Drug addiction is referred to as a “downward spiral” for a reason.
It starts slow and typically springs from a social diversion or desire to escape from trauma or distress. As use progresses to abuse and dependency, the drug highs and withdrawal lows subtly intensify until drug abusers lose all control over their addiction. In that, every story is the same, but each person’s road into drug addiction is unique; thus treatment for individual recovery must also be unique.
Sovereign Health of California’s drug addiction treatment center provides personally tailored drug addiction treatment programs. Our Joint Commission-accredited facilities throughout the state provide evidence-based and holistic treatment modalities to provide relief from all substance use disorders.
Drug association at different levels
Some people legitimately depend on legal prescription drugs for chronic pain or mental disorder and can take the recommended dosage appropriately. Some people try an illegal substance once and manage to avoid it thereafter.
But for many a drug experiment digresses into addiction over which they have no control. Below is the continuum of substance use, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:
Substance use. At this stage, individuals will try a substance for social assimilation or experimentation. Those with recent medical or mental health attention may be initially prescribed a controlled substance for its desired bodily effects. Use at this point doesn’t necessarily cue addiction, but is not safe for driving and can harm a fetus.
Addiction is a disease that manipulates a person’s sense of reward, motivation, memory and a number of related neurological functions.
Substance abuse. Abuse of prescription drugs, alcohol or illegal drugs at this phase includes one or more within a year:
- Recurring physically hazardous situations
- More than one substance-related legal issue
- Repeated use even though the substance abuse is causing frequent social and interpersonal disturbances
- Substance use is impeding performance and completion of obligations; children will begin to be neglected intermittently
Drug addiction. At this juncture on the continuum at least three of the following are true of the individual:
- Tolerance is built up within the brain’s reward system, so more of the substance is needed for the high
- The substance is taken more often and in increasingly greater amounts than perhaps intended
- Efforts to control substance use are futile
- Drug-seeking instead of supervising one’s own children or using budgeted household funds on drugs
- Usual activities are forgone in lieu of substance abuse
- The majority of one’s time is spent on planning, obtaining, fantasizing about or actually abusing the substance
- Dependency doesn’t waver, despite the user’s knowledge of the problems drug addiction is causing
- Withdrawal symptoms occur when a regular “hit” is missed