When Does Drug Abuse Start?
There's a fine line between drug abuse and drug addiction. Some people may abuse drugs during periods of high stress in their lives and then cease drug use when life evens back out. Others may use drugs for recreational or relaxation purposes. It's an invisible line that gets crossed when drug abuse becomes drug addiction. When an individual requires the drug on a daily basis and experiences physical and/or psychological withdrawal when the drug is removed, then that person is experiencing drug addiction.
Many people start off merely experimenting with drugs, especially in the teen years. There's a strong need to belong and peer influence all too often can convince someone to drink or use drugs all in the name of “fun”. Oftentimes friends and family have no idea that alcohol or drug use is occurring until it begins to cross the line into drug abuse. It can be difficult to pinpoint when recreational drug use turns into drug abuse. The individual engaging in drug abuse may start using drugs alone more instead of socially, and become more secretive. It's often difficult to pinpoint that recreational drug use turned into drug abuse and when drug abuse turned into addiction.
Drug abuse can also be a result of self-medicating. Trading medications with others and enjoying the effect generally leads to a desire for more. Drug abuse is common with opiate-based prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin or Codeine. People who may have been prescribed prescription medication for an injury or surgery may find themselves taking more than is needed and then try to get a refill even if their pain is gone. Trying to self-medicate in the presence of a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, is very common and can quickly lead to drug abuse and then drug addiction. This is why it's important that a drug rehab center has the appropriate professionals to diagnose whether there are existing mood disorders so they can be treated along with the drug addiction. Otherwise, the individual may leave the facility without correcting the underlying problem and return to drug abuse for mood regulation.
When Drug Abuse Becomes Drug Addiction
The general consensus for when drug abuse becomes drug addiction is when an individual simply can no longer function without the drug and life has become unmanageable because of it. Drug abuse may lead to more risky behaviors that have a potential for self-harm (i.e., unprotected sex, hanging out with unsavory companions) but again, the line crossed into drug addiction is not always so clearly defined. When these behaviors become more overt with an overall lack of concern for one's own well-being in order to get a “fix”, it can be said that a person has a drug addiction. Sharing needles, engaging in illegal activities, driving under the influence, missing work or school, neglecting family, normal life responsibilities or one's own nutrition are all very clear signs that one has slid into drug addiction. If your family, friends or employer has expressed concern to you about your appearance or behavior, then it's time to get help. Quite often others can see what we cannot.
Drug Abuse: Just the Facts
A drug is a drug. Many people believe that marijuana is harmless and this has been underscored by the regulation of medicinal marijuana. Others believe that if it's prescribed by a physician, then it must be okay. Still more prevalent is the idea that if you try a drug just once, you won't get hooked. If a drug is potent enough and the effect is pleasurable enough, you can get hooked instantly. There are numerous former methamphetamine addicts who will attest that this was their experience. There are also other variables to consider when trying a drug for the first time. The potency of the drug and the delivery system can lead to instant heart failure, seizure and even death. This often happens when experimentation includes a combination of drugs.
Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding that people have about drug abuse and addiction is that they can quit on will power alone. Drug abuse and drug addiction goes far beyond the realm of mere will power. Once an individual has become psychologically and physically dependent upon a drug, it can be nearly impossible to quit on your own. This is why professional help is needed to intervene. Immediate cessation of a drug for someone who is addicted can also lead to seizures, convulsions or death. Professionals can help ease someone off drugs and into a new life of health and well-being.
Getting Professional help for Drug Abuse
If you are concerned that your drug abuse is sliding into drug addiction, SouthCoast Recovery can help. As they say, you don't have to ride the elevator all the way to the bottom. SouthCoast Recovery also has interventionist professionals if you are concerned for a loved one's drug abuse. Our professionals have over 100 years combined experience treating alcohol and drug addiction, so even if you're not sure about your drug use they can help. Give the professionals a call at SouthCoast Recovery – there's no obligation and you may get the answer as to whether your drug use is drug abuse, or drug addiction. If you're concerned enough to make the call, it's likely you already have your answer.
Release yourself from drug abuse and get the start you need to restore your life before it's too late. There could be underlying emotional mood disorders that are contributing to your drug abuse and if so, you will likely continue to use until those disorders are addressed. We offer the finest clinical and holistic therapy within a 12-step model. Our drug treatment is comprehensive, affordable and effective. If you or a loved one needs help for drug abuse,
Call us at 1-866-847-4506 – professional assistance is available 24/7.