Drug Addiction Information & Resources

Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is a serious and debilitating problem today. It’s characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking behaviors and an inability to stop using, even in the face of negative consequences (e.g., lost job, physical illness, broken relationships).

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It’s also considered by experts to be an actual mental disease rather than a problem of willpower. 

This guide takes a look at some of the major questions surrounding addiction. What is addiction? How common is addiction? And why do people get addicted? It also points out some of the most commonly abused types of addictive substances and what makes them unique. 

Addiction is a complex disease that’s still not fully understood today. But as with any problem, overcoming it begins with learning about it

What is Drug Addiction?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control, and those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.

It’s worth noting that addiction is an actual disease rather than a choice. And as such, that means that it requires professional treatment in order to recover from it. 

The key to addiction involves the way that certain substances influence the pleasure system of the brain. This system is driven by the release and absorption of dopamine, the main pleasure-causing chemical in the brain. 

This chemical is naturally released by a variety of activities – from eating a good meal or finishing an enjoyable book to having sex or getting a promotion at work. Essentially, everything that feels good can be traced back to dopamine. 

Drugs and alcohol effectively hijack this system and cause the brain to release dopamine without having to perform any of these activities. And over time, the body becomes so used to this effect of drugs and alcohol that it stops producing dopamine on its own. 

When this happens, the substance abuser is driven to use over and over again because doing so is the only thing that gives pleasure anymore. 

Not all substance abuse means that addiction is involved. And it’s important to understand that these two terms do not refer to the same thing

Addiction, as we’ve seen, is a chronic disorder that involves uncontrollable drug-seeking despite negative consequences. 

Substance abuse, on the other hand, is simply using a drug in a way that it wasn’t intended to be used. 

For legal drugs like prescription medications, this involves taking higher quantities of the drug or using it in ways that it wasn’t prescribed. For alcohol, it may mean having more drinks than the amount recommended by health agencies (around 2 per day for men and 1 for women). 

For illegal drugs, substance abuse is simple: using them ever is considered abuse. 

A case of substance abuse may just point to mild experimentation. And it doesn’t always mean that someone is addicted. However, the more substance abuse there is, the higher the risk of developing an addiction will generally be. 

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. These may include: 

  • Wanting to fit in with peers
  • As a way to treat the symptoms of underlying disorders like depression or anxiety
  • To help improve short-term academic performance (e.g., taking Adderall during exams)
  • To increase sociability
  • To feel good (increased confidence, energy, happiness, etc.)

It’s important to remember, though, that abusing drugs continually and habitually can often make the problems of an individual even worse in the end. 

There are so many different consequences of substance abuse and addiction. Below are some of the most notable. 

Physical Consequences

  • Risk of overdose
  • Poor internal health (damage to organs like heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys)
  • Poor external health (skin abscesses, infected cuts and wounds, bad regular and oral hygiene)
  • Injury from intoxication

Psychological Consequences

  • A higher rate of other mental disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Inability to enjoy hobbies you used to have
  • Going through various mental withdrawals when not using
  • Uncontrollable fixations on when, how, and where to get high again

Life Consequences

  • Shattered social relationships
  • Alienation of family
  • Loss of job or career
  • Dwindling financial health
  • Legal repercussions

More common than you might think. 

It’s estimated that around 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 suffers from drug addiction, alcoholism, or both. 

More than 24 million Americans have used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. 

And when it comes to alcohol, the numbers are even more staggering. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that around 15.1 million adults had an alcohol use disorder in 2015. 

What Are the Signs of Addiction?

One of the first steps in getting help for an addiction is spotting the signs. And the earlier you can do that, the sooner you can seek out professional treatment. 

There are a few signs of addiction to watch out for in others. Below are some of the most common. 

