Learn about the causes of Drug Addiction & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Drug Addiction within New Zealand.
Therapies which may benefit Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a compulsive use of a substance or substances despite
severe medical and social consequences. Although there may be a desire
to stop, it is extremely difficult to quit.
Causes of drug addiction
The causes of drug addiction depend on a number of factors such as the
type of drug being abused and the circumstances under which the drug is
being used. Certain drugs are taken under prescription for specific
medical conditions while others are used illegally for recreational
Some drugs can become physically addictive such as
painkillers or sleeping tablets. Over time, the body becomes tolerant
to the medication and more drugs are required to achieve the desired
effect. Once the body stops receiving the drug, withdrawal symptoms are
experienced which can be detrimental to health and in rare cases can be
fatal. Other drugs have a psychological effect leading to cravings.
some people are more prone to drug abuse and addiction is unclear but
genetics may predispose certain people to addiction. For others, the
effects of taking a drug for a prolonged period (such as for a medical
complaint) leads to the addiction.
Peer pressure, low
self-esteem and emotional trauma can also lead to a reliance on drugs
as a coping mechanism. Discovering what motivates someone to take drugs
is often the key to treating their addiction.
Symptoms of drug addiction
Drug addiction can have various symptoms depending on the drug that is
being abused. The majority of addictions begin with social use, or in
the case of prescription drugs, low-dose usage. As the drug becomes a
habit over time, the frequency and dosage increases to achieve the
Eventually, the drug is a necessity to induce
feel-good emotions or relieve pain and at this point it is difficult to
function normally without it. Stopping the drug can lead to cravings
and physical illness (withdrawal symptoms).
Common symptoms and behaviours of drug addiction include:
For teenagers, there are a number of indications that may suggest drug use. These include:
- The need to take the drug regularly
- Failed attempts to stop taking the drug
- Always having a supply of the drug
- Buying the drug even when finances don't allow it
- Feeling that the drug helps you cope with problems
- Anti-social or risky behaviour while under the influence of the drug
- Focusing too much time and energy on acquiring and using the drug
There are particular signs that someone is abusing a drug and these will depend on the type of drug being used.
- Poor school performance or skipping classes
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Loss of interest in their appearance
- Behavioural changes
- Money problems (stealing or requesting extra money)
In the case of cannabis abuse, the signs of dependence can include:
Prescription drug addiction is commonly caused by drugs used for anxiety known as benzodiazepines or opiate painkillers.
- Memory deterioration
- Red eyes
- Increased blood pressure
- Lack of concentration
- Increased appetite
- Poor reactions
Common benzodiazepines, or tranquillisers, include diazepam (valium), alprazolam (xanax), lorazepam (ativan) and clonazepam.
Signs of dependence include:
Narcotic painkillers, known as 'opioids' include codeine, heroin, morphine and oxycodone. Symptoms and signs include:
- Poor coordination
- Impaired memory
- Slurred speech
- Low blood pressure
Illegal drug addiction commonly involves amphetamines (ecstasy, speed), methamphetamine ('meth') and methylphenidate (ritalin).
- Pain reduction
- Slowed breathing
- Needle marks (if injecting the drug)
Common signs of abuse and addiction include:
Drugs called 'hallucinogens' such as LSD and PCP have very distinct symptoms and signs. Signs of LSD usage include:
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling euphoric
- Speed talking
- Low mood (during 'comedown' from the drug)
- Sleeping difficulty
- Weight loss
- Increased heart rate
- High temperature
- Nasal problems (congestion, bleeding) from snorting drugs
Signs of PCP use include:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Altered sense of reality (hearing, vision)
- Shakes or tremors
- Aggressive behaviour
- Loss of appetite
substances such as glue, paint thinners and petrol causes intoxication
and a loss of inhibitions but the long-term effects can lead to brain,
kidney and liver damage. In some cases, inhaling these substances can
Diagnosis of drug addiction
If you believe you have an
addiction to a drug then seek medical help as soon as possible. Good
indicators that you have a drug addiction include:
earlier you get help the better your chances of recovery. In the first
instance, visit your GP who will assess your physical and mental
health. The GP may refer you to a mental health specialist to help you
understand your reasons for abusing the drug.
- Inability to stop using the drug
- Drug use is leading you to risky behaviour (needle sharing, unprotected sex)
- Withdrawal symptoms when stopping the drug
For many people, seeking help is the most difficult step and therefore family or friends may need to intervene.
Drug abuse can cause serious medical problems which need emergency treatment. If you, or someone you know:
Then you should call emergency services immediately.
- Takes an overdose
- Falls unconscious
- Struggles to breathe
- Suffers a seizure
- Has chest pain
- Suffers physical or psychological reactions
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