Drug Addiction

What Is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a "relapsing" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

It's common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn't mean that treatment doesn’t work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.


Types of Drugs


These drugs speed up the body’s nervous system and create a feeling of energy. They are also called “uppers” because of their ability to make you feel very awake. Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. When the effects of a stimulant wear off, the user is typically left with feelings of sickness and a loss of energy. Constant use of such drugs can have very negative effects on the user. In order to prevent extreme negative side effects of these drugs and the impact they have on life, drug treatment centers are often recommended.

Types of drugs include:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Amphetamines
  • Ritalin
  • Cylert


Inhalants are sniffed or huffed and give the user immediate results. Unfortunately, these immediate results can also result in sudden mental damage. When inhalants are taken, the body becomes deprived of oxygen, causing a rapid heartbeat. Other effects include liver, lung and kidney problems, affected sense of smell, difficulty walking and confusion.

Types of drugs include:

  • Glues
  • Paint thinner
  • Gasoline
  • Laughing gas
  • Aerosol sprays



These drugs result in feelings of euphoria, cause confusion and memory problems, anxiety, a higher heart rate, as well as staggering and poor reaction time.

Types of drugs include:

  • Hashish
  • Marijuana


Depressants slow down activity in the central nervous system of your body. These drugs are also called “downers” because they slow the body down and seem to give feelings of relaxation. Depressants are available as prescription drugs to relieve stress and anger, although drowsiness is often a side effect. The “relaxation” felt from these drugs is not a healthy feeling for the body to experience, to stop abuse of this drug, drug treatment is suggested.

Types of drugs:

  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Flunitrazepam
  • GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate)
  • Methaqualone
  • Alcohol
  • Tranquillisers

Opioids & Morphine Derivatives

Opioids and morphine derivatives can cause drowsiness, confusion, nausea, feelings of euphoria, respiratory complications and relieve pain.
Types of drugs include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl and fentanyl analogs
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Oxycodone HCL
  • Hydrocodone bitartrate, acetaminophen

Anabolic Steroids

Steroids are taken to improve physical performance as well as to enlarge muscles and increase strength. Negative effects of steroids include baldness, cysts, oily hair and skin, acne, heart attack, stroke and change in voice. Hostility is also a frequent side effect of anabolic steroids.
Types of drugs include:

  • Anadrol
  • Oxandrin
  • Durabolin
  • Stanozol
  • Dianabol



When taking hallucinogens, switching emotions is frequent. These drugs change the mind and cause the appearance of things that are not really there. Hallucinogens affect the body’s self-control, such as speech and movement, and often bring about hostility. Other negative side effects of these drugs include heart failure, increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and changes in the body’s hormones.
Types of drugs include:

  • LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • Mescaline
  • Psilocybin
  • Cannabis
  • Magic Mushrooms

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can be very helpful drugs when used properly and when under the guidance of a qualified physician. These drugs can be used as aids in surgery, to treat medical conditions and while controlling various symptoms. Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs however can be very dangerous.
Types of drugs include:

  • Opiods: Codeine, Oxycodone, Morphine
  • Central nervous system depressants: barbiturates, benzodiazepines
  • Stimulants: dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate



1. Stimulant Effects

Other stimulant drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines have a greater impact on the release of excitatory neurotransmitters and thus produce a higher level of wakefulness and a more radically altered mood. That is why these stimulant drugs are sometimes known as "speed".

2. Depressant Effects

Depressant drugs, like alcohol and heroin, work in much the same way on mood and personality but activate inhibitory chemical messengers. However, the repeated use of such drugs over an extended period of time can cause the body to adjust the amount of naturally occurring inhibitory chemicals it produces. This leads to the phenomena of tolerance. More and more of the drug has to be taken in order to get the desired effect. In building tolerance to the effects of a drug, the user may be taking the first steps on the road to physical drug dependence.

3. Hallucinogenic Effects

Hallucinogenic drugs, like LSD and certain 'magic' mushrooms, affect those areas of the brain which control sensory perception and thought patterns. They do this by altering the way in which the messages are received and interpreted. The change in mood or personality brought about by hallucinogenic drugs is more likely to be influenced by the set and setting of the drug use than the purely pharmacological action of the drugs themselves within the central nervous system.