  • Changes in Physical Appearance
  • Changes in Attitude
  • Rapid Mood Swings or Mental/Emotional Abnormalities
  • Secretive Behaviors
  • Changes in Energy Levels
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Mounting Consequences
  • Physical signs or problems (e.g., track marks, nosebleeds

While it may be easy to spot the signs of addiction in others, admitting that you are the one with a problem is monumentally harder. That’s because denial is incredibly common among addicts and substance abusers of all types. 

In fact, among the 17.7 million Americans who needed help but didn’t get it, 95.5% didn’t do so because they didn’t think they had a problem. That’s 16.9 million adults who are in complete denial about their addiction. 

That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize the signs of addiction so you can see how you stack up. Taking a quick online addiction quiz is one of the easiest ways to do so. 

You can also have a look at the guide below for more information. 

Am I Really Addicted?

Do Addicts Need Treatment?

Yes.

While it is possible to overcome an addiction without professional treatment, the overwhelming majority of addicts will need expert help in order to stay clean permanently. 

A professional program is designed to give recovering addicts the strategies and tools they need to deal with overpowering cravings, avoid unexpected triggers, and replace self-destructive life behaviors with healthier ones. 

These programs are also essential for treating the dangerous and even life-threatening complications that often come with the first stages of getting clean. This is especially important when it comes to detoxing from prescription CNS depressants, alcohol, or opioids because withdrawals can be deadly.

The trick, however, is knowing how to find a treatment program that actually works. 

Most programs will use a combination of three types of treatment approaches: individual counseling, group talk sessions, and behavioral therapies

  • Individual CounselingOne-on-one counseling is a vital part of any treatment program. Working closely with an addiction professional in this intimate setting allows for a deep dive into what’s driving the addiction, what underlying problems might be involved, and treatment strategies catered to meet the specific needs of the individual. 
  • Group Talk SessionsMany programs use group talk sessions to help build up a sense of community and to allow patients to learn from the experiences of others. These sessions are also a great place to hash out recovery plan details and to forge connections that may end up lasting a lifetime. 
  • Behavioral TherapiesThese treatments are focused on changing the underlying behaviors that led to addiction and developing healthier life strategies to take the place of substance abuse. 

There are three main types of treatment programs: detoxification, inpatient rehab, and outpatient rehabilitation

DetoxificationThis is the first stage of treatment and it’s focused primarily on helping the patient get through the initial stages of withdrawal. This is when the body is readjusting to functioning normally without the help of drugs. And it’s often accompanied by a range of uncomfortable side effects like:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle aches
  • Cold sweats 

A detox program helps keep patients from turning back to substance abuse by treating these symptoms and making the process far more manageable. These programs also protect patients from dangerous complications that may even be life-threatening. 

Inpatient RehabilitationRehab comes after detox. These programs tackle the mental side of addiction – specifically the self-destructive and compulsive drug-seeking behaviors. 

And an inpatient type of rehabilitation provides the highest level of care. These programs require patients to eat, sleep, and receive treatment all in the same centralized location. A more controlled environment means that patients are far less likely to relapse and don’t have to worry about any distractions during treatment. 

These programs are usually around 28 days long and typically offer the highest recovery rates available. 

Outpatient RehabilitationThe more flexible rehabilitation option, outpatient provides treatment sessions in the evenings or on the weekends. That way, patients can spend their days and nights as they wish while still getting the care they need to stay clean. 

However, people struggling with anything other than a mild addiction may need a higher level of care in order to recover. 

There are 3 main types of outpatient programs. The first is general outpatient and it requires the least time commitment per week (around 6 hours per week). Next comes intensive outpatient or IOP (around 10-15 hours per week). And last is partial hospitalization programs or PHPs (about 30 hours per week). 

Alcohol Addiction Information

Alcohol

Alcohol use is common around the world, but addiction to alcohol can be deadly.

Alcohol is a depressant. And as a result, it causes many of the body’s processes to slow down. Reaction times and reflexes are stunted, thinking becomes fuzzy, and memory can also be impacted. 

Breathing and heart rate also tend to slow down as well. 

