If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction to drugs, please know that you are not alone and it’s normal to feel scared and concerned. We are here to offer some background information on drug addiction and what you can do to get help. If you are based near London and South England and need confidential advice you can talk to us at CATCH Recovery, London, on 0203 468 6602.

How to tell if someone you know is using drugs

Drug abuse can result in many different symptoms depending on the drug used. Some of the main signs of drug abuse are:

Physical symptoms:

  • frequent flu-like symptoms
  • dilated pupils
  • nausea
  • shaking
  • clenching and grinding teeth
  • red eyes
  • weight loss
  • insomnia
  • low libido 
  • itching and scratching
  • excessive sweating

Behavioural symptoms:

  • relationship difficulties
  • mood swings
  • behavioural changes
  • social isolation
  • loss of interest in hobbies
  • anxiety/ depression
  • irritability
  • paranoia
  • change of friends
  • secretive behaviour
  • dishonesty
  • manipulative behaviour
  • financial problems

What is drug addiction?

When a person comes to us suffering from drug addiction we often hear from their loved ones that they have noticed extreme changes in behaviour. The addicted person will often talk about changes to thought patterns or physical changes. We know that addiction can take place slowly over many years, or it can develop rapidly if the environment is right and the person is struggling with other issues. And certain types of drugs have been proven to be more addictive than others e.g. crack cocaine and crystal meth. The most commonly used addictive drugs are alcohol, nicotine, cannabis and cocaine.

Most of the time people begin consuming drugs for a variety of reasons:

  • As a way of coping – relieve stress and anxiety, to forget about problems
  • For the “feel good” sensations – feeling of pleasure, to achieve a “high” effect
  • Curiosity or experimenting – to be accepted as part of a group
  • To achieve better results – improve performance at work or to improve thinking.

Why do people do drugs and what causes drug addiction?

There are many reasons why someone may end up with drug addiction.

Sometimes what starts as a social experiment, for example smoking cannabis to be accepted as part of a social group or taking cocaine to perform more at work, can develop over time into an addiction. For others, they may be masking pain caused by trauma, abuse or grief. 

People can become addicted to those feelings and sensations associated with drug consumption. In our experience, we have often seen people come to us for inpatient treatment with addiction to more than one drug.

Drug use and drug abuse

For some people taking certain medications can become addictive as well. When the drugs refer to recommended and prescribed medication, and when the medicine is taken as prescribed for a medical reason, occasional use is not harmful, and it cannot be considered drug abuse. 

Drug abuse is considered to be a problem when a person begins to take prescribed or non-prescribed drugs to change their mental or physical state. Consuming prescribed medication for reasons other than medically prescribed is considered drug misuse and can cause addiction and other side effects.  

Some common consequences of drug addiction

We know that long-term drug use can be very difficult to recover from, and if the brain is damaged it can be much harder for a person to focus on their recovery and get pleasure from the everyday things in life. 

Drug addiction can result in decreased quality of life as well as social, mental, and physical problems. Drug addiction can lead to dangerous consequences for a person’s physical and mental health. The most common signs include:

  • hospitalisation
  • financial difficulties
  • job loss / absenteeism
  • school absences
  • isolation from friends and family
  • feelings of fear, guilt, and shame
  • jail/trouble with the law
  • relationship troubles
  • psychosis, paranoia and other mental health changes
  • skin bruises and abscesses
  • risks to personal safety and abuse
  • risky sexual behaviour
  • sexual diseases and dysfunctions
  • brain damage
  • suicidal thoughts
  • homelessness
  • death

Drug addiction, physical drug dependence and drug tolerance

Addiction, tolerance, and dependence are related terms referring to different phases of drug consumption.

Addiction refers to a physical and psychological disability. The brain’s reward system of a person living with addiction is negatively affected. Dependence is a physiological condition; a person’s system becomes dependent on a certain substance to function properly.

If you are struggling with drug dependence, your brain and body have already got used to a certain substance and it has become part of the normal functioning of your system. When ceasing the drug consumption suddenly, the body may need a period to readjust to the absence of the substance. This readjusting phase can result in experiencing unpleasant symptoms, known as withdrawal syndrome.

Tolerance involves consuming more and more of the same substance for the system to function properly. When tolerant to a specific substance, the system is adjusting to its presence and as it does requires more of the same drug to provide the desired effect. 

If a loved one is taking drugs to achieve certain sensations, the risk is that this person has become tolerant to that substance and more quantity of the same drug is needed to reach the next “high” effect.

Living With Drug Addiction

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Despite common belief, a person living with addiction can develop helping techniques during therapy and detox treatment to live a healthy life. The consequences of addiction and dependence can be detrimental, and many people fail to access the proper treatment and therapy programmes to rehabilitate themselves.

If you are living with an addiction you must know there is a better way to manage it, with the right treatment from Addiction Centre London specialists. Contact us today to discuss getting help for your condition.

How to Help Someone who is Taking Drugs

Drug addiction is a complex condition.

If a loved one is engaged in drug consumption, your impulse may be to take charge of the situation: confront and try to help them. By doing so you may be pushing them away. It is recommended to talk with an addiction specialist about the options available when you want to help a drug user. Your safety comes first when you are involved in this type of intervention. 

What drug addiction treatment involves

The treatment depends on the drug user’s personal circumstances and on the substance they consume. The rehab specialist will help a person living with addiction by customising the right treatment plan, taking into consideration all the elements. 

The rehab plan may include various treatments and strategies:

Talking therapies

Talking therapies are best used to make the drug user realise how their thoughts and feelings affect their behaviour.

Detoxification

Detoxification is a process especially created for people who want to give up on taking opioids (like heroin). The treatment plan can help with the withdrawal symptoms.

Medication

For people with opioids dependence, the rehab specialists may offer them certain medications to make the quitting process much easier; the drug user can continue the treatment without worrying about the withdrawal symptoms. 

Contact us for help and advice about drug addiction

At CATCH Recovery, London, we are here to help everyone who phones us to find the right treatment option and develop new healthy coping mechanisms to lead a happy life.