Drug-related deaths are so prevalent in the U.S. that they lowered overall life expectancy for the last five years! Learn more about what drug addiction is and ask our doctors questions on the drug addiction forum.
Drug Addiction Definition
Is addiction a disease?
In the simplest definition, a disease is something that changes cells in a negative way. Brain scans clearly show negative changes from addiction – specifically in the areas responsible for reward, stress and self-control.
Therefore, drug addiction is considered a brain disease.
But, isn’t drug addiction a choice?
As any addict will tell you…addiction is not a choice.
- Once the brain is changed by addiction, we lose control of our behavior until we retrain our brain.
- Genetics accounts for half of the likelihood that we develop addiction. And, we have no choice over our genetics.
More importantly, choice doesn’t determine whether something is a disease. Heart disease, diabetes and many cancers involve choices like diet, exercise or sun exposure. A disease is what happens in the body regardless of our choices.
Most Addictive Drugs
The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows:
- The majority of heroin users (57%) and most meth users (46%) are addicted.
- But, significantly more people are addicted to alcohol (8 million), marijuana (3.2 million) and prescription pain relievers (1.1 million).
It’s not the drug alone that “makes” someone addicted.
Factors like genetics, age of first use and mental health struggles contribute to our reaction to drugs.
- Generally, only 20-30% of people who use a drug develop an addiction.Fact Checked
If heroin didn’t exist, most heroin addicts would still be addicts. They would use substances like pain relievers or alcohol instead, which is where they started before they gravitated toward heroin or meth.
Signs of Addiction
Everyone knows you “shouldn’t” use illegal drugs or misuse medications, but how do you know when you’ve crossed the line into drug addiction?
Using the drug even though you want to stop or cut back
Like abandoning commitments, hobbies or appearance and damaged relationships
Like driving high or visiting dangerous people/neighborhoods
Like depression, irritability, apathy or suicidal thoughts
Like hospitalizations, job loss, housing loss or arrests
Like withdrawal symptoms, heroin abscess or needing more of the drug
We spend years justifying our drug use to continue using. We compare our drug use to others and say we’re not “that bad.” We blame stressful situations. We maybe even cut back for short periods of time. But, denial only keeps us locked in drug addiction and makes it harder to break free.
By the time you start reading articles like this, you need help.
Drug Addiction Help
There’s no quick fix for addiction. You can’t watch a YouTube video or attend a doctor’s appointment and be cured. But, drug addiction IS treatable and 5x more likely after rehab.
The Top Drug Rehabs in the Country
All treatment centers listed here are in-network with insurances including – Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, Tricare and Medicaid. (Medicare will only cover hospitals).
The highest rated in-network drug treatment center in the country on Google.
Suboxone, IOP and Outpatient Rehab Options
It will be tough, but not impossible to find treatment.
- Start with FindTreatment.gov
- If nothing comes up with the no cost filter, try sliding scale
- Religious facilities may not be listed, so ask around in NA meetings
Try as hard to get sober as you do to get high. You can do this! (Seriously).
The Top 5 Drug Addiction Articles
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