Like most other addictive substances, drinking alcohol also produces a “high” that most users are trying to achieve. This high of being drunk usually includes feelings like: 

  • Euphoria
  • Excitement
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Higher sociability
  • Lowered inhibitions

Alcoholism is one of the most widespread addictions in the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 15.1 million American adults needed treatment for alcohol use in 2016. 

And more than 91% didn’t receive treatment, mostly because the majority were in complete denial about their alcoholism. 

Though it may be hard to spot the signs of mild intoxication, heavy alcohol consumption is marked by a number of easy-to-recognize signs. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), these signs include: 

  • Slowed reaction times and reflexes
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Lowered inhibitions and increase in risk behavior
  • Lowered reasoning ability, impaired judgment
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion, anxiety, restlessness
  • Slowed heart rate, reduced blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration

No matter what stage of alcoholism someone is in, being a problem drinker can have serious health implications for anyone

And these health effects can be especially numerous too. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking too much can cause: 

  • Permanent changes in the brain that lead to altered mood and behavior
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of the heart muscle)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer (head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal)
  • Weakened immune system
Cannabinoid Addiction Information

Cannabinoids

The Cannabinoid category of drugs is named because of how they affect the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain.

Cannabinoids don’t fall neatly into the stimulant/depressant categorizations of most other drugs. And the effects that these drugs have on individuals vary wildly from person to person. 

As such, the high from marijuana may come with a range of symptoms, including: 

  • Altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • Altered sense of time
  • Changes in mood
  • Impaired body movement
  • Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • Impaired memory
  • Hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • Delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • Psychosis (when taken in high doses)

While marijuana doesn’t necessarily cause physical dependency, the truth is that cannabinoids can be mentally addictive. And in fact, addiction doesn’t even require physical dependency. 

As a result, these drugs can still bring on uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms while quitting.

Despite the fact that cannabinoids like marijuana are becoming legal across the country, studies have shown that marijuana addiction is common and often left untreated. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that around 2.5% of American adults (around 6 million people) met the criteria for having a marijuana addiction in the last year. About 6.3% of adults were estimated to have such an addiction at some point in their lives. 

There are a few common signs of cannabinoid intoxication that tend to pop up. According to CESAR, these include: 

  • Dizziness or trouble walking
  • Acting silly and giggly for no reason
  • Red, bloodshot, or glazed eyes
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Difficulty remembering things that just happened
  • Disinterest in activities or other things he or she used to enjoy

Though it is often considered one of the safest illicit drugs today, marijuana and other cannabinoids can have a variety of negative effects on health. According to the CDC, some of the most notable include: 

  • Altered brain development in younger people
  • Possibly higher rates of cancer
  • An increased risk of stroke and heart disease
  • Damaged lung tissues

On top of that, legal cannabinoids like K2 and Spice can be particularly dangerous. These are synthesized versions of marijuana and in many cases, what goes into them is not well regulated. 

As a result, they may contain chemical compounds that interact with the brain differently than normal marijuana. The effects of these drugs can often be unpredictable and may be dangerous. Some side effects may include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
Depressants Addiction Information

Depressants

Depressants are a classification of drugs that are very dangerous, and they only become more dangerous with long term usage.

As the name suggests, central nervous system (CNS) depressants interact with the brain and the body to slow down certain processes. A lot of this slowing down is handled by one brain chemical in particular called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Many CNS depressants either make GABA more powerful or increase its rate of release in the brain. 

The result is a relaxed, drowsy state that some people may find appealing. Some depressants may also bring on a sense of euphoria as well. 

When taken in high doses, these drugs can also make it quite hard to concentrate and perform even the simplest tasks. 

Some of the most common types of depressants include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and anti-psychotics.

