It’s no secret that alcohol, drugs, and chemicals can affect the body and brain. The most significant of these consequences is developing a long-term dependence on these substances. This is what’s referred to as addiction.
Alcohol and drug addiction affect millions of people of all ages, socioeconomic capacities, and backgrounds. Even though drug addiction has been a significant issue in the nation, there’s still hope since it’s treatable. Keep reading to learn more about alcohol and drug addiction, how to recognize whether your loved one is struggling with addiction, and how to deal with it successfully.
Alcoholism is a severe problem in the US and worldwide. It leads to approximately 88,000 deaths in the US every year. This makes alcohol-related deaths the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Therefore, understanding the risks and treatment of alcohol addiction can significantly impact the control of these deaths. Here is a complete breakdown of substance abuse statistics you should know:
It’s crucial to learn about the definition of alcohol and drugs before getting into details about their addiction. Alcohol is an ingredient found in wine, spirits, and beer that causes drunkenness. It’s formed when yeast ferments sugars found in different foods like beer, grapes, barley, apple, and potatoes. It’s classified as a sedative-hypnotic drug, meaning that it acts as a depressant of the central nervous system when at high doses.
A drug is any substance other than food used to relieve, prevent, diagnose, or treat a particular condition or its symptoms. It affects how the brain or body works and can change your awareness, mood, thoughts, behavior, or feelings.
Drugs can either be prescription or recreational. When it comes to prescription drugs, this includes drugs prescribed to treat or diagnose particular illnesses but are misused due to their addictive nature.
Now that you know the definition of drugs and alcohol, it’s time to learn what drug and alcohol addiction mean. Addiction is a chronic relapsing dependence on a particular substance, alcohol, or drug. People with alcohol and drug addiction can pursue alcohol or drugs even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way.
Alcohol and drug addiction is not a problem of willpower or morality. It’s a powerful and complex condition. You wouldn’t expect anyone who has an addiction to alcohol or drug to quit, even if they want to. These substances change how the brain works, leading to physical and mental difficulty.
The brain works as a reward circuit. A proper rewarding system motivates a person to repeat the behavior you need to thrive, such as spending time with a loved one or eating. Drugs usually affect this reward circuit through surges of dopamine. These dopamine surges lead to unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs.
As a person continues to use the drug, the brain reduces cells’ ability in the reward circuit to adapt to this new behavior. As a result, the “high” that person felt is reduced compared to the first feeling after taking the drug. This effect is referred to as tolerance.
Therefore, you’ll find that person taking more drugs to achieve a similar high as the first instance. These people become less able to drive pleasure from other things they used to enjoy, such as social activities, food, or sex.
Even though many people know about these harmful outcomes, they continue taking them, which describes the drug’s addictive nature.
Drug addiction affects all aspects of a person’s life or socioeconomic status. Regardless of why a person starts taking drugs, whether prescription or recreational, they may develop tolerance even without realizing it.
When a person develops a full-blown dependence on drugs, it becomes tough to stop using them. As a result, these drugs can wreak havoc on your body and mind and turn out deadly.
It’s recommendable to learn about the signs of addiction to identify and help your loved one. As explained, anyone addicted to drugs can express both physical and behavioral signs. Let’s have a closer look at these two ways that you can identify whether your loved one has drug addiction:
Drug addiction can cause changes in physical appearance. Some of the signs of physical signs of drug addiction are as follows:
Please note these changes vary depending on the substance and method used to administer the drug. For instance, it’s common to find someone used to smoking with bloodshot or glazed eyes.
Drugs can significantly affect how a person behaves. Some impair their brain activity, especially how they think and focus. Some of the behavioral signs associated with drug addiction are as follows:
Drug and alcohol addiction have various effects on your life. It can affect your health and social relationships. Here is a breakdown of multiple ways drugs and alcohol can affect your life:
Drug abuse can lead to various short and long-term effects on your health. This varies depending on the type of drug you’re addicted to and how often you’re taking it. Some of the side effects of drug addiction on your health include:
Drug addiction can lead to multiple behavioral problems both in the short and long term. These effects include:
Addiction is not a condition that only affects one person. It can also affect your entire family. Anyone with addiction problems no longer prioritizes their family since this represents urges and cravings that become a person’s priority.
Therefore, you would likely find drug addicts lying to their families, especially when they realize that they have a dependence on drugs. Drug addicts can also take all their money and support their addiction.
Consequently, this erodes the trust between you and your family, leading to conflicts. Over time, your relationship will suffer due to multiple instances of lies and broken promises. Once trust is broken, it becomes challenging to rebuild it, which leads to separation.
