About Addiction

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is when a person becomes dependent on one or more substances. Substance abuse alters the brain chemistry and affects a person’s reward center, motivation and memory. Once a person becomes dependent on a substance, they’ll crave it and experience a compulsion to use it. When addiction reaches this point, it becomes challenging for people to reach sobriety without outside assistance.

Understanding addiction as a disease is essential to ensure that you or a loved one can get the appropriate treatment. Learn more about what drug addiction is below and how you can get help for yourself or your loved one. 

Types of Addiction

People can develop an addiction to various types of substances. Some of the most common substances people become addicted to include:

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids and other prescription drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA or ecstasy
  • LSD or Acid
  • Psilocybin or shrooms

Many of these substances can alter the brain’s chemistry, causing a person to become dependent. Once someone forms a dependence, it’s easy to become addicted. Addiction can take over a person’s life. Without professional help, it can be challenging to reach sobriety. 

Common Addiction Symptoms and Signs

People often start using substances in a recreational setting but can develop an addiction from misusing prescription medications. People who have a drug or alcohol addiction may face challenges, including:

  • Cravings and growing tolerance
  • Denial, irritability or aggression 
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal trouble
  • Difficulty keeping up with responsibilities
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Lack of self-control and reckless behaviors
  • Problems at work or school

People struggling with addiction will also experience varied symptoms depending on their substance use. Some of the symptoms you may be able to expect include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Red or dilated eyes
  • Excessive sniffing or runny nose
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weight loss
  • Worsening physical and mental health

These symptoms can be more severe if a person has been using substances for a long time. Once a person becomes physically and mentally dependent on a substance, ceasing use will cause different withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Hallucinations or paranoia
  • Increased anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Flu-like symptoms 

A person can successfully overcome withdrawal symptoms and achieve sobriety with professional help. Medication-assisted treatment is also available for individuals who experience more severe withdrawal symptoms or need help feeling more comfortable focusing on other parts of their treatment.

What Causes Addiction?

Risk factors for addiction vary for each person, and there is no single cause. One or multiple risk factors can cause a person to turn to alcohol or drugs, and the substance can alter their brain chemistry and cause them to become reliant on the drug. Some of the risk factors for addiction include:

  • Genetics: Up to half a person’s total risk for addiction can be attributed to genetics. Someone with a family history of addiction is more likely to depend on one or more substances, especially if it’s an immediate family member.
  • Mental health: There’s a direct correlation between mental health conditions and addiction. People with underlying mental health conditions struggle with uncomfortable feelings and symptoms, which may cause them to use substances to cope. While substances can help temporarily, they often make these conditions worse.
  • Trauma: Traumatic experiences carry heavy weight, uncomfortable emotions and troublesome symptoms. A person may attempt to cope using substances, but this can quickly spiral into addiction. 
  • Environmental cues: A person’s environment can play just as significant a role as genetics. People exposed to drugs at a young age or living in a community where drug use is normalized are more likely to start using themselves. People who are friends with others who use substances are also at an increased risk for peer pressure, which can turn into addiction once someone starts using substances regularly.
  • Past substance use: Someone who has misused substances before is more likely to become addicted if they start using again, even if it begins as occasional recreational use. Someone with a history of substance use should avoid using again, even if they don’t think they’ll become addicted. Addiction can creep up on someone before they even realize it’s happened.


Treatments for Addiction

Treatments for Addiction

If you’re struggling with addiction, you have options. You’ll work with an addiction specialist to create a personalized treatment plan, ensuring you get the level of care you need. The different types of treatment for addiction include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and lead to relapse if not properly managed. A MAT program can help individuals manage their withdrawal symptoms during their detox, allowing them to focus on their treatment. MAT programs can also help individuals sustain their recovery well after treatment and prevent a relapse. An addiction specialist will help you determine what type of medication is right for your unique circumstances. 
  • Therapy: Addiction counseling can help patients understand the underlying cause of their substance use. People in addiction treatment will regularly attend meetings throughout their treatment. Therapy is an excellent tool to help individuals learn how to manage their triggers and cravings, utilizing various coping skills to overcome challenges during their recovery.
  • Support groups: Individual therapy is essential, but so is connecting with others. Support groups allow individuals to meet with others who share their experiences, giving them a place to vent, ask questions or discuss their challenges. Members of your support group can also become a vital part of your support network and hold you accountable throughout your recovery journey.
  • Aftercare: Continuing care after official treatment is essential to ensure you have the tools you need to sustain your long-term recovery. Toward the end of your treatment, you’ll work with an addiction specialist to curate an aftercare plan, which will equip you with different tools and resources that you can rely on when you experience challenging situations outside of your residential or outpatient treatment.

When enrolling at an addiction treatment center, you’ll work with an addiction specialist to create a personalized treatment plan. Individualized care is essential to ensure you get to the root cause of your addiction, giving you the greatest chance for long-term sobriety. 

Let Hope For Tomorrow Help You Through Recovery

If you’re struggling with addiction, you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide battle with addiction, but professional help is available. Hope For Tomorrow is an addiction recovery center with the resources and tools needed to help you recover. We have different levels of care to treat various substance use disorders, and you’ll work with one of our addiction specialists to curate a unique treatment plan to help you reach sobriety. 

Our staff will lift you up through your journey and do everything possible to ensure a long-term recovery. If you’re ready to leave substance use behind and overcome your addiction, contact us today to learn more about our programs or enroll.