Drug Addiction

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction or Drug abuse, most often referred to in the medical community as “substance abuse,” is a maladaptive habit of illegal medication or drug use, which often includes a certain level of dependency.

Most individuals who abuse substances remain unaware of any propensity toward addiction until a dependent condition has already set in – and by this time, it can be too late to easily stop without assistance.  Even when a person has the desire to quit, it can seem difficult or nearly impossible to do so alone.  Habitual use of drugs can cause powerful cravings that are tough to ignore if a systematic detoxification and support-driven recovery process are not in place.

Types of Drug Addiction

Illegal Drugs

Abuse of illegal drugs is the consumption of certain plant parts, liquids, pills, or chemicals for the purpose of becoming intoxicated (“getting high”).  Intake of certain substances for nonmedical reasons can also be considered a form of illegal drug abuse.

Such substances have been illegalized to prevent the progressive addiction, sickness and even death that can occur as a result.  Illegal drug abuse can eventually lead to the complete destruction of one’s health and well-being.

Medication without Prescription

Consumption of non-over-the-counter medication without a prescription is a type of drug abuse that is not only unlawful – it is also potentially very dangerous.  Prescriptions are given carefully by qualified medical professionals for specific purposes, and only when the physician is certain the substance will be effective at treating a condition and will not interfere with other conditions or other existing medications.

A substantial number of fatalities are reported worldwide each year due to overdose, misuse, or drug interactions associated with the intake of non-prescribed prescription grade medication.


While alcoholic beverages are considered a legal substance in the US for persons over the age of 21, it can also be very addicting, causing potential health problems and even death.  When consumed compulsively and without a sense of moderation, it can lead to a disease known as “alcoholism,” a condition which may be destructive to the health, interpersonal relationships and social status of any person who suffers from it.

Alcohol may be used in a legal – albeit inappropriate — manner, to “self-medicate” as an alternative to properly prescribed controlled substances.  Detoxification from excessive, long term alcohol abuse can actually involve medical problems as a side effect, and should only be done under the guidance and supervision of professionals.

What Causes Drug Abuse?


There is evidence to support the fact that some individuals are genetically predisposed toward addictive tendencies.  This may or may not be linked with ancestors who had prior bouts with drug abuse and addiction.  For those who are genetically prone, drug abuse may carry a greater risk of temptation and, once started, the habit and addiction may be more difficult to escape.

Environmental Factors

Social surroundings may influence the inclination to try, or continue to engage in, drug abuse.  Peer groups that encourage the consumption of substances are rated as a major determining factor in whether someone will be more susceptible to drug abuse.

The Influence of Addiction

Addiction itself can become a cause of drug abuse.  Subsequent to the early, initial repeated use of substances, an individual’s brain will begin to develop an apparent “need” – at times, a seemingly uncontrollable one — to experience the pleasurable sensations associated with the drug.

Unfortunately, the brain does not always inform users that continued drug abuse can result in damage to the body and brain itself, even death.  The human mind is often unaware of the negative effects to one’s life and well-being that drug dependency can produce.

What are the Symptoms of Drug Addiction?

If you yourself have consumed drugs that were not prescribed to you—or have taken more than the prescribed dosage—you are indeed engaging in drug abuse.  However, certain measurable and gradually-increasing effects can be identified as a result of your drug abuse or that of someone you know.

Symptoms of Drug Addiction in Yourself

You may notice you are suffering from issues pertaining to drug use and addiction when you:

  • Feel the need to use the drug on a regular basis
  • Have attempted to quit but have been unsuccessful in doing so
  • Go to great lengths to ensure you keep a supply of the substance on hand
  • Spend money on the drug rather than on bills, necessities, and childcare
  • Begin to do things outside your normal character to acquire the drug, such as theft

Symptoms of Drug Addiction in Someone You Know

Behaviors that are considered “symptoms” that an individual may be engaging in drug abuse include:  paranoia, extreme talkativeness or hyperactivity, loss of appetite, problems at work or school, variations in disposition and social activity, difficulty walking, unkempt appearance and unexplained loss of money.

Physical signs may be present that constitute indications of potential drug abuse, including:  sleeplessness, tremors and shaking, needle marks, skin discoloration, and rapid decline in physical health.  Some drugs – such as marijuana and alcohol – can leave behind a noticeable odor on breath and clothing, and may cause changes in the appearance of the user’s eyes, such as redness, blank stares and dilated pupils.

FAQ about Drug Addiction Residential Treatment Centers

a.  How long is residential treatment for drug addiction?

The length of stay at a residential treatment center for drug abuse will vary based on several factors, including:  the severity of the addiction, the type of drug(s) involved, the willingness of the substance user, the treatment programs selected, and the policies of the residential treatment center selected.

b.  How do residential treatment centers treat drug addiction?

A variety of rehabilitation solutions can assist an individual in recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, such as treatment programs, detoxification, withdrawal therapy, counseling sessions, individual therapy, group therapy, prescription medications, and family interventions.

c.  How to select the right residential treatment center for drug addiction

Selecting the ideal residential treatment center for drug abuse issues can be a matter of considering a few parameters.  One is the location of the treatment center.  It is best to choose a treatment center that is close enough to family and friends so that visits are easily accommodated during rehabilitation.  The treatment center should have ample treatment program options, staffing and a comforting and stable atmosphere.

d.  What are the costs of residential treatment centers for drug addiction?

The costs for inpatient stays at residential treatment centers for drug abuse can vary based on the programs selected, the speed of recovery of the individual, and any additional costs incurred such as medications.  Financing options may be available; inquire with any residential treatment centers you are considering for exact rate plans and financing options.

e.  How can a residential treatment center for drug addiction help?

The ultimate goal of a residential treatment center for drug abuse is to help the person recover from their addictions, dependencies and temptations associated with the use of drugs and alcohol.  One of the first steps is to help the individual to recognize the severity of the problem and the potential consequences that they may encounter if they do not recover from the condition of substance abuse.

In addition to detoxification and withdrawal management, residential treatment center programs are also geared towards holistic recovery of each client.  Identifying and attempting to eliminate other underlying issues that may be causing or fueling drug abuse is an integral part of the recovery process.  A residential treatment center will also provide solutions for post-treatment care and support, and advice on how to avoid relapse.