4. Dual Action Drugs

The arrival of a new range of drugs which seem to have a dual action has further complicated the picture. These are the stimulant psychedelics, of which ecstasy is the most well known.
Ecstasy, or methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA) to give it its scientific name, belongs to a family of synthetic compounds related to the amphetamines. Because of this family link, ecstasy has stimulant properties like amphetamine, but it also has certain effects in common with LSD. It works on the brain in much the same way as LSD by the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin which has been reported by users as making them feel happier and increasing their feelings of empathy for others.

Drug Addict Symptoms

Drug addicts were once drug users, like many people. Like many young people, addicts frequently start experimenting with drugs in adolescence. Drug addicts, however, cross a boundary between drug use and drug addiction. Sometimes, this is because addicts find they need to escape from the painful circumstances of their lives. Other times, they find their drug use spiraled out of control without them even noticing. Either way, the lives of drug addicts are ruled by drug addict symptoms.

The most profound drug addict symptoms stem from the fact that addicts choose drug use over all else. This single fact explains a large part of the life of a drug addict. Drug addicts quit participating in sports, hobbies and interests in favour of spending all their time seeking and using drugs. No longer caring about friends or family, drug addicts typically only associate with others involved in drug use. Addicts may choose drug use over employment, school and other responsibilities.

Additional drug addict symptoms include:

  • Unexplained expenses, always requiring more money
  • Lying, secretive behaviour, hiding drug use
  • Risky behaviour putting the safety of drug addict and others in jeopardy
  • Continually consuming more of the drug, consuming multiple drugs, switching to "harder" drugs
  • Drug use required for everyday functioning
  • Drug use no longer makes the drug addict feel "good" it now only makes them feel "normal" and avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Knowledge that drug use is hurting yourself or others but you cannot or will not stop
  • Failed attempts at sobriety


Life of Drug Addicts

The life of drug addicts is governed by the drug addict's obsession to use drugs. This obsession often leads the addict to unemployment, poverty and homelessness. Once in this state, they often turn to crime to finance or obtain their drugs. Thanks to overdose and committed crimes, the life of a drug addict is often spent in and out of medical facilities and prisons. Drug addicts also tend to have other chronic health problems, like breathing problems and infections.

The life of a drug addict tends to spiral downward until the severe drug addict symptoms cause the addict to hit "rock bottom." Rock bottom is when the addict's life has gotten so bad, they don't feel it can get any worse. Often, it is only at this time that drug addicts seriously consider getting treatment for their drug addictions.


Signs of drug addiction include:

  • Secretive behavior, lying
  • Unexplained expenditures
  • Disciplinary action at work or school
  • Legal problems relating to drug use
  • Mood swings, depression, anger, aggression, violence
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent illness
  • Presence of drug paraphernalia
  • Using room deodorizers and lozenges to cover drug smells in the air and the breath
  • Choosing drug use over all else, giving up previously enjoyed activities
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, contracting a sexually-transmitted illness
  • Being around other drug users or trying to get others to use drugs


Drug Addiction Symptoms

Drug addiction symptoms, too, are individual depending on the type of drug and drug use method. Nasal, lung and chest problems are common addiction symptoms in those who snort or smoke drugs like cocaine or marijuana. Skin infections are common symptoms of drug addiction in those who inject drugs.

Because drug addiction is both a physical and psychological issue, both physical and psychological drug addiction symptoms can be seen .

Drug addiction symptoms include the following:

  • Unusual behavior
  • Change in responsiveness
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes to vital signs like heart rate, breathing and blood pressure
  • Confusion, sleepiness, coma
  • Frequent blackouts
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea
  • Skin that is cool and sweaty or hot and dry
  • Infertility, sexual dysfunction
  • Heart, lung and other organ damage


Psychological effects of drug addiction include:

  • Wild mood swings, depression, anxiety, paranoia, violence
  • Decrease in pleasure in everyday life
  • Complication of mental illness
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Psychological tolerance to the drug's effects creating a desire to do ever-increasing amounts of the drug
  • Desire to engage in risky behaviour

Physical effects of drug addiction include:

  • Contraction of HIV, hepatitis and other illnesses
  • Heart rate irregularities, heart attack
  • Respiratory problems such as lung cancer, emphysema and breathing problems
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Seizures, stroke, brain damage
  • Changes in appetite, body temperature and sleeping patterns