Can I Become Addicted as an Adult If I Have No History of Drug Abuse?
In 1956 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), initiated an effort to understand addiction as a disease. Since then, research facilities, national and state-sponsored programs and the medical health community have engaged in a variety of studies to better understand the causes of addiction and appropriate treatment options.
Treating the Symptoms of Addiction
Some people might think that addicts are people with no willpower, or have been driven to addiction due to a mental health issue. One thing that has become clear is that treating the symptoms of addiction does not cure the problem. An addict that is unemployed, has physical ailments and is depressed does not heal from addiction when she gets a job, regains her health and takes antidepressants. The underlying issues associated with addiction still need to be treated.
Early Stages of Addiction
When someone first starts taking a drug, prescription or recreational, he is responding to an issue. Whether he has ever taken drugs before, he is taking the drug to respond to a need. But, he may become tolerant to the drug, requiring him to take more than before to get the same results. Tolerance indicates that a user may be on the path towards addiction.
Preoccupation with drugs is another early indicator of addiction. A person focuses more of her attention and financial resources on acquiring and using drugs than on other responsibilities, such as keeping her job or interacting effectively with her children.
How Addiction Grows
As tolerance, preoccupation with drugs and drug use continues, addicts begin to lose control over their use, feeling they now must take drugs to function. These feelings get reinforced when withdrawal symptoms set in. At this point, the drug has now taken control over the user.
As addicts struggle to control their lives, they often cycle through short periods of abstinence followed by failure. These cycles damage how users feel about themselves, and may cause mood swings, emotional outbursts and diminished self-esteem. Adding these negative feelings to addiction’s controlling power can make users feel helpless.
How to Treat Addiction
When addicts reach this stage of helplessness, they attempt to counter their loss of control with denial, justification, rationalization and isolation. They no longer understand what is important, what their ethical and moral foundations are, or of what limits they may exceed to acquire drugs. When addiction has reached this stage, users must reach out to get help.
Help for Addictive Behaviors
If you suspect that you or someone you love is developing an addiction, it is critical to act quickly. To learn about the resources available to you, call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about addictive behaviors. We are here to help.