Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction and abuse have become more commonplace in today’s society, with more drugs easily accessible and available. Drugs can be accessed 24/7, and whether it be a door to door delivery or through an internet order, it now affects people from all classes of society and from all walks of life.

Rehab Guide is fully aware of the dangers and risks associated with substance abuse. As a leading authority on first-class addiction treatment in the UK, we have helped thousands of patients and their families to overcome this self-destructive and deadly illness.

This page is aimed at informing you of the facts of drug addiction, how to identify if you or someone you love is a sufferer and what steps to take to access the correct personalised addiction treatment so that a full recovery is possible.

If you have a drug problem, get free advice today on 02072052845

What is drug addiction?

Drug addiction is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. This is because numerous studies conducted on the brains of drug addicts have proven that drug use affects a) how the brain’s neurotransmitters and pathways communicate, b) the function of the brain’s pleasure/reward system and impulse control and, c) the natural organic production of chemicals that the brain releases to keep us happy and motivated. (1&2)

The condition is characterised by the following components, combined they make for a very deadly condition. These components can help you to identify if you or a family member are a sufferer:

  1. Compulsive drug-seeking and taking
  2. Continuation of drug use despite negative consequences
  3. Progression of drug use in either frequency, amounts or route of administration
  4. Long-lasting changes to the brain that affects the individual’s behaviour even once drug-taking has been ceased
  5. Relapse – Even when the individual affected has no plausible reason to return to drug use, and they are often compelled to do so.

Drug addiction, in terms of treatment, requires the same intensity that other diseases do.

For example, an individual with Type 1 diabetes, will require life long medicine to keep the symptoms of their disease at bay; the same applies to those that suffer from drug abuse.

The brain is affected by the disorder of addiction to such an extent that the sufferer will need to maintain their recovery on an ongoing basis, even if drugs become a distant memory. (1)

Drug addiction is often likened to other chronic life long diseases such as heart disease, Diabetes and Asthma. Drug addiction often referred to as a disease of the brain, carries a 40-60% relapse rate, a similar rate to other bodily organ diseases. (3)

When a person suffering from substance abuse relapses, this is a sign that their treatment needs to be reviewed and adjusted to prevent further relapse. Quite often it is the case that for a recovering drug addict to stay clean, they must continue to access treatment and support and continue in their personal development (3)

Source: NIDA / JAMA, 284:1689-1695, 2000.

Drug tolerance and dependence

Drug tolerance and drug dependence often go hand in hand. Because of this, the first step to recovery for most drug-addicted individuals is to undergo a drug detox to ensure that the substance or substances are safely and effectively removed.

Drug tolerance occurs through repeated exposure to a certain drug or drugs over a prolonged period. The same thing happens with alcohol. The person taking the drugs no longer gains the desired benefits and effects that they used to. Consequently, they have to either increase the amount of the drug that they take or change the route of administration, i.e. from smoking to injecting.

Tolerance is also progressive, and as the body and brain adjust to a new level of the substance, the individual will once again hit a plateau. This plateau can only be overcome by taking yet more drugs. In many cases of chronic addiction, this becomes a daily cycle of ensuring the body has enough of the substance to avoid acute drug withdrawal.

Drug dependence comes after drug tolerance. At some point, the brain and body require the drug just to function, let alone get high. Missing a dose or taking any less of the drug than the brain has become accustomed to results in drug withdrawal symptoms developing. These symptoms are only relieved by taking more of the drug that the person has become addicted to.

The only recommended way of breaking the relentless cycle of drug tolerance and dependence is to undergo a full medical drug detox.

The topmost addictive drugs

Certain drugs cause an individual to become addicted more easily than others. These drugs have powerful effects while working and cause withdrawal and strong drug cravings during the comedown period.

Certain drugs and this includes prescription drugs, are well known for their addictive properties. These highly addictive drugs can cause an individual to become ‘hooked’ or drug dependent within a matter of only a few weeks, in some cases, less.

