Signs, Withdrawal Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Drug & Alcohol Addiction: Signs & How to Get Help

Over 23 million Americans currently meet the criteria for substance abuse. In the midst of an addiction epidemic, America has also seen a steady rise in alcoholism and prescription drug abuse as well. For many people, the stigma of getting help holds them back from hitting the reset button and starting life over again without drugs. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of substance abuse, and how Rise in Malibu’s drug rehab program can help.

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Despite the importance of numerous psychosocial factors, at its core, drug addiction involves a biological process: the ability of repeated exposure to a drug of abuse to induce changes in a vulnerable brain that drive the compulsive seeking and taking of drugs, and loss of control over drug use, that define a state of addiction.” –Eric J. Nester, MD, PhD

Below is some information regarding drug addiction that we believe you and your loved ones will find useful.

To put it simply, addiction is a disease. Over time, it becomes progressively worse and actually alters the chemistry of the brain due to the reward factor associated with being drunk or “high”. After repeatedly consuming the same substance over and over, a person will develop a tolerance. When a person develops a tolerance to a certain mind or mood altering substance, that means that they must consistently take more and more of that same drug to achieve the same effects that made them start abusing it in the first place.

Depending on a person’s “drug of choice”, if they continue using or drinking once they have developed a tolerance, they will slowly cross the line into dependency. Once someone has crossed this line, they must consistently drink or use their drug of choice to not feel sick. This phenomenon typically only occurs when the substance in question is a depressant, like alcohol, Xanax, heroin, prescription painkillers, etc.  

It’s very important to not demand the addict or alcoholic in your life to “just stop”, as some abused substances can produce very dangerous withdrawal symptoms that could be potentially more dangerous than for them to continue to use or drink until they see a medical professional.

Who is at Risk for Becoming Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?

The simple answer: everyone. Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate, you are at risk of addictive behaviors if you are:

  • A man or a boy.
  • A woman or a girl.
  • Black, White, Brown, Purple, Red, Green, or any other color of the spectrum.
  • Younger in age.
  • Older in age.
  • Born domestically, in America.
  • Born in a foreign country.
  • Upper class or affluent.
  • Unemployed or Employed.
  • From the inner city.
  • From a quiet suburb.
  • Happy or excited.
  • Sad or depressed.
  • Anxious or experiencing anxiety.
  • Mellow or calm in emotion.
  • Responsible and trustworthy to others.
  • Highly intelligent.
  • High achieving, aka perfectionists.
  • Stuck in a dead end job.
  • A human being.

Although addiction is an equal opportunity offender, there are certain traits that increase a person’s risk of becoming addicted, like having a parent who is/was an addict or alcoholic, growing up in an environment where drug and alcohol use was a common occurrence or underlying psychological issues that can cause people to self-medicate.

Common Drugs People Get Addicted To

  • Alcohol
  • Painkillers
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Oxycodone
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Amphetamines
  • