Drug addiction and psychological dependence: The mental effects of drugs
According to the medical profession, addiction is a mental disorder by itself. It is because, in the medical field, drug addiction is considered a disease. But it often accompanies other mental disorders that are sometimes the cause of addiction. As with all mental illnesses, social and genetic factors may add to physical and psychological factors, and complicate the issue of causes and effects. What can complicate the matter even further is that drug addiction can cause other mental illnesses such as anxiety and mania. It is without a doubt that a person who has got an addiction to any substance, whether it is alcohol, drugs or even prescription medications, their mental problems will get worst. It is because drug addiction can have a huge effect on the mental well-being of any person.
Why is mental illness so common amongst addicts?
Dependence is more common in people with mental disorders than in others. Also, drug addicts are more likely to suffer from mental disorders than non-dependents. It reveals either a neurobiological basis common to both disorders or an interaction of effects at a certain level. There are a few hypotheses which can explain the connection between mental illness and drug addiction.
Drug dependence and mental illness can be based on the same processes in the nervous system. Thus if a person is addicted to any substance, then they are at a higher risk of developing a mental disorder.
Drug use can accelerate the onset of a mental disorder or lead to biological changes in mental illness. The physical and psychological changes that drugs can cause can lead to mental disorders. It is because there is a physical change within the brains and bodies of addicts if they suffer from the prolonged use of drug addiction.
These are just some of the things that can explain why mental illness can go hand in hand with drug addiction. Researchers tend to confirm each of these assumptions. For example, many psychoactive substances can cause effects similar to psychiatric syndromes. In fact, amphetamines and cocaine, for example, can induce psychotic symptoms. Hallucinogenic substances can affect perception, thoughts, and emotions, and produce hallucinations, which are manifestations of certain psychoses. Moreover, the consumption of psychoactive substances regularly modifies a person’s mood, leading either to euphoric feelings or depressive symptoms, especially during weaning.
What are the common kinds of mental illness in drug addicts?
Drug addicts can often develop all kinds of mental disorders and problems. It is because the effects of drugs in their brains are particularly destructive. If you know someone that is taking drugs, or if you suspect that you are addicted to any substance, then you should always be aware of the mental effects of addiction. These kinds of mental disorders can happen at any stage of addiction.
Many addicts will experience a lot of mental hallucinations. They may see things that are not there, or hear other kinds of hallucinations. It is because the drugs that they are using can cause physiological changes in their brain chemistry. A common type of drug that can cause hallucinations is cocaine. Cocaine addicts that have been abusing that substance for a long period may experience a lot of hallucinations. And these hallucinations can make it difficult for them to distinguish the real world from fantasy. It can make a drug addict more withdrawn as they cannot seem to know what is real or not due to their hallucinations.
A lot of addicts can develop depression when they abuse a substance for too long. Depression is not simply feeling the blues; it is an actual serious mental disorder. Depressed individuals are at a higher risk of dangerous behavior and even suicide. So this puts addicts at an even higher risk of the general population. Drug addiction can fuel or exacerbate depression. And often people will turn to using drugs because of their depression, so both depression and addiction are part of a vicious cycle.
Anxiety attacks and panic disorders
It is very common for some addicts to experience panic attacks and other kinds of anxiety disorders if they develop a dependence or addiction to certain substances. Anxiety can be caused by a psychological dependence on the drugs that an addict is taking. If they do not regularly use drugs, this could cause them to feel anxious. And if they go on for too long without using their drugs, they may even experience panic attacks. Even people who do not develop a physical dependence on drugs can still experience anxiety if they run out of using their drugs. It is because they have developed a mental dependence on using their drugs.
Some addicts may develop paranoia. They may suddenly have obsessive thoughts about certain things. It is an extension of their mental hallucinations. They may feel like they are being followed or stalked by a particular organization. Some addicts may also feel that they are dying or have some disease. Paranoia amongst addicts is especially common in those that are in the late stages of their addiction.
Schizophrenia is a very severe mental illness, which can be caused or worsened by drug addiction. Schizophrenia can affect the way that an addict, thinks, feels and also act as well. Schizophrenia can cause people to hear voices and experience other kinds of vivid hallucinations. Schizophrenic thoughts can often be destructive or harmful. And it is never safe to let a person with schizophrenia take any drugs or substances, without any prior medical approval.
What are the common kinds of drugs and how addictive are they?
Heroin – leads to a very strong physical and psychological dependence.
Opioids – This has got a fairly strong psychological and physiological dependence. Common opioids can include methadone, fentanyl, and even morphine.
Cocaine – It has a weak physical dependence and strong but intermittent psychological dependence.
Benzodiazepines – Benzos have got a moderate physical dependence but has got a rapid onset of psychological dependence. Benzos can include alprazolam and clonazepam.
Psychostimulants – It has a fairly strong physical dependence, but addicts tend to take more of it because of its strong effects on psychological dependence.
Cannabinoids – These have got a weak physical and psychological dependence. But people get addicted to weed very often, because of widespread use.
How is addiction diagnosed?
Substance abuse problems are medical ailments. Therefore, a medical professional will be able to diagnose addiction based on the behavior of a particular person. It is, in fact, the use of a substance that results in specific consequences such as:
- The substance use will interfere with the personal relationship between the person and his or her family or friends;
- The addiction will disrupt a person’s ability to perform his or her duties at work, at school, and in the family.
- Another thing that can be used to diagnose addiction is when behavior can lead to legal problems and dangerous situations.
If you or someone you know has displayed the following behavior, it may be time to think about seeking treatment.
How can addiction be treated?
The best way to treat any addiction to alcohol or drugs would be to check into a drug rehab center. It is because detoxification, essential skills training and other important steps that need to be taken to recover from addiction, can only be found within a drug rehab facility. Sending someone to the hospital to get treated for addiction will not be as effective. It is because most hospitals will not be equipped to handle patients with drug addiction. Only a drug rehab facility will have the resources and facilities to successfully treat an addict. So if you want what is best for the addict and their mental health, you will need to send them to a drug rehab facility.
Detoxification and rehab
A detox is a process that reduces addiction problems to an acceptable minimum level of harmful effects on daily life. It means all of the aspects of the life of a person, including emotional, social, and economic. Many different programs exist with each their specificity. Ideally, most detoxification programs are designed to achieve total abstinence from the drug.
The implementation of a detoxification treatment must be a voluntary action of the person suffering from the addiction, for the nursing staff it is an essential condition for the success of the cure. The detox is often the first step in a process allowing the individual to adopt a lasting change of lifestyle. It is, for example, a prerequisite for post-cure.
In the case of physical dependence, the treatment of detox begins with a weaning of a few days often highly medicalized, corresponding to the physical detoxification. So a person may receive lower and lower dosages of a drug substitute. If they do not detox slowly, then their body can go through shock which can be harmful to their health.
Drug rehab also generally addresses the lack of post-care follow-up, which means that until proper follow-up is established, cures will remain the elements of a vicious cycle. These facilities will often provide support systems for the addict so that they do not return to abusing certain kinds of substances. It would ensure that the drug addict does not backslide into their previous behavior.
The detox centers are institutions specializing in detoxification. Almost all of the drug rehab centers that you can find will specialize in detox because it is an essential step in addiction recovery.
What sorts of programs do drug treatment centers have for addicts?
The goal of any addiction rehabilitation program is the long-term success for the individual who is recovering. Everyone who has passed the stage of weaning and complete detoxification of the body feels much better. They will be more fit and have more energy. The detox may also repair some of the problems that happened mentally too. Rehab can repair some of the damage caused by the drugs. But there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that the mental effects of drugs do not end up affecting the lives of the people anymore.
Rehab programs will address the reasons why the person fell into the drugs in the first place. During this stage, the person will regain the skills that he possessed or develop new abilities to cope with life without the use of drugs to be happy. This step will lead to more stability, self-respect and the discovery of new values. They will no longer experience any mental dependence on certain kinds of drugs once they have undergone this part of the rehabilitation program.
Within rehab, the recovering person will discover their potential, become stronger and regain control of his life and be better equipped to live a happier life. Rehab will help recovering addicts develop the ability to maintain a healthy life and become responsible for their addiction. It will lead to less mental problems in people.
As soon as a person gets to feel better physically and mentally without drugs than when they are under the influence of drugs, he no longer needs them. By eliminating the original cause of suffering or despair, the need for drugs is eliminated.
Almost all drug treatment facilities will also offer therapy programs. It will teach essential life skills that are needed by any addict if they want to live a happier life. These therapy programs give the individual the tools he or she needs to live without resorting to drugs.
Drug rehab can lead to a happier life
Addicts can learn to live a happier life thanks to rehab. Depression, illness, mental issues and other kinds of problems that are caused by drug addiction can be hugely detrimental to the quality of life of anyone. This is why it is extremely important to try and find a solution that can enable a recovering addict to take more control of their lives and overcome their mental problems caused by their addiction. The only way to do this would be to get help from a drug treatment facility. At a drug rehab facility, addicts will get the support and healing that they need, to find balance and happiness in their lives once again.