Drug addiction is a disease, but it is not a crime. A drug addict can be characterised by drug-seeking and drug-use patterns that are compulsive, controlling, all-consuming and destructive. Drug-related behaviour affects the mental, physical and often financial condition of the individual(s) involved, while also having damaging effects on friendships, families and communities.
Addicts aren’t just born that way. Certain situations, environments and social circumstances can bring an individual face-to-face for the first time with the drug that may eventually destroy their life. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, done impulsively and in the moment, without any idea of what may become.
There are a wide variety of addictive substances that exist, but the most common types are classified under six main categories: alcohol, benzodiazepines, illicit drugs, opiates, sleeping pills and stimulants.
Alcohol, often unknown to actually be a drug, alcohol addiction can often start with general alcohol abuse that becomes unmanageable over time if not addressed. Like many other drugs, addicts can build up a dependence or tolerance to alcohol, making it hard to break the cycle.
Benzodiazepines include pharmaceutical drugs used to treat a wide array of mental disorders, including severe anxiety and panic attacks. People can build up a tolerance to these medications if they are consumed for an extended period of time, which can lead to dependency.
Illicit drugs include powerfully addictive and illegal substances such as heroin and meth. Even just a single use of some of these substances can spawn devastating patterns of abuse. Common types of illicit drugs include: Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Ecstasy, Hallucinogens, Heroin, Inhalants, Ketamine (Date Rape Drug), Marijuana, Meth and Synthetic Marijuana.
Sleeping pills fall under a category of prescription medications known as sedative-hypnotics. Many individuals assume they cannot develop a sleeping pill addiction; however, becoming addicted is easier than most may think. A dependency on sleeping pills often begins forming when a person increases their prescribed dose without consulting their physician first.
Prescription stimulants include amphetamines and methylphenidates. Typically, stimulants are used to treat mental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They are generally used to enhance performance, rather than to achieve a high. Stimulants work by activating the central nervous system, inciting feelings of excitement and increasing physical and cognitive function.
How Does Addiction Unfold – and Who’s at Risk?
Addiction causes structural changes in the brain that distort thinking and perception, specifically in areas related to behavioural control, judgment, decision-making, learning, and memory. Drug addicts suffer enormously negative life consequences as a result of their compulsive and uncontrolled drug use, but that doesn’t prevent them from returning to drugs again and again.
Addiction experts believe drug addiction emerges from an interplay of genetic and environmental factors, although one factor or the other may be strong enough to make a person vulnerable to addiction in some instances. It is generally believed that people with mental health issues turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, although excessive drug consumption may play a role in the onset of conditions like depression or anxiety disorders in some cases.
If you can identify any 6 out of the 11 primary symptoms of drug abuse listed below, within your own behaviour or that of someone close to you, please make note of these as they might indicate the need for professional and medical intervention:
Using drugs compulsively, for longer periods or in larger amounts than originally intended
Multiple failures to stop or reduce drug use
Spending significant time finding drugs, using them, and/or recovering from their effects
Physical and psychological cravings so powerful they become an obsession
Continued consumption of drugs despite associated difficulties in meeting work, school, financial, or family/personal obligations
Substance abuse that continues even though it causes painful interpersonal conflicts
Neglect of meaningful social and/or recreational activities because of the drug use
Frequent and excessive use of drugs in potentially hazardous situations, or hazardous behavioural traceable to drug abuse
Continued use of drugs despite their role in exacerbating other physical or psychological health problems
Progressive build-up of drug tolerance, which means users must consume more drugs to experience the same effects
Powerful, painful, debilitating, and dangerous withdrawal symptoms that develop within a few hours of an attempt to stop using a particular drug
Rehabilitation – Are You in or Are You Out?
Sober Living Housing is Melbourne’s most innovative and resourceful drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility. The specialist team of trained physical, psychological and behavioural therapists strive to provide both inpatient and outpatient treatment and assistance for those experiencing drug addiction and also their families who are involved in the journey. Intensive Inpatient, Sober Living, Life Skills, Family Sessions, Yoga and Outpatient are all rehab services offered through the Sober Living Housing facility.
Rehab programs differ for each individual according to the nature of their addiction. Drug addiction is a particularly complex and challenging area of rehabilitation. Research sourced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that addicted individuals would need at least 3 months in residential treatment combined with transitional living, to give the best possibility of reaching full recovery.
Through two revised and restructured drug rehab programs, Sober Living Housing can offer patients:
Intensive Inpatient Program
An essential and expansive recovery plan for patients battling a severe drug addiction. Based on the evaluated work of Dr Patrick Carnes and Dr Kevin McCauley, the program is designed to promote long term recovery for high-risk clients. The structured recovery program offers the following components: drug abuse treatment, process groups, family groups, family workshops and consultations, counselling with Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric review when required and immersion into long-term recovery through the 12-Step Program.
Sober Living Rehab
An expansive and open-ended rehab plan that can start with detoxification, the intensive inpatient program or can follow traditional sober living housing programs found overseas. Rehabilitation Housing provides a foundation for clients to build a solid support group for themselves and healthy safe relationships with their peers whilst working on rebuilding relationships with family members if required. Drug counselling, drug treatment services, life skills and yoga therapy are all offered as part of the sober living rehab plan.
Drug addiction can’t be cured overnight. Recovery is a long process, and those who attempt to overcome their drug problems must be prepared for a challenging struggle – but a struggle that doesn’t have to be faced alone. Entering a rehabilitation program specifically designed for drug abuse treatment will be the best way to start fighting back against your addiction demons.