Drug Addiction In Ohio | What Is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is fully treatable. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with the disease, seek help at an inpatient or outpatient drug addiction treatment center.

What Is Drug Addiction? | Drugs Of Abuse, Effects, Risk Factors, & Treatment

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 10 percent of American adults will experience drug addiction at some point in their lives. Like other diseases, it can cause life-threatening complications when left untreated. 

Here’s what you should know about drug addiction and how to treat it

What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction (substance use disorder) is a disease that makes you feel unable to control your drug use. It occurs when repeated drug abuse disrupts your brain’s use of dopamine.

Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward. Your brain releases it during pleasurable activities like eating and having sex. 

Drugs of abuse cause an excess surge of dopamine. Over time, this excess dopamine causes your brain to produce less dopamine naturally. That means you will find it difficult to experience pleasure without drugs. This effect can quickly lead to addiction. 

Tolerance & Dependence

The most common symptoms of drug addiction are cravings, tolerance, and physical dependence. 

Tolerance means you need increasingly larger or more frequent amounts of a drug to feel the desired effects. Physical dependence means you experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and shaking, when you don’t use drugs. 

Addictive drugs can also hinder brain functions such as decision-making, judgment, and impulse control. These effects make you more likely to continue abusing drugs despite negative consequences. 

Drugs Of Abuse

People abuse and become addicted to many different types of drugs, including alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs.

Alcohol

Although alcohol is one of the most popular drugs in the world, it’s highly addictive when abused. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), alcohol abuse occurs when a woman has more than one drink per day and a man has more than two drinks per day. 

Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs (also called illicit drugs) are substances that are tightly regulated by the government because they pose a high risk of abuse and addiction. The most commonly abused illegal drugs include:

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are generally safe when used as prescribed. However, you may become addicted to a prescription drug if you use it in a manner not prescribed by your health care provider. For example, you might:

  • use it more often than prescribed
  • use higher doses than prescribed
  • mix it with other drugs
  • crush the pills and snort them

The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:

Effects Of Drug Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug addiction can increase your risk of various health problems, such as:

  • certain cancers
  • lung, liver, kidney, or heart disease
  • stroke
  • mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and hallucinations 
  • memory problems

The specific health problems you face depend on the drugs you use. For example, stimulants like meth and cocaine pose a high risk of heart attack and stroke, while hallucinogens like LSD often cause hallucinations. 

Overdose

In addition, abusing any drug can lead to overdose. A drug overdose is a medical emergency that can cause permanent brain damage or death when left untreated.

Personal Life

Along with causing physical and mental health problems, addiction can wreak havoc on your personal life. 

That’s because addiction makes it difficult to think of anything besides getting and using drugs. As a result, you may have trouble maintaining relationships with your friends and family members. 

You may also struggle to keep up with work, school, or other responsibilities. That’s why some people with addiction experience financial difficulties, job loss, and homelessness. 

Risk Factors

Anyone can struggle with drug addiction. However, certain factors increase your risk of developing the disease. These factors include:

Genetics

Some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction. In other words, if you have a family history of the disease, you’re more likely to develop it yourself. 

Peer Pressure

You face a higher risk of drug abuse and addiction if you surround yourself with people who abuse drugs. In most cases, young people are particularly vulnerable to this type of peer pressure. 

Poor Mental Health

Many people use drugs to self-medicate mental health disorders like depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. This type of drug abuse often leads to addiction. 

You may also develop addiction if you use drugs to ease stress, grief, and other emotional issues. 

Early Exposure To Drugs

The younger you are when you start using drugs, the more likely you are to develop addiction. That’s because your brain is more susceptible to the effects of drugs when it’s still developing.

Addiction Treatment Options

Addiction is fully treatable. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with the disease, seek help at an inpatient or outpatient drug addiction treatment center.

When you enter a treatment facility, a team of medical professionals will help you create a personalized treatment plan. Depending on your needs, this plan will include services such as:

  • medical detox, in which doctors will help you slowly and safely stop using drugs
  • cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a mental health professional will help you change unhealthy, drug-seeking behaviors 
  • medication-assisted treatment, in which doctors prescribe medications to treat symptoms of opioid and alcohol use disorder
  • psychiatry, in which doctors prescribe medications to help treat any co-occurring mental illnesses that contributed to your drug abuse
  • support groups, in which you can discuss your experiences with other people in recovery

To learn more about substance abuse and addiction treatment programs, please contact Ohio Recovery Center. We offer a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches to help you or your loved one stay drug-free.

Written by
Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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