What Is Drug Addiction?

What Is Drug Addiction
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Substance use disorder (SUD) or drug addiction is a disease that negatively affects a person’s brain and behavior. A person can become obsessed with any legal or illegal drugs. Some people can get addicted to certain medications. This addiction gradually starts developing when the individual continues to consume the drug despite the impairment it causes. Nicotine, marijuana and alcohol are commonly misused drugs in today’s world.

What Causes Drug Addiction?

An action performed once as an experiment in a social situation can soon develop into a habit. An experimental use of alcohol at a college party can be used as an example. Substances such as alcohol and nicotine can affect the way one feels. Some people enjoy the physical and mental stimulations these substances create. In most cases, it is highly likely for the individual to get obsessed with such feelings. This condition ultimately leads the person to develop an addiction to that particular substance. Some people get addicted to even more than one substance. However, such a lifestyle often leads to a series of mental, physical and social impairments.

Drug Addiction Facts & Stats

Most people who suffer with substance abuse disorder (SUD) tend to hide their condition and prefer not to be vocal about it.

However, a staggering number of people in the U.S. struggle with the same condition.

  • As per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million adults in the U.S. battled SUD in 2017 (individuals who are aged 12 and older).
  • About 74% of those adults struggled with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2017.
  • About 38% of adults battled an illegal drug use disease in 2017.
  • One out of every eight adults had both SUD and AUD in the same year.
  • 5 million adults in the U.S. had both SUD and mental health disorders or co-occurring disorders in 2017.
  • Drug addiction causes the U.S. a $740 billion annual loss.

– The extent of SUD in the U.S. is shown in the facts above –

Drug Addiction Common Symptoms

The common symptoms seen in drug addiction can vary from person to person while also depending on the type of drug that has been abused.

It is encouraged to pay heed to the below mentioned symptoms:

  • Having the urge to consume the drug frequently.
  • Having to increase the quantity of the drug to get the same effect.
  • Spending more money on the drug even when one can’t afford it.
  • Neglecting one’s own responsibilities such as work, family, etc.
  • Going to the extent of stealing cash in order to purchase the drug, when one doesn’t have sufficient funds.
  • Spending hours to have the drug in possession. Making sure that one has a stock at home.
  • Coming to a realization where one intends on stopping drug consumption because of its negative effects, yet, being unable to resist the urge, returns back to the same old habits.

Well-Known Causes of Drug Addiction

In most cases, substance abuse disorder is usually developed due to many social, personal, and environmental causes. However, some of these causes give the victim no control over them due to the size of their complexity.

Mentioned below are the most common causes of drug addiction:

Environmental Factors:

  • Having a group of friends who consume drugs. Peer pressure is considered to be one of the top causes of alcoholism and SUD. Many young individuals are reported to have started consuming drugs for the first time due to peer pressure from a group of friends who were frequent consumers themselves.
  • One’s family’s attitudes and beliefs.
  • Lack of family support or being ignored by parents.
  • The life incidents one witnesses as a child tend to play a significant


An early use: If someone uses a drug at an early age, the changes in their brain development make the user more defenseless to the addiction he/she may have to that particular drug.

Intervention for Drug Addiction

Keeping their disorder to themselves and not willing to open up to other people about it are common causes of complications seen in those suffering with SUD. An intervention for SUD is a structured opportunity for you or a loved one to share thoughts about the addiction. Staging an intervention may be difficult at first. But the victim’s family and friends are encouraged to initiate it. In pressing cases, where the victim is unwilling to listen to family or friends, an alcohol/drug counselor or a treatment specialist is advised to be brought in. The heart-to-heart conversations brought out in this intervention usually show positive results and help those struggling in progressing towards recovery.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

The aim of this treatment is to make things better for the individual and their loved ones. Once diagnosed, the treatment doctor/specialist can suggest one or more of the following treatment plans:

  • Detoxification & withdrawal therapy: This combined treatment shows promising results in many cases. This treatment is advised to be carried out by healthcare professionals.
  • Chemical dependency treatment programs: These combined therapies explain the danger of drug addiction. The treatment specialist usually decides on which treatment elements to include in the program.
  • Behavior therapy: Another combined treatment plan performed by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a licensed alcohol/drug counselor.
  • Self-help groups: Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are support groups available for people with drug addiction disorders.

Conclusion: Substance use disorder (SUD) or drug addiction is a major issue in the world we live in today. You or your loved ones may be struggling with this condition. Even though there is no specific treatment for SUD, with the help of heart to heart conversations and evidence-based treatment plans under specialist supervision there is a high chance of overcoming this addiction and claiming your life back.

Don’t lose hope because help for you is right here!

Headquartered in New Jersey, Pinnacle Treatment Centers is a recognized leader in comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment serving more than 28,000 patients daily in California, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. With more than 110 community-based locations, Pinnacle provides a full continuum of quality care for adult men and women which includes medically-monitored detoxification/withdrawal management, inpatient/residential treatment, partial hospitalization/care, sober living, intensive and general outpatient programming, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. For more information, visit pinnacletreatment.com or call 800-782-1520.

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The materials provided on the Pinnacle Blog are for information and educational purposes only. No behavioral health or any other professional services are provided through the Blog and the information obtained through the Blog is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional. If you are in need of medical or behavioral health treatment, please contact a qualified health professional directly, and if you are in need of emergency help, please go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911.