Drug Addiction Treatment & Detox - Rehab Guide

Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction

Drug abuse and addiction

Drug use has become more common in recent years, and addiction follows the trend.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, we can help you understand the illness and get help.

People surrounded by addictive drugs

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug use and addiction might affect the whole body, but they are issues that happen in the brain. Our brain is the control centre of your body, and drugs change how it works.

The reason people take drugs is for how it makes them feel. This varies from drug to drug. Some make us calm, others excited or euphoric. Drugs do this by affecting the reward centre of our brain.

Drugs and Your Brain

Normally, when we do something that makes us happy, satisfied or relaxed, the brain releases a chemical to give us that feeling. For example, exercising releases serotonin or hugging a loved one provides oxytocin which makes us feel good. Drugs do this without the need to do anything else.

The problem is when we take drugs very regularly, the brain and body know this isn’t right. The brain then dials down, producing these chemicals. This has several effects:

  1. We don’t get pleasure from normal things
  2. You need more and more of the drug to feel the same ‘high’
  3. Some chemicals such as Delta FosB reduce permanently, causing depression and anxiety

infographic of addiction cycle

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

  1. Can’t resist taking drugs
  2. Using despite negative consequences
  3. Increasing use
  4. Changes in behaviour even once drug-taking has stopped
  5. Relapse even when you don’t want to use drugs

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. It is often the case that for a recovering person to stay clean, they must continue to access treatment and support and continue in their personal development.

Signs and symptoms of recent drug use:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • A sense of euphoria or feeling “high”
  • A heightened sense of visual, auditory and taste perception
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of  coordination
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Anxiety or paranoid thinking
  • Exaggerated cravings

Long-term drug use:

Drug Withdrawal

Drug tolerance occurs through repeated exposure to certain drugs over a prolonged period. 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 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. The brain and body require the drug to function at some point. 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 to which the person has become addicted.

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

The Most 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 including prescription drugs are well known for their addictive properties. These highly addictive drugs can cause an individual to become ‘hooked’ or drug dependent within only a few weeks, in some cases, less.

At Rehab Guide, we can provide expert, comprehensive help for treatment for a wide range of drug addictions. Below is a list of the most addictive drugs.

Types of Addictive Drugs

Opiods

Opioids

Heroin, codeine, morphine, methadone & oxycodone

Any drug from the opium poppy plant is classed as an opioid. There are many kinds of drugs in this category, from prescription medications like codeine to addictive illegal substances such as heroin.

Opioids can reduce pain and give people euphoric feelings. It is highly addictive, and you can become addicted after a single use. These types of drugs are also very risky for overdoses.

Amphetamine Powdered

 Amphetamines

Methamphetamine, dextroamphetamine

Stimulant drugs, amphetamines are artificially made in a laboratory. In controlled doses, they are used to treat ADHD. Prescribed amphetamines are unlikely to cause addiction in those with ADHD, but larger illegal amounts are highly addictive.

The intense high from amphetamines such as meth can cause brain damage, addiction and psychosis.

magic mushrooms

Hallucinogens

Magic mushrooms, LSD, DMT.

Any drug that changes how you perceive the world around you is a hallucinogen. There are three kinds of this drug. Psychedelics are the best known. Examples include magic mushrooms, LSD and DMT. Dissociatives make people detached from reality and have an anaesthetic effect. Ketamine and PCP are types of dissociative and carry a high risk of addiction, and fatal overdoes. This is because they are severe CNS Depressants. Deleriants are the final kind and make people delusional. Users are confused, out of control and can cause heart problems and fever. These are not popular as recreational drugs as they are not pleasurable and are dangerous due to lack of control and physical symptoms.

crack cocaine

Cocaine

Cocaine powder, Crack cocaine.

A stimulant from the coca plant cocaine is usually taken in powder or smoked in rocks in the form of crack cocaine. Both cause euphoria, an increase in energy, wakefulness and sexual interest. Both are very addictive as they stimulate the pleasure centres of the brain. There is a risk of heart attack, anxiety, paranoia and psychosis from using cocaine.

cannabis edible foods

Cannabinoids

Cannabis is the most widely used recreational drug across the world. It can be consumed by smoking, eaten or drank in tea. The drug has several effects euphoria, relaxation and an altered state of mind and body. Harmful side-effects include anxiety, depression, paranoia and heart and breathing problems. It is more habit-forming than addictive but can worsen mental health issues that lead to addiction, such as depression and anxiety.

benzodiazepine pills

Benzodiazepines

Used both recreationally and medically, benzos are psychoactive depressants. They reduce the brain’s activity level and treat anxiety, depression and insomnia. However, they are addictive, so SSRI anti-depressants have largely replaced them in prescribed medicine. Withdrawal from benzos can be challenging, and misuse can lead to psychological problems, loss of concentration and reduced libido.

Risk Factors for 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 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 the 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.

addiction

Help for Drug Addiction

Quitting a drug addiction is one of the most challenging things a person can do. Addiction is not a curable condition, but it is treatable, and it is possible to get your old self back.

There are many misconceptions about drug addiction and how to recover from it.

  1. You choose to stay addicted. The need for the drug is nearly irresistible. In the end, most addicted people hate the drug they are dependent on.
  2. ‘Cold turkey’ is the only way. Drug detox can be dangerous. A medical detox under supervision in rehab is the safest method.
  3. Functioning addicts don’t need help. Even if someone seems to be managing, they risk their health, relationships and life by taking drugs.
  4. You can’t be addicted to prescription drugs. This is one of the fastest rising addiction problems in the UK. Look here for the signs of prescription drug addiction.

How Rehab Can Help

An inpatient rehab program is the safest and most effective way to stop taking drugs. In rehab, you will be protected from outside influences in a drug-free zone.

Medical Drug Detox

Cravings and withdrawal are the most common reasons for drug relapse. Medication will help manage these. Medical detox will be available, and the staff will care for you while you recover. With the added benefit that you don’t have to dread drug withdrawal if you have tried it before.

Addiction Therapy

The psychological part of addiction needs to be treated if long-term recovery is the goal. You may have started using drugs for lifestyle reasons. For example, your friends or workmates took them.

CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) will help you fix the behaviour patterns and habits that led you to drug addiction. Learning new patterns and coping techniques will allow you to protect yourself from relapse.

Many turn to drugs to self-medicate for mental health or chronic pain issues. These mental health concerns have to be dealt with before fully recovering. A counsellor and the option of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications will be available to help you in rehab.

Friends cycling in the countryside

Holistic Treatment

You might be thinking about aromatherapy and meditation, and these are certainly part of rehab programs but not the whole story. Holistic means treating the whole person, not just the addiction. Drug addiction can take over your life, and you need to be able to fill that gap when you stop.

As we mentioned above, taking drugs means we stop feeling pleasure and joy for normal things. Rediscovering true happiness free from drugs is one of the most rewarding and emotional parts of recovery.

Take your chance to recover from drug addiction today by taking the first step into rehab.

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/

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