The topmost addictive drugs that Rehab Guide commonly treat include:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines (diazepam, valium, temazepam, nitrazepam, etizolam etc.)
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Opiate based painkillers (morphine, codeine, oxycontin, oxycodone etc.)
  • Methadone (prescribed heroin substitute and painkiller)
  • Legal highs (synthetic cannabinoids, MCat, Mephedrone, Spice etc.)
  • Sleeping tablets (prescribed medications to relieve insomnia, zopiclone, zolpidem etc.)
  • Prescribed anti-seizure drugs (pregabalin, gabapentin, lorazepam etc.)
  • Chemsex drugs (ketamine, crystal meth, GHB, GBL)

Substance abuse of any of the above drugs requires a full medical alcohol/drug detox and rehabilitation programme to overcome.

Who’s is at risk of drug addiction

Science and research have shown that some individuals are more vulnerable to developing drug addiction than others. Although in reality, it can affect anyone.

Known risk factors that can cause drug addiction include:

  • Mental health illness Those that suffer from depression, PTSD, OCD, generalised anxiety disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other mental health illnesses are more prone to ‘self-medicating’ using prescription drugs, legal drugs and illicit drugs
  • Environment Those that have been raised in a dysfunctional family environment or exposed to alcohol and drugs from an early age are more likely to follow in the steps of their main caregivers
  • Teenagers – Teens that experiment with alcohol and drugs are more likely to develop an addiction as their brain is still maturing and developing. This makes their brain more vulnerable to chemical change
  • Genetics – Those that have a history of drug abuse, alcoholism and/or mental health illness in their family are genetically more predisposed to drug addiction and alcoholism (5)

A deadly disease, the facts and statistics

In 2018, England and Wales recorded the highest number of drug deaths since records first began in 1993, with a staggering 4,359 people dying from drug-related poisoning. This was also the highest annual increase of 16 per cent on the previous year’s statistics. The North of England once again showed the most predominant numbers of deaths per 1,000 population (6)

Opiates such as heroin and morphine are still the most common cause of drug misuse deaths, but deaths relating to cocaine use have doubled in England and Wales since 2015, with 637 deaths being recorded in 2018 (6)

In Scotland, the number of drug-related deaths continued to rise by a further 27% on the previous year. Scotland recorded 1187 deaths from drug poisoning in 2018. Once again, the highest number recorded for the country since records first began (7)

Greater Glasgow and Clyde suffered the highest rates of death by drugs per 1,000 population, with 0.23 being recorded. This was closely followed by Tayside, Ayrshire and Arran (7)

Anyone who takes drugs always thinks that overdose or poisoning won’t happen to them. That death affects those that are not careful, do not so their research or are just plain unlucky. The reality is that taking drugs today is now more dangerous than ever before with more deaths being recorded, confirming that this is the case. If you or a loved one suffer from a substance abuse, you must access immediate professional help before it is too late!

Rehab Guide provides confidential, free drug treatment assessments conducted by our telephone experts.

Contact us on 02072052845. We are waiting to take your call.

What to do if you or a family member suffer from drug addiction

If you or a family member suffer from an addiction to alcohol or drugs, life can seem pretty bleak and pointless. You may well have given up all hope of getting and staying clean. While drug addiction certainly is a very baffling condition. There is addiction treatment available that is proven to work.

Addiction is not a curable condition, but it is treatable, and once treated recovery can then be maintained. Accessing the correct addiction treatment in the first instance can save a lot of pain, money and heartache. This is where Rehab guide can help.

Rehab Guide provides professional inpatient detox, inpatient rehab, daycare and outpatient programmes all of the highest quality. We can also signpost you to your local drug and alcohol services where appropriate.

When conducting a telephone treatment assessment, our addiction treatment experts take into account more than just the addiction. We consider all factors relevant to the caller as an individual. We will always advise of a treatment plan that will provide the best long term outcome given an individual’s set of circumstances.

Rehab Guide is passionate about helping those that suffer from addiction to find recovery, whether that be from drugs, food, alcohol, sex or gambling. We will tailor our treatment package to ensure that you or your loved one have the best chance of making a full and lasting recovery.

If you have concerns over your own drug use or a family member, friend or partners, call us now and speak in confidence with one of our friendly addiction professionals.

