Drugs: Substance Abuse and Addiction

March 23rd, 2011

If you are worried about either your own drugs/substance abuse or that of somebody close to you then please contact one of our addiction treatment consultants today for confidential, expert addictions advice.
Although drug addiction is a very serious illness it can be treated.  Not only has independent research proven that treatment of alcohol and drug addiction is as effective as treatment for other chronic illnesses, it also saves around $7 US Dollars for every 1 US Dollar spent!
There is a fine line between drugs/substance abuse and addiction, but once it is crossed there is no going back.  That might sound overly dramatic but research and experience has shown that even after significant periods of abstinence an alcoholic or drug addict is unable to moderate their substance intake.  Once they relapse by taking any drugs or alcohol at all, they are at a very high risk of repeating the same destructive pattern again.
This is reflected in the way that doctors and psychologists diagnose drugs/substance abuse.  After listing the various symptoms that define this disorder, the diagnostic manual stipulates that the patient may never have before been diagnosed as dependent on drugs (“drug dependence” is the clinical term for addiction).
The symptoms that doctors use to diagnose drugs/substance abuse generally involve problems that are either created or made worse through using the substance.
The first symptom is failing to meet responsibilities because of drugs/ substance abuse.  These responsibilities include a range of areas – work, school, and home.  Examples could include skipping work in order to use drugs, poor performance at work while under the influence, and not taking proper care of children.
Another symptom is using drugs in hazardous situations that place the person at risk.  This could include driving a car or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of drugs.  Some people have physical conditions (e.g.: a weak heart) that could be caused by or exacerbated through drugs / substance abuse.
There are many ways for a person to get into trouble with the law through using drugs and substance abuse.  If this happens more than once they meet the next diagnostic criteria for drugs/substance abuse.  Examples could include being arrested for possession of or dealing in drugs or getting arrested for driving while intoxicated.
The last potential symptom for drugs/substance abuse is having social problems as a result of drug use.  This can include having arguments with a spouse or friends, getting into physical fights, not being invited to social events due to inappropriate drug use, or even losing friends.
Now that we understand the symptoms for drugs/substance abuse let’s explore addiction.  Firstly we should note that once you’ve been diagnosed with addiction you can never “go back” to a diagnosis of substance abuse.  Even if you remain clean from drugs for a very long time you won’t be able to successfully moderate or control your using.
The two symptoms that differentiate substance dependence (the clinical term for addiction) from drugs/substance abuse are both physical in nature.  They are tolerance and the presence of withdrawal symptoms if the substance is discontinued. Tolerance refers to a need for greater doses in order to obtain the effect.  Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant physical consequences of the body requiring a certain level of drugs to be present.  If the person stops using drugs the body struggles to function normally until it is able to readjust itself.
If you are at your wits end and want to stop drugs/substance abuse before it spirals out of control please don’t delay in contacting one of our addiction treatment consultants for help.  Our intake coordinators can guide you in making an informed decision to choose the best rehab option.
Research by independent bodies has shown that being admitted to a treatment programme that matches your individual needs is a good way to improve your treatment outcome.

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