Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.
A pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life you should seek help.
People use cannabis by smoking, eating or inhaling a vaporized form of the drug. Cannabis often precedes or is used along with other substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, and is often the first drug tried.
Barbiturates, benzodiazepines and hypnotics are prescription central nervous system depressants. They're often used and misused in search for a sense of relaxation or a desire to "switch off" or forget stress-related thoughts or feelings.
Stimulants are often used and misused in search of a "high," or to boost energy, to improve performance at work or school, or to lose weight or control appetite. Stimulants include amphetamines, meth (methamphetamine), cocaine, methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, others) and amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Adderall XR, others).
Use of hallucinogens can produce different signs and symptoms, depending on the drug. The most common hallucinogens are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP).
Some commonly inhaled substances include glue, paint thinners, correction fluid, felt tip marker fluid, gasoline, cleaning fluids and household aerosol products. Due to the toxic nature of these substances, users may develop brain damage or sudden death.
Opioids are narcotic, painkilling drugs produced from opium or made synthetically. This class of drugs includes, among others, heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone and oxycodone.
Treatment programs usually offer:
The goal of detoxification, also called "detox" or withdrawal therapy, is to enable you to stop taking the addictive drug as quickly and safely as possible. For some people, it may be safe to undergo withdrawal therapy on an outpatient basis. Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center.
As part of a drug treatment program, behavior therapy — a form of psychotherapy — can be done by a psychologist or psychiatrist, or you may receive counseling from a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Therapy and counseling may be done with an individual, a family or a group. The therapist or counselor can:
Many, though not all, self-help support groups use the 12-step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Other support groups include Celebrate Recovery, a Christ centered, 12 step recovery program and Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery), a science-based, self-empowered addiction recovery model.
Drug addiction is linked to a number of problems that may be helped with therapy or counseling, including other underlying mental health concerns or marriage or family problems. Seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed counselor may help you regain your peace of mind and mend your relationships.
People with other mental health problems, such as depression, are more likely to become addicted to drugs. Seek immediate treatment from a qualified mental health professional if you have any signs or symptoms of mental health problems.
Support groups can be very effective in coping with addiction. Compassion, understanding and shared experiences can help you break your addiction and stay drug-free.
Visit our Get Help page to learn about options for receiving immediate help.
Schedule an appointment to meet with a licensed counselor.