Drug addiction

Understanding drug addiction

Almost all substances can lead to an addiction-forming when abused. This is due to the chemical imbalance they cause in the brain, which, if continually topped up by a substance, can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

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    What is a drug addiction?

    Addiction and dependence are terms that are used interchangeably to describe an unhealthy, problematic reliance on drugs, alcohol, or other compulsive behaviours. Some people develop physical dependencies on a drug while others only develop a psychological (aka mental or emotional) dependence.

    Addictive disorders are highly treatable, and treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab can greatly increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety. People with physical dependence may benefit from inpatient detox or rehab to ensure a safe and successful withdrawal, and anyone with an addiction should seek out addiction treatment.

    how can I tell if I have a drug problem?

    Warning signs of drug addiction

    While it may not always be possible to spot addiction, there are some red flags to be mindful of if you suspect someone is abusing a substance. Always bear in mind that everyone is different, and these indicators may not be present in all people suffering from addiction.
    Drug addictions can ruin lives

    Knowing how to spot the signs of addiction can help those who need it to get help

    • Being secretive about parts of personal life
    • Withdrawal from social contact
    • Mood swings and changes in behaviour
    • Trouble upholding commitments or responsibilities
    • Issues at home, work, or in education
    • Unstable finances
    • Staying up later than usual or sleeping in longer
    • Lack of motivation
    • Weight loss or changes in physical appearance

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    Inpatient and outpatient treatment to meet your needs

    These are some of the most widely abused drugs in the UK

    Common drug addictions


    Stimulants have become increasingly popular, both legally and illegally, as a form of substance abuse. Meth, cocaine, and crack are the most widely abused illicit stimulants.


    Heroin and prescription opioids are the most abused forms of the drug, though synthetic opioids like fentanyl are becoming more widely used


    often referred to as ‘benzos’, benzodiazepines are used to treat a wide range of medical conditions but dependence often forms quickly when benzos are abused.


    weed, bud, cannabis, or marijuana has been a popular illicit narcotics for many years. While its effects are rarely life-threatening, addiction to marijuana can cause negative impacts to one’s life.

    there is no one cause for addictions forming

    Addiction is different for everyone

    No one thing leads to addiction and it’s difficult to predict who is most susceptible. It is often a complex mix of factors that lead someone to form an addiction, including genetics, environment, personal trauma, and mental health factors.

    Some predisposed from birth to be susceptible to addiction

    Studies have shown that genetics play a significant role in your risk of developing a substance use disorder or addiction, with genetics accounting for 40-60% of a person’s likelihood of forming an addiction. Scientists have even found specific genes that play a role in increasing the risk of developing an addiction. This, however, should not be confused with an addictive personality.

    How and where we are raised can cause addiction

    Living, working, or having grown up in an environment of increased exposure to drug or alcohol addiction increases the risk of developing a substance use disorder. A National Association of Children of Alcoholics study indicates that children raised by alcoholic parents are three times as likely to develop alcoholism.

    Negative experiences can lead us to substance abuse

    People often abuse substances to cope with past mental or physical trauma, which can lead to addiction. Some people also become addicts if they abuse prescription medication used to treat chronic diseases and other illnesses. This is often true of people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is commonly found in former military personnel.

    Mental illness and addiction are often linked

    Adults and teens who suffer from mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or depression, are more likely to develop substance abuse addictions and or a behavioural addiction than the rest of the population. The presence of a mental health condition and a substance use problem is often referred to as a co-occurring disorder.

    Whatever the addiction, help is available

    Treatment for drug addiction

    No matter what type of addictive behaviour you or a loved one may be suffering from, a treatment program or rehab recovery facility can help overcome it. Get in touch with a treatment centre near you today to find out what options are available.