Symptoms and Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Addiction comes in several forms. Drug addiction, alcohol addiction and addiction to prescription pain killers can all have devastating effects on individuals, families and society. Each type of addiction requires treatment. For drug and alcohol addiction this usually means time spent in a rehab facility. Lengths of treatment as well as the different types of therapy offered depend on the individual. Substance addiction programs typically begin with a period of medically supervised detox followed by the diagnosis of any underlying mental illness. Treatment programs also include individual counseling, group counseling, family therapy and support groups. No matter the type of addiction, the most important step is realizing there is a problem and asking for help.
Drug addiction usually begins with drug experimentation and can start as early as the teen years. Addiction to illegal drugs like cocaine and opiates can result in painful and life-threatening side effects when the drugs are withdrawn. These drugs work in the brain to produce feelings of euphoria and soon it takes more of the drug to achieve the same results. This can lead to overdose and in some cases, death. Using drugs may seem like a good idea at the time, but any level of drug use can lead to a dangerous addiction. Recognizing the symptoms of drug addiction is one of the first steps in getting help. If you think you or a loved one may be addicted to drugs, look for these symptoms:
- Using the drug daily or several times a day
- Unable to stop using the drug
- Maintaining a supply of the drug
- Spending money you don’t have on the drug
- Engaging in illegal behaviors, like stealing, to get the drug
- Using the drug to deal with your problems
Even though in the United States it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, alcohol addiction can happen to anyone at any age. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 17.6 million adults in the United States are alcoholics or have an alcohol problem. The characteristics of the disease of alcoholism include:
- An uncontrollable craving to drink
- Inability to stop drinking after starting
- Withdrawal symptoms, like nausea and shakiness, when alcohol is withheld
- Needing more alcohol to get the same result
Alcoholism also increases the risks of certain cancers, liver damage, birth defects and the risk of death by auto accidents.
Prescription Drug Addiction
Addiction to prescription pain killers is the second most common type of addiction in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 20 percent of the American population has used prescription drugs for other than medical reasons. Prescription drugs rank second only to marijuana use as the most common type of abused drug. Prescription pain killers in the narcotic family can produce dependence after only a few uses. The easiest way to tell if an addiction to prescription pain killers is developing is the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld. These withdrawal symptoms include:
Help for Addiction
If you or a loved one suffers from an addiction, there is help available. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step. Reaching out to a trusted family member, friend or a drug help-line can start you on your journey to a drug-free life. Help-line counselors can help you understand your insurance coverage and answer questions about drug and alcohol treatment programs. The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Contact us at our help-line today.