Drug addiction is a chronic disease of the mind affecting thousands of people across the United Kingdom. In 2016, drug overdoses reached record levels in the UK. Around 3500 people die each year due to drug poisoning. Drug addiction is not due to moral failings on behalf of the sufferer. Drug addiction is a mental illness often requiring professional treatment in order to overcome.
The symptoms of drug addiction
When a person suffers from drug addiction, he or she is often unable to stop using drugs despite a very strong conscious desire to do so. Common symptoms associated with and indicating drug addiction include:
- Your tolerance to taking drugs has risen. This means you must consume more drugs to experience the desired mental effects
- You experience a range of discomforting withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking drugs
- You continue to take drugs despite many harmful effects of continuing to do so
- Your drug use negatively impacts your occupation and your social relationships
- You lie to loved ones or close friends about your drug use
- Your behaviour is out of control. You may become easily irritated or even violent over the simplest of things
Drug addiction and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is internationally considered the official source for recognised mental health conditions. The DSM makes no mention of 'drug addiction'. Instead, the DSM refers to 'drug addiction' as 'drug dependence' or 'drug abuse'. The DMS categorises both 'drug dependence' and 'drug abuse' as forms of 'substance use disorders'.
The beginnings of drug addiction
The vast majority of people who experience drug addiction will being to experiment with drugs during their teenage years. Many of these people will initially experiment with softer drugs such as cannabis, cigarettes and alcohol. Fortunately, many people using drugs in their teens will not go on to develop a drug addiction. Instead, most people will merely find other activities and move on with their lives drug-free.
Drugs likely to result in an addiction
Some drugs are more addictive than others. For instance, whilst cannabis is potentially addictive for many people, cannabis is not nearly as addictive as other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and crystal meth. However, many legal drugs such as cigarettes and alcohol are both highly addictive if consumed in sufficient quantities over a sufficient duration. Alcohol is by far the most commonly consumed drug in the United Kingdom, and it’s believed around 20% of drinkers will experience problem drinking during their lifetime.
The causes of drug addiction
There is no ‘one cause’ of drug addiction. However, there does exist a number of factors that combine to give rise to a drug addiction. These factors include your genetic disposition, environment factors, mental health issues, the ease in which you may access addictive drugs and developmental factors. The existence of underlying mental health issues that contribute to the rise of addiction is often known as ‘dual diagnoses’.
Dual diagnosis and addiction
Since dual diagnosis affects over 90% of people experiencing addiction, we thought this concept deserved special attention in this discussion. Dual diagnosis refers to the situation where a person suffers from an addiction and a mental health problem simultaneously. Common mental health problems that commonly coexist with drug addiction include anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, depression and schizophrenia.
People suffering from one or more of these mental conditions are known to ‘self-medicate’ the negative symptoms caused by the condition by choosing to consume drugs. People suffering from anxiety are well-known to self-medicate using prescription drugs, cannabis or alcohol. People suffering from an eating disorder are known to abuse stimulants in order to speed up the weight loss process.
Seeking help for your drug addiction
If you are affected by the above issues, you should not delay in your decision to seek out professional help for your drug addiction and dually diagnosed mental health conditions. Drug addiction is considered to be a progressive disorder, so delaying the process of seeking out treatment will surely serve to compound your problems many times over. To discover how Cassiobury Court is able to help, get in touch today using the number listed at the top of this website. We offer drug rehab in North London.