Some of the most common symptoms of depressant intoxication include: 

  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Problems with movement and memory
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing
  • Lethargy

Some signs that someone close to you might be abusing depressants could include:

  • Taking frequent naps throughout the day
  • Falling asleep in unusual situations like during a meal
  • Poor coordination or falling over 
  • An inability to carry on a conversation

Abusing depressants habitually can cause a range of health effects. These may include: 

  • Problems with thought, memory, and judgment
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech

Once a person becomes physically dependent on these drugs, getting clean can be especially hard since the withdrawal symptoms can be brutal. On top. Of that, these drugs are some of the only ones that have potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms. 

That’s why it’s so important to partner with a professional facility when trying to recover from a depressant addiction. 

Hallucinogens Addiction Information

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens have been around for a very long time and are popular because they cause the user to lose touch with reality.

Hallucinogens include a wide variety of different drugs with different effects. But generally, these drugs fall into two categories in particular: classic hallucinogens like LSD and dissociative drugs such as PCP. 

Both produce hallucinations – images, sounds, or physical sensations that aren’t really there. But dissociative drugs also typically cause the user to feel like they’re outside of their body and have no control over their actions. 

Researchers believe that most classic hallucinogens affect the brain chemical serotonin, which helps control mood, sensory perception, and a range of other functions. As a result, highs from these drugs tend to create:

  • Intensified feelings and sensations (seeing brighter colors for example)
  • Changes in time perception
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Relaxation

Dissociative drugs tend to focus more on glutamate, which helps regulate responses to the environment, emotion, and memory. The highs from these drugs may cause:

  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Disassociation (feeling outside of the body)
  • Anxiety 
  • Numbness 

According to NIDA, around 229,000 Americans over the age of 12 reported using LSD in the past month. And for dissociative drugs like PCP, around 33,000 Americans reported past-month use. 

Among high school seniors, 5.9% abused salvia in the past year, 2.7% abused LSD, and 1.3% used PCP in the same time frame. 

Some signs of classic hallucinogen intoxication include: 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Increased breathing or body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep problems
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Bizarre behaviors

Some signs of dissociative drug intoxication include: 

  • Panic
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Inability to move
  • Trouble breathing
  • Amnesia
  • Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature

The long-term effects of hallucinogen addiction and abuse can be brutal. 

For classic hallucinogens, they may cause persistent psychosis – a condition characterized by a series of mental problems like paranoia, disorganized thinking visual disturbances, and mood changes. 

They can also cause a condition known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPDD). This condition is the technical name for drug flashbacks – spontaneous re-experiencing of drug effects like hallucinations long after taking them (days or even years afterwards). 

Dissociative drugs can cause more serious effects that can end up being permanent. These may include: 

  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
Inhalants Addiction Information

Inhalants

There are so many products that you can find in your home that are actually very addictive and harmful for you.

Most inhalants affect the brain and the body by slowing down activity in the central nervous system. And as a result, the user tends to feel effects that are similar to those of alcohol. These may include: 

  • Slurred or distorted speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Euphoria
  • Dizziness

But since there are so many different products that are used as inhalants today, not all will have the same effects. Some, for instance, may also produce hallucinations and delusions. 

In many cases, these effects tend to be short-lived, often only lasting for a few minutes at a time. This short high can drive users to abuse inhalants over and over in rapid succession. And after continued use, it can make abusers feel less self-conscious and less in control over their bodies.

These drugs are actually the only substances that are abused more by young Americans than by adults. And according to NIDA, middle schoolers actually abuse them the most. 

A 2018 study found that among high school seniors, 4.4% had used inhalants in some point of their life. Less than 2% had used them in the past year and only 0.7% had in the past month. But among 8th graders, 8.7% had abused inhalants in their lifetime with 4.6% using in the past year and 1.8% in the past month. 

The most obvious signs of inhalant intoxication are similar to those of being drunk. As such, abusers may exhibit symptoms such as: 

  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of motor functions
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Glassy eyes

Since these inhalants are often poisonous, they may leave other physical signs including blisters on the skin and around the nose. 