Drug addiction can compel you to engage in criminal activities to sustain your dependence on the drug. For instance, you might engage in activities like assault, drug dealing, stealing, and pimping to raise money for your drugs. It can also lead to drug-related charges such as driving while under the influence.
Drug addiction can affect your finances in the following ways:
A lot of drug addicts abandon their hobbies to engage in drug-related activities. Some of the effects that it causes on their hobbies and spare time are as follows:
If you’re still in school, drug addiction can affect your schoolwork in different ways. Some of the ways it can affect your schoolwork are as follows:
Once you’ve assessed and confirmed that your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you should start planning how to help them. Discovering that your loved one is addicted to drugs can generate feelings of anger, fear, and shock, especially if it’s a teen or a child. These emotions can make your communication more challenging.
The best time to speak about drug addiction is when you’re both calm, sober, and free from any distractions. You should offer support without being judgmental. Here are a few tips that you can use when talking to your loved one about drug and alcohol addiction:
Don’t wait for your loved one to hit rock bottom to talk about their drug addiction. This includes a situation where they have lost their job or suffered public humiliation. The earlier you speak about their addiction, the easier it is to treat it.
Emphasize your concern about the well-being of those addicted to drugs or alcohol. You can also offer examples of drug-related behaviors that you’re particularly concerned about.
A single conversation cannot fix your loved one’s drug problem. You will have to hold several conversations to oblige to your request. It will take several conversations to acknowledge that they have a problem, which is their first recovery step.
You should provide information on how your loved one can address their drug problem. This includes who they can call, drug treatment programs they can join, or group meetings they can join.
Even when you disagree with that person, take time to listen to their opinion without arguing or contradicting them.
Again, there’s no one-fit solution to overcoming drug addiction. However, letting your loved ones assume responsibility for their behavior is a crucial step in their recovery. Here are a few tips you can use while supporting them during their recovery:
Everyone has a different experience when it comes to recovering from drug addiction. To some, it represents total abstinence, while to others, it refers to cutting back on some of the drugs they’re using. Therefore, the best way to avoid disappointments is by adjusting your expectations as long it helps your loved one find stability in their life.
The more support someone addicted to drugs gets, the higher the chance of success. You can offer to call a helpline or accompany them to a doctor’s appointment, peer support group, or counseling, as long it shows that you care about them.
Your loved one might be free from drug addiction, but the issues or triggers that led to their situation may still exist. Therefore, there are chances of relapse when these factors come into play. The best way to avoid this is by helping them tackle their addiction and addressing co-occurring issues associated with their drug addiction.
You cannot manage to help your loved one recover from drug abuse or addiction alone. Therefore, involving a professional service increases your chances of success. Modern drug recovery services have adopted the use of teletherapy and telepsychiatry which can help your loved one recover from drug addiction without enrolling in any facility.
One of the ways you can help your loved one deal with their addiction is by participating in the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). This week-long health observance inspires dialogue about drug use and addiction among the youth. It also provides opportunities to bring student educators, scientists, healthcare providers, and community partners to raise awareness about substance use and misuse.
Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) launched this program in 2010 to stimulate drug awareness among the youth to learn more about drug abuse and addiction. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism became a partner to this initiative in 2016, adding alcohol as a topic of discussion during this week.
Planning for the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week involves several steps outlined by this program. Here is a step-by-step process you can use:
Your team should include a mix of adults and teen organizers. Involve adults with an interest in educating teens about drug use and prevention. You can also partner with local businesses, organizations, and schools to strengthen your event.
Please note you can only register and plan for an NDAWF event if you’re 18 years or older.
While planning your event, you should choose a topic location, get permits to hold the event, and determine which activities work best for your audience.
While choosing your topic, you can choose to address a specific drug, specific population, or topic. When picking a location, look for a place such as a school or community recreational center.
Finally, you should choose activities that can work best for the activity. The NIDA Scientists Virtual Q&A Teachers Guide can be a suitable source for great activities you can consider.
Registering your event with NDAFW will help you in the following ways:
All NDAFW events should use science-based information to ensure that participants get proper drug use and addiction facts. You can use at least the following resources:
Use the NDAFW’s Promote and Enhance your Event section to reach the widest possible audience.
If your loved one is struggling with drug addiction, there’s no better way to help them than using a professional service. Your intervention is crucial in their recovery, but there are limitations in allocating time to help them.
At Restore Detox Center, we can help you or your loved one recover from drug addiction the right way. We offer evidence-based treatment to anyone who wants to recover from addiction. Contact us today or visit our rehab at San Diego, CA and let’s start your journey or your loved one’s process of recovering from drug addiction.