Drug addiction – everything you need to know

Drug addiction is something that most people hardly think about until they are either affected or someone close to them is. It is a rarely spoken about topic and some communities view it as a taboo. The biggest challenge is that drug addiction is a problem that can affect anyone. Therefore, it’s important to know more about it. When you are well-informed, you will not only be able to protect yourself and your loved ones but you will also know how an addicted person can be assisted.

What is drug addiction?

Drug addiction is also known as substance use disorder. The affected person is unable to control the use of both legal and illegal drugs. That’s because the drug affects a person’s brain and behaviour. There are so many drugs which can lead to drug addiction. Some include nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, bhang etc. Also, long use of certain medication can lead to addiction whereby a person is unable to lead a normal life without using them.

When one is addicted to drugs, it becomes extremely hard to discontinue using the drugs because the willingness to stop is not enough. In fact, when one reaches to that level, attempts to stop may lead to intense cravings referred to as withdrawal symptoms and one may feel terribly ill. That’s why addicted people continue to use the drugs despite the harm they are causing to their bodies.

There are so many ways you can get hooked up to drug addiction. Some begin with experimental use at social activities. The usage becomes more frequent and within no time they become addicted. To others, addiction can result from exposure to prescribed medications or receiving medication from other people who have been prescribed the medication.

Symptoms of drug addiction

Drug addiction can present it in different behaviours. Here are some of the signs.

Inability to stop usage

If you have been using a certain drug and now you feel it is time to stop but the body keeps wanting more, you could be addicted to the drug. In other words, if you are dependent on drugs such as cocaine to feel normal and when you try to stop you experience withdrawal symptoms, then you are already addicted to that drug.

Continuous usage despite the health risk

If you already know what you are using is affecting your health but can’t just stop, it’s because you are addicted to whatever you are using. For instance, a smoker may be unable to discontinue smoking even after being diagnosed with heart or lung disease.

Increasing dosage

If you have continued to increase the dosage of the drug or medication you are taking to feel the effect, you are slowly but surely becoming addicted to that drug. This is a very common sign and most addicts will attest to this.


Someone who is addicted to a substance will go nuts if they can’t get it whenever they need it. The person experiences a strange feeling when the drug wears off from the body. They may experience headaches, tiredness, stomach upsets and in severe cases run a fever. That’s why such people spend most of their time and money acquiring the drug because they feel like their life depends on the drug. Some will even struggle to find other ways they can use it just to get the effect.


A person with a drug addiction can engage in risky behaviours such as stealing, trading sex or trading drug just to get the money they need to buy the drug. Furthermore, while under the influence the person may engage in fetal behaviours like violence or fast driving.

Causes of drug addiction

The specific causes of drug addiction are still unknown. However, psychological, environmental and genetic factors are thought to be the major contributing factors. Hence, drug addiction in any given factor is likely caused by multiple factors rather than a single cause.

Genetic causes

Genetics may have a significant role to play because drug addiction tends to run in families. That explains why you could end up being addicted to a certain drug you were using with some friends who never got addicted. However, scientists have not been able to pinpoint all the genes involved because addiction seems to involve multiple gene sequences.

Psychological causes

Many people believe that psychological factors are largely to blame when it comes to drug addiction especially to young people. Examples of psychological causes that lead to drug abuse and eventually addiction may include chaos at home, neglect, physical or sexual abuse. All of these can lead to psychological stress. People try to treat stress with the use of drugs to feel good and forget about their troubles.

Environmental causes

The environment surrounding you can be the cause of your drug addiction woes. In environments where drug abuse is seen like a normal thing is very common with drug addiction. No wonder children who have been raised in homes with drug addicts end up to become addicts themselves. Teenagehood is the most prone stage of drug abuse in a person’s life. If teenagers are not guided, they are likely to experiment with the use of drugs and this can lead to substance abuse. In most cases, drug experimentation without parental oversight leads to drug abuse.

In addition to the above, some addicts have also identified ignorance as a cause of drug addiction where they used a drug without knowing it was addictive. Others have been addicted to using medications to relieve pain or manage a condition.

Available support for addicts

If you are already dealing with drug addiction, all hope is not lost. While the journey is hard if you are determined you can overcome addiction. If you want to overcome addiction, begin by admitting you are addicted and you need help to stop using the substance you are abusing. Once you have done that, seek help at the right places such as rehabilitation centres, addiction treatment centres and support groups near you. You also need to change some of your old friends and stop going to places you know might trigger the urge. If you are focused, then nothing can stop you from recovering from drug addiction.

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