Also look for paint or other markings on the skin.

Abusing inhalants is associated with a range of serious health effects, some of which can be long-term. These may include: 

  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Loss of coordination and limb spasms
  • Delayed behavioral development
  • Brain damage

Abusing inhalants can also lead to what’s known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, and it can happen within minutes.

Opiates Addiction Information

Opiates and Prescription Drug Opioids

Opiates (which are sometimes referred to as Opioids) can be derived from the poppy plant, partially synthesized, or fully synthesized.

Opioids are used in the medical community to help treat chronic and acute pain. They’re especially good at doing so because they stop pain sensations at a variety of different points in the body rather than just one. 

They interact with the brain and the body by activating special cells called opioid receptors. These receptors help regulate pain sensations as well as mood and other functions. And when they’re activated by opioids, they can cause a variety of effects, including: 

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Sedation 

The intensity of these feelings depends on the type of opioid as well as how it is administered. Heroin, for example, tends to bring on a “rush” of intensely pleasurable feelings that quickly fade away. Prescription opioids like OxyContin may come on more slowly but often last much longer. 

The high from opioids is often quite strong. And it’s part of why these drugs are so highly addictive today. 

Incredibly common

America is in the middle of an opioid epidemic that continues to get worse every single year. From 1999 to 2017, almost 400,000 Americans have died from an overdose involving opioids. About 130 Americans die of an opioid overdose every single day. 

The problem has gotten so out of hand that drug overdoses (driven largely by opioids) are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 55. 

Some signs of opioid intoxication include: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Slowed breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils

Some opioids like heroin can cause a deterioration of white matter in the brain. And as a result, heroin abusers may experience: 

  • Poor decision-making abilities
  • Poor impulse control
  • Reduced ability to handle stressful situations

The compounds often mixed with illicit substances like heroin can also cause serious damage to internal organs like the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. 

Another health effect of opioid abuse is the risk of hypoxia. This condition is caused by too little oxygen flowing into the brain. This condition can cause permanent brain damage, coma, and even death. 

Opioids tend to be taken intravenously (by injection) too. This method of administration also increases the risk of contracting blood diseases like HIV and hepatitis. 

Over the Counter Drugs Addiction Information

Over the Counter Drugs

When people learn that they've become addicted to prescription medications, once they recover from their surprise, they can understand how this occurred.

OTC drugs affect the body in a variety of ways. 

Diet pills, for example, tend to speed up the body’s natural processes. And that can lead to increased energy levels and restlessness as well as some light euphoria. 

Sleep aids tend to do the opposite, just as you’d expect. And that can cause sedation and relaxation at normal levels. When abused at high doses, some people experience hallucinations and euphoria. 

Both Dramamine (an anti-nausea medication) and DXM-based cough medicine can be taken in high quantities to produce hallucinations and euphoria as well. 

Some signs of OTC intoxication may include: 

  • Lethargy or hyperexcitability
  • Excessive sweating
  • Poor motor control
  • Stomach pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Changes in the pupils

Some long-term health effects of OTC drug abuse may include: 

  • Liver or kidney damage
  • Mood changes
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Joint pain
  • Confusion
  • A higher risk of dementia
Prescription Drug Addiction Information

Prescription Drugs

In many ways, prescription medications are some of the most dangerous options when you're talking about addiction.

Prescription drugs like those above are often far more powerful than over-the-counter medications. 

These drugs fall into a number of different classes, including: 

  • Opioids – These drugs are used to treat pain in patients, and they stimulate the opioid receptors in the brain and the body. Abuse can lead to euphoria, relaxation, and sedation. 
  • Prescription Stimulants – These drugs are typically used to treat conditions like ADD and ADHD. Abuse can cause hyperactivity, euphoria, and increased sociability. 
  • Anti-Depressants & Anticonvulsant Drugs – These drugs are used to treat depression and seizure disorders. Abusing them (often with other substances) can cause euphoria and relaxation.

