Drug Addiction

A disease that’s classified by mental and physical dependence to a specific substance

With the explosion of the opioid epidemic, more Americans are becoming aware of the dangers of drug addiction than ever before, but the problem has been prolific for decades. From the experimentation of the Beat Generation to the psychedelics of the 1960s, cocaine in the power-driven 1980s, and grunge’s heroin-plagued ’90s, substance abuse always has a hold on those looking to self-medicate.

At its scientific core, drug addiction is a disease that’s classified by mental and physical dependence to a specific substance and usually requires professional treatment, yet many who are addicted attempt to battle their issues on their own. For those brave enough to ask for help, there is a path to recovery.

A Popularity Contest Where No One Wins

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, synthetic opioids surpassed prescription opioids in 2016 as the most common drug involved in overdose deaths in the United States. Different drugs seem to go in and out of fashion, but there are always plenty to choose from for those looking for an escape.

Some of the most popular drugs today include:

  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Klonopin
  • Prescription opioids
  • Xanax
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Opiates
  • Meth
  • Marijuana

Startling Substance Abuse Stats

Types of drugsOver 130 people died daily from opioid overdose from 2016 to 2017, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. During that same period, more than 11 million people abused prescription opioids, 2 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time, and 886,000 people used heroin, per that same study. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that heroin is on the rise among most age groups and all income levels. Around 494,000 people in the United States admitted to using heroin within a year of the 2017 survey at a rate of 0.2 per every 100 people.

While opioid abuse remains strong and heroin is making a return, meth still plagues our streets, too. The latest stats from the United States Customs and Border Protection reveal that the amount of meth seized has tripled in the last five years. In the 2019 fiscal year, there were a whopping 61,989 meth seizures. Meth is also being used with opioids on the streets at an alarming rate. In 2017, 50% of overdose deaths in the methamphetamine category also involved an opioid, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

So, with so many types of drug use and abuse on the rise in the US, how can we protect those we love? It starts with education. Learning about the problem is the first step. Knowing how to spot addiction warning signs is just as critical.

Common Symptoms of Drug Addiction

  • Recurring problems with work and relationships
  • Drug-related encounters with the police
  • Attempting to acquire prescription drugs
  • Poor decision-making and impulsive behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss
  • Preoccupation with seeking out more drugs
  • Health issues such as poor hygiene and weakened immune system
  • Sweating, tremors, or seizures

Treatment for Drug Addiction and Co-occurring Issues

The good news is recovery from drug addiction is 100% possible. Medical detox may be necessary for some, but this is only the beginning of the recovery journey. Behind most addictions, there are deeper issues that need to be addressed. They may include previous traumas, psychological disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar, other dual diagnoses, and current triggers and stresses.

Many believe that inpatient programs are their only option for drug addiction, but really the truth is there are many different forms of recovery programs. Treatment isn’t one size fits all, there are a variety of options based on the severity of an individual’s addiction and their unique treatment needs. Some programs are residential, meaning that the patient lives at the facility during their stay, but for some people going away for 30 days or more just isn’t possible. Others don’t require that level of care. In these cases, an outpatient program may be more suited to their needs.

Those who attend our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) can choose between day or evening programs based on their schedule, giving patients the flexibility to get treatment while still working full-time, attending school, and meeting family and personal obligations. Both options include group and individual therapy sessions, holistic offerings like trauma-sensitive yoga and tai chi as well as access to our state-of-the-art Brain Center. Our program also includes support for family and loved ones to help them learn how to support without enabling and to practice healthy self-care. While outpatient programs certainly aren’t for everyone, many benefit from this format and find lasting healing for their drug addiction issues. A healthier and more joyous life awaits on the path to recovery.

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