Although it is central to drug rehab, the term “ drug addiction” is difficult to define, and is the source of much debate. Drug addiction is typically understood as frequent, habitual use of a drug, but the line between abuse and addiction is still unclear. A person may frequently take drugs, but still not technically be dependent on the substance in question. If you’re considering whether yourself or a loved one suffers from drug addiction and need a drug rehab programme, learning about the differing definitions is important to understanding the true extent of the problem.
Initially, drug addiction was thought of in terms of tolerance. If a person has taken a drug with sufficient regularity, they will need more and more of the substance to achieve the same high. In basic terms, this is still accurate. For example, heroin users typically graduate to larger and larger doses throughout their use of the drug, and many feel like they need to take the drug to feel “normal,” and considerably more to achieve the same high as when they first took it.
This definition is not sufficient to truly understand drug addiction. An important distinction is between physiological and psychological addiction. The tolerance-based definition does not account for the mental need for the drug’s effects, this is why drug rehab in whatever form is important. When people stop taking drugs, they can suffer a variety of psychological symptoms, such as irritability, depression and insomnia. This indicates that there is a mental need that must be taken into account when defining drug addiction. It also explains why other activities – such as gambling and shopping – can also result in addictive behaviour, despite not relating to a specific addictive substance.
The physical and mental aspects of drug addiction have to be considered together in order to clearly define the condition. Withdrawal symptoms are the key markers for physical dependence on a substance, and different factors are considered to determine psychological dependence. Most cases of drug addiction include aspects of both, although some may be wholly one or the other. Professionals generally now think of addiction as any compulsive, uncontrolled use of a substance and drug rehab programmes in whatever form seek to provide coping mevahinisms for the underlying problems.
The debate as to the specific definition of drug addiction falls into the realms of academia from this point onwards. Some professionals may or may not believe that a person’s use of a drug constitutes addiction, but this is too technical and pedantic in nature to have any bearing on those suffering from addiction or their loved ones. If you are considering drug rehab as a treatment option, some more basic questions can provide a clear picture of whether you or a loved one is suffering from addiction.
Consider whether you or your loved one needs to take drugs in order to feel normal, and how they feel when they don’t take the particular substance. From these questions, you should be able to gauge whether psychological or physical dependence is a factor. You can also consider how much control the person in question has over the frequency of their usage. If a person is unable to limit or stop their use of a substance, that is an indication that they are not in control of the situation. From this point, you should consider the effect the issue is having on their personal, professional and psychological well being.
This should provide you with sufficient information to determine whether you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction. If so, you should consider drug rehab centres as a method of overcoming the problem. I offer free advice on the range of drug rehab options available for people addicted to drugs, and the various rehab centres they could use. You don’t have to deal with the problem alone, so if you need any help in deciding the best course of action, please pick up the phone and get in touch.