Drug abuse and addiction are widespread problems in America today. In fact, recent statistics indicate that well over 23 million American adults struggle with addiction each year. Explaining addiction to those who have never suffered from it is sometimes difficult. It may be hard for them to wrap their heads around the disease. Some people think that addiction is nothing more than a lack of willpower or moral compass. However, the addiction definition proves that a lack of willpower isn’t the case.
Out of those suffering, relatively few seek the professional treatment they need and deserve. What is an addiction and how we define and recognize its symptoms is a large part of curbing this growing trend? The information below will accurately explain the definition of addiction, explain the signs to look for, and describe why substance abuse treatment programs are essential.
The Addiction Definition
Addiction is a chronic mental disease that involves an uncontrollable desire to engage in dangerous activities. While most people relate addiction to drugs, it’s possible to develop addictions to activities like sex and gambling.
In any case, the disease leads people to make impulsive decisions to feed their addiction. In relation to drug addiction, they may steal or lie to get drugs. People often consider drug addiction to be one of the hardest types to overcome.
Drugs alter the brain’s chemical balance. Once people stop taking substances, physical and mental withdrawal symptoms will likely manifest. Often, the severity of these symptoms scare people from seeking help.
How Addiction Impacts the Brain
Addiction affects the brain in many ways. In most cases, however, drug use causes a flood of dopamine to overrun the reward circuits. Excess dopamine release is what gives people a high or intense pleasure feeling.
As people continue to abuse drugs, their brains adjust to the increased amount of dopamine. This adjustment makes them take more and more drugs to continue to achieve the same high. They also end up experiencing less pleasure from activities that used to release dopamine. Some examples include no longer getting pleasure from good food, sex and exercise.
Long-term drug abuse causes a number of problems in the brain. Studies show that an increase in chemical messages to the reward center affects other cognitive functions. Some of these functions include:
The Difference Between Substance Abuse vs Addiction
People often use the substance abuse and addiction definition interchangeably. However, these conditions differ. When people abuse drugs, they still have control over their actions. With addiction, however, they lose that control.
People abuse substances for a number of reasons. Maybe they experienced trauma as a child, or they use drugs to fit into certain social situations. In either case, substance abuse can—and usually does—lead to addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
Substance abuse and addiction affect people in many different ways. Because of the intricacies of body chemistry not every person will experience a drug the same way. This alone can make identifying symptoms challenging. Furthermore, there are several important signs to watch out for. Consider the signs of drug addiction listed below.
Someone who is abusing drugs will often display secretive or deceptive behavior. For example, they may begin spending their time in seclusion. They may begin associating with an entirely different crowd of people. You also may catch them in lies which they desperately cling to.
Changes in Physical Appearance
Many people struggling with substance abuse find their appetite suffers. They may experience unintentional weight loss and begin to look frail. Additionally, their personal hygiene may also begin to suffer.
Dependence on a Substance
Those struggling with substance abuse eventually rely on the effects. As a result, they require more of the substance on a more frequent basis in order to experience the same effects. This is part of the dangerous cycle that leads to addiction.
Those who are addicted to various substances will generally experience bothersome or severe withdrawal symptoms. For example, these withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, chills, seizures, and many other disturbing physical complaints.
Overcome Your Addiction in Asheville, NC
At Crest View Recovery Center, we strive to help you overcome addiction. We offer a number of addiction treatment services that can help you achieve recovery. Some of the programs that we offer include:
Our facility offers complete privacy that allows you to focus on your rehab experience. We also offer other services such as yoga and meditation to help you deal with stress. With our 24-hour, seven-day-a-week support, you never have to do rehab alone.
Let us help you fight addiction and lead you down the road to recovery. Reach out to our friendly staff to find out how we can help. Call Crest View Recovery Center today at 866-327-2505 to learn more about our substance abuse programs.