Drug Detox

illicit drug detox

Drug addiction is a general term used to describe physical dependence on various drugs. It’s also called substance use disorder. Contrary to what many people believe, addiction is not a choice. It’s a mental health disorder that must be professionally treated. The first step is detox.

Often, people think of drug addiction as a problem that involves the use of illicit substances. But, people can become dependent on and addicted to legal substances, too.

One of the most commonly known and used drugs is alcohol. Other widely used drugs include heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and painkillers (prescription drugs).

No matter what kind of addiction a person may have, the effects are very serious. Substance use disorder affects people’s moods, social interactions, and relationships with loved ones. It also causes problems in emotional, physical, and mental health.

People who become dependent on any of these substances are at a risk for developing a long-lasting addiction problem. So, it’s important to seek immediate help if you or someone you know is struggling with drug use or abuse.

How Does Drug Addiction Develop?

Again, one of the most common misconceptions in regards to drug addiction is that people choose to abuse and become addicted to drugs. But, people rarely ever choose to develop an addiction problem.

Although initial substance use may be a choice, people who become addicted to alcohol or drugs don’t mean to do so. As the National Health Institute says, “Addiction is a chronic disease”. People who struggle with addiction are actually dealing with a mental disorder and a disease that is difficult to overcome.

Many people wonder how drug addictions develop. How and why do people become dependent on harmful and addictive drugs?

There are many different reasons why individuals depend on or are addicted to certain drugs. But, first, let’s discuss a few reasons why people use drugs in the first place.

For some, substance use begins as a result of peer influence or the desire to experiment. Sometimes, younger people may use an illicit drug in an attempt to “fit in”. Or, some people might begin using a drug out of curiosity, not thinking about the possibility of addiction.

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In other cases, people begin using prescription medications and painkillers in order to deal with chronic pain. Individuals who suffer from recurring pain may feel overwhelmed by it. So, in hopes that the discomfort will stop, they use strong pain relief meds.

When a person begins to use drugs, whether illicit or legal, they don’t usually expect to become dependent on those drugs. But, after repeated and continuous use, a person might develop an addiction problem.

The effects people experience as a result of drug use are often pleasurable at first. Euphoria, also known as “high”, is one of the most pleasurable effects of many drugs. For those who are using medication to treat chronic pain, the pain-blocking effects of the drugs are also pleasurable.

People tend to enjoy that feeling as it often causes them to feel happy or excited. But, eventually, the euphoria wears off and individuals may experience a “crash” in their emotional state.

So, in order to get back to that pleasurable state of being, individuals use more of their drug of choice. Then, the cycle of drug abuse begins, leading to the development of addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

The signs and symptoms of drug use will vary from case to case. It depends on the type of drug being used as well as the length of time a person has been using it. But, in many cases, the common signs or symptoms of drug abuse and addiction might include some of the following:

  • Poor decision-making
  • Loss of interest in certain activities
  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • Negative behavioral changes
  • Risky and harmful behaviors
  • Spending time with other users
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Impaired cognitive ability (memory problems, etc.)

Most of the time, addiction causes physical and mental changes in people’s lives. Some individuals may appear to have poor hygiene practices as substance use becomes their main concern.

Others may have physical signs of drug use like track marks, bloodshot eyes, tooth decay and discoloration, sunken or discolored skin, hair loss, and much more.

Many people who have become addicted to drugs may avoid spending time with family for fear of being confronted about their problem. Individuals who have an addiction tend to spend more time with other users. Addiction tends to destroy meaningful relationships and family ties, as well.

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Drug Use Withdrawal Symptoms

Those who are suffering from addiction may realize the extent of their problem and choose to move past this problem. But, when the body grows used to the effects of drugs, it goes into withdrawal if the person stops using those substances.

Symptoms of drug use withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and intense. Of course, the symptoms will vary depending on the type of drug. But, here are some of the main and common withdrawal symptoms that people may experience when ending drug use:

  • Nausea
  • Delirium
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Excessive sweating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Muscle pain and discomfort
  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sleep problems (excessive sleeping, insomnia, etc)

In some cases, withdrawal can become very intense, causing seizures, hallucinations, and more.

Unfortunately, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms often causes people to relapse. In an effort to relieve and escape from the symptoms, individuals may resort back to drug use.

But, this doesn’t have to be the case in your life. If you want to overcome drug addiction in your life, you can! A professional detox program can help you become and remain free from drug abuse.

Drug Detox and Addiction Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Addiction is serious. It affects the lives of people all over the world. Families have been torn apart by the effects of drug dependence and abuse. This problem has left people feeling hopeless and helpless.

But here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we work to provide help and hope to our patients. Through our detox and treatment programs, we help people to break free from the chains of addiction.

If you or someone you know needs help overcoming drug addiction, please reach out to us today and allow us to help provide hope for you and your loved ones! You can also reach us by dialing (636) 707-2097.

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Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.