Drugs and More: A Guide to Addictions
Last Edited: October 9th, 2012

Addiction comes in various forms and is a big problem in the United States. It is estimated that American’s consume more than 60 percent of illegal drugs throughout the world even though America is only 5 percent of the world’s population. Around 95 percent of addicts left untreated will die due to their addiction. The good news is that addictions can be recognized and overcome. Addicts who complete recovery programs can succeed in staying clean and sober. The key is to pay attention and recognize the signs. If you suspect someone you know has an addiction, you should encourage them to seek the professional help they need.

What is an Addiction?

Addiction is a disease. Although many people view addiction as a lack of morals or as a character flaw, it is a chronic sickness like hypertension or diabetes. Many research studies have shown that this is not true and there may not be a lot of sympathy from the public for those who have addictions, whether it is prescription drugs, alcohol, illegal drugs, nicotine, gambling, or a food addiction, when a person is addicted, they have a brain disease. Addiction shows no favoritism and it can affect people of any age from adolescents to adults.

Recognizing an Addiction

Although there are things to look for in order to recognize whether or not a person is suffering from addiction, the signs cannot diagnose. Does the person constantly show up late for dates or functions? Have they stopped following-up with their commitments? Do they seem to be ill more than usual? Are they having more work related problems than usual? Do they appear to be withdrawing from those they are close to? Have their schedules become inconsistent or do they have unexplained absences? Are they highly involved with new friends but have you yet to meet them? Are they having money issues? Are they up later at night, sleeping later in the day? Do they seem to have problems “getting it together?” Have they become secretive about things in their life? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it could signal that the person is suffering from an addiction.

Most Common Addictions

There are many different addictions but this section will only go over the most common. Alcohol addiction has been around since the first alcoholic drink was created. This substance acts on pleasure centers in the brain and a person experiences serenity and calmness along with relaxing of bodily muscles. Like alcohol, nicotine is highly addictive. The smoke is taken to the lungs and enters the bloodstream. Prescription drugs can induce sedation and hallucinations when consumed. There are addictions to illegal drugs as well such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, to name a few. Some people may not drink alcohol or take drugs but instead spend all of their money on gambling. The thrill of winning can cause them to spend every last dime they have.

Recovering From Addiction

Recovering from addiction is not always easy but it can be done. The first step to recovery is to admit that there is a problem and commit to making the necessary changes. Research the many available options for recovery such as in-house treatment centers. An addict should also seek out the many support options which can be from family, friends, or even support groups both online and off. Spend time learning healthier ways to cope with life stresses instead of turning to the addiction of choice. Keep the things that trigger your cravings in mind and stay away from those things. For instance, a recovering alcoholic should steer clear of bars, recovering drug addicts should stay away from the crowd associated with those behaviors. During the recovery process, be sure to work on building a meaningful, addiction free life and should a relapse occur, do not let it get you down. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue moving forward in a better, addiction-free life.

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