social situations. For some people, the drug use becomes more frequent. The risk of addiction and how fast you become dependent varies by drug. Some drugs have a higher risk and cause dependency 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).

Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include, among others:

  • Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
  • Having intense urges for the drug
  • Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
  • 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
  • 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
  • Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug

Withdrawal is the body's reaction to abstaining from a substance upon which a person has developed a dependence syndrome. When dependence has developed, cessation of substance use produces an unpleasant state, which promotes continued drug use through negative reinforcement; i.e., the drug is used to escape or avoid re-entering the associated withdrawal state. The withdrawal state may include physical-somatic symptoms (physical dependence), emotional-motivational symptoms (psychological dependence), or both. Chemical and hormonal imbalances may arise if the substance is not introduced. Psychological stress may also result if the substance is not re-introduced.

 


Drug Dependence

 

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