For opioids, signs of intoxication may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Slowed breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils

For prescription stimulants, signs of intoxication may include: 

  • Increased alertness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Erratic mood
  • Aggression 
  • Rapid movements and thinking

For anti-depressants, signs of intoxication may include:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Scattered thinking
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Slurred speech

The long-term health effects of prescription drug addiction are both varied and numerous. Just some of the most common major complications include: 

  • Dangerously high or low blood pressure
  • Serious organ damage
  • Deadly withdrawal symptoms
  • A high risk of overdose
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Changes in behavior and thinking
Steroids Addiction Information

Steroids

Anabolic steroids generally conjure up visions of athletes who use them to improve their performance in various sports, and the only time it really seems to be a problem for them is when they get caught.

Steroids are often prescribed to treat hormonal disorders because they are a synthetic version of the male sex hormone, testosterone. But when abused, they’re usually used to help stimulate muscle growth in athletes, body builders, and people looking to boost physical performance. 

These drugs affect the body differently than other substances of abuse. Most importantly, they don’t directly affect the pleasure system in the brain like other drugs. And as a result, they aren’t associated with the “high” that comes with many other substances of abuse. 

However, the muscle-building effects of the drugs can be mentally addictive in that abusers can get pleasure from seeing the results of the drug (i.e., impressive muscle growth). 

And contrary to popular belief, steroids actually can be addictive

The signs of steroid abuse include:

Physical: 

  • Severe acne
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Rapid muscle growth
  • Enlarged breasts
  • Oily skin

Mental: 

  • Paranoia
  • Extreme irritability and aggression
  • Delusions
  • Impaired judgment
  • Mania 

Some of the most notable long-term effects of steroid abuse include: 

  • Kidney problems or failure
  • Liver damage and tumors
  • Enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol levels
  • Increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke

In men:

  • Shrinking testicles
  • Decreased sperm count
  • Baldness
  • Development of breasts
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer

In women:

  • Growth of facial hair
  • Decreased breast size
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Deepened voice 
Stimulants Addiction Information

Stimulants

It is very easy to become addicted to stimulants, and once you're addicted, getting professional stimulant addiction treatment is the best way to stop taking them safely.

Stimulants essentially speed up the processes of the brain and body by interacting with two chemicals in particular: dopamine and norepinephrine. Some drugs make these chemicals more readily available in the brain while others make them more powerful. 

Abusing stimulants causes in an increase in alertness, attention, and energy levels. It can also cause euphoria at high levels as well. 

Since stimulants affect dopamine in particular (a brain chemical that helps control learning and memory), addiction to stimulants can be both overpowering and widespread across America

Some of the most common signs of stimulant intoxication include:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increased breathing
  • Rapid movements, thoughts, and speaking
  • Darting eyes
  • Hand tremors
  • Oral fixations like clenching the jaw repeatedly
  • Dilated pupils

Health risks associated with stimulant addiction include: 

  • Malnourishment
  • Movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • A higher risk of bloodborne diseases like HIV or hepatitis
  • Lung problems like pneumonia
  • Physical maladies like decayed gums or damaged nasal septum
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Sleeping problems
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety 

Northpoint Recovery: Quality National Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a complex and devastating disease. And only a qualified treatment program can offer the absolute best chances at long-term recovery. 

When it does come time to partner with a professional addiction program, Northpoint Recovery in Boise is the best in the Pacific Northwest. 

Our 28-day inpatient program uses only evidence-based treatments that have been proven to promote recovery. Every plan is individually tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient. And we also have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the region. 

Plus, we’re nationally accredited by the Joint Commission – a testament to our dedication to quality service. 

Just have a look at some of the testimonials from past patients. 

Addiction doesn’t have to be a lifelong disease. And with the right support, it can be overcome. 

We’d love to help you recover today. So please, contact us now to get started.

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