Proven treatments for drug addiction

When it comes to treating drug addiction effectively, the correct bespoke treatment is a must. Drug abuse affects everyone differently. No two people are exactly the same. This should always be taken into consideration when formulating an effective treatment plan.

Certain evidence-based treatments have proven to be highly effective in the treatment of drug addiction and also in treating co-occurring mental health illnesses. All conditions presenting must be treated simultaneously and comprehensively to avoid relapse.

Treatments that we use throughout our CQC registered rehab centres are all proven to be effective in attaining and maintaining recovery. By undergoing one of our intensive treatment programmes, you will benefit from the following main components consisting of evidence-based treatments:

  • Full medical drug detox where a drug dependence is identified
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • One to one counselling sessions
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Fitness programme
  • Holistic treatment programme
  • Education on nutrition, self-care and life skills
  • Relapse prevention
  • Family therapy programme
  • Help and advice with further education and social housing
  • Aftercare programme

Evidence-based treatments that we use include:

  • CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • DBT – dialectical behavioural therapy
  • Integrative therapy – a combination of counselling and psychotherapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatric assessment
  • Person-centred therapy – designed to treat the whole person
  • Addiction treatment therapy
  • 12 step therapy
  • Motivational therapy
  • Holistic therapies designed to help ground the individual, build self-esteem and retrain the brain into a healthier way of thinking, include: mindfulness, meditation, yoga, tai chi, art, drama and many more

Drug addiction is but a symptom of a much more complex psychiatric condition. The sufferer is affected socially, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually.

To prevent drug relapse, no stone must be left unturned during the treatment process.

Free drug addiction treatment near you

If inpatient detox or drug rehab is not something you or your family can afford, then free treatment is available through your local drug and alcohol team. You can self refer and access their referral details from your GP or online.

If you suffer from a chronic drug problem, it is definitely worth reconsidering treatment at a rehab centre. Drug rehab may be more affordable than you think and is certainly considered the most effective life-saving intervention.

Free treatment tends to be offered at a low intensity depending on the local services that are available in your area. Most drug and alcohol treatment teams can only offer keywork and group support sessions a couple of days a week. In between these sessions can prove to be very challenging for the majority of those affected by addiction.

Further free help and support can be accessed through non-professional mutual aid groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. 12 Step fellowships have helped many to recover, but should not be considered a substitute for professional medical treatment and addiction counselling.

Private drug addiction treatment – Does it work?

Private drug addiction treatment provides the latest in cutting edge evidence-based treatments. Each treatment is delivered by qualified professionals and tailored to each patient’s individual treatment needs.

Our CQC registered drug treatment centres ensure that patient safety comes first at all times. We provide a safe, drug-free, nurturing environment that offers high levels of support around the clock.

Patients with confirmed drug dependence will, first of all, undergo a full medical drug detox assisted by light therapy. Once the detox has been safely and comfortably completed, intensive treatment is then applied to address the behaviours and thinking processes.

Drug rehab today

If you or a loved one are in immediate need of drug detox and/or rehab, call Rehab guide. In the majority of cases, we can start your treatment within as little as 24 hours from taking your call.

We will take care of all of the details, so you don’t have to worry. We can also arrange sober transportation to and from the rehab and ensure that a full aftercare plan is put in place for your return back home.

We take pride in supporting our patients from the very start of their recovery journey and throughout the entire treatment process. We also offer free professional telephone support 24/7 for family members and those that are close to our patients.

Start your recovery from drug addiction now by calling us on 02072052845




References and sources:


  1. Goldstein RZ, Volkow ND. Dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex in addiction: neuroimaging findings and clinical implications. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011;12(11):652-669. doi:10.1038/nrn3119
  2. Addiction, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2013).
  3. NIDA / JAMA, 284:1689-1695, 2000
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Mental and Substance Use Disorders. https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders. Published June 20, 2014. Accessed June 4, 2018.
  5. Kowalchuk A, Reed BC. Substance use disorders. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 50. drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preface
  6. Office for National Statistics England and Wales https://www.ons.gov.uk/
  7. NRScotland – PDF 2018 Drug related deaths


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