When the issue of drug and alcohol addiction is examined from a close perspective, a reality that becomes apparent is that it isn’t always a black-and-white subject filled with easy, one-word, multiple-choice answers.
The specific causes of a person’s addiction can often have many influences:
- genes and biological factors
- age and individual development
- peer pressure
- sexual abuse
The underlying reason for a person’s addiction to a drug might not always be apparent. And, finding the solution to an individual’s drug or alcohol addiction is likely to be equally complicated, especially if the person may require dual diagnosis treatment for both an addiction and other existing conditions. Recognizing the signs of addiction before attempting to help can often be an ideal initial step.
Understanding the Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Like many other kinds of illegal drugs, crystal meth provides users with an artificially constructed right mood. People were smoking, snorting, or shooting up crystal meth forget about grooming themselves, taking a shower on a daily basis, or taking care of their meth mouth; they simply want only to enjoy their exhilarating high. In many cases, meth users steal to support their habit. Their skin crawls, their overall state of their health goes downhill, and the drug becomes the most important thing in their life. What many meth users might not realize is that using the drug severely harms their mental health. Like meth mouth, ailments like loss of memory, severe depression, or psychosis aren’t uncommon among those who have abused the drug for a significant period.
Heroin and Ecstasy
In addition to needle marks, slurred speech and susceptibility to bacterial infections are both sign of heroin addiction. High school students who try the drug often ignore the fact that experiencing an overdose is a real possibility. Heroin addicts might spend the kind of money that an average person would save for necessities like food or bills on heroin instead. Or, like meth addicts, they might commit acts of theft to support their habit. Many heroin users find quitting to be tough.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant for addicts:
- muscle pain
- involuntary leg movements
- cold flashes
Ecstasy is not as addictive as heroin, but it is popular among those who have a tendency to frequent the party scene. Users usually experience strong feelings of euphoria that are accompanied by chills and sweats.
Cocaine and Crack
Like ecstasy, cocaine is often considered to be a party drug. Individuals who snort cocaine can expect to deal with some different health issues such as lung problems, strokes, or cardiovascular issues. A 2010 NIDA study showed that about 2.9% of 12th graders had abused one form of cocaine or another.
Crack is a form of cocaine that is smoked, and users deal with a variety of symptoms:
- an extreme amount of weight loss
- a declining physical appearance
- irregular patterns of sleep
- severe dental problems
- a sunken looking face
Cocaine addicts might like the feeling of elation that the drug provides them, but the possibility of death from overdose is always a reality that users of this stimulant have to face.
Alcohol is a drug that can be easily found in grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, and bars. If a person is either over the age of 21 or has a means to acquire alcohol in spite of being underage, then there usually isn’t much that stands in the way of them and their alcohol. For those who might be experiencing personal stress, alcohol is often an easy way to escape and enjoy a drug-induced good mood. Since alcohol is a legal drug, abusers often deny that they have a problem.
A problem drinker might be likely to sweat more than the average person, feel nausea, or experience cravings. If a person drinks regularly, then he or she might experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop. Another sure sign that a person has an alcohol problem are related legal troubles. Being arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or being detained for drunken and disorderly conduct are typically the kinds of legal problems that those with an alcohol problem face. In extreme cases, an individual with an alcohol addiction might be arrested for committing the same type of alcohol related offense multiple times.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drugs like Xanax, Valium, Oxycodone, and Klonopin are legal when the patient uses them that they are intended for. Around 52 million people over the age of 12 have abused legal drugs, and symptoms vary depending on the particular drug. But, like other forms of substance abuse, every aspect of a person’s life is influenced. Drug abusers usually miss commitments related to work or school, and they might resort to theft to support their habit. When individuals choose to purchase a prescription drug from a dealer instead of a licensed pharmacy, then they risk having to deal with significant legal problems if they are caught.
Many people might be likely to assume that an individual who has a drug or alcohol problem simply has a lack of moral principles. Individuals who are addicted to alcohol or drugs are often thought of as people who are either loser or as individuals who are stupid. Especially in the instance of prescription substance abuse, that often isn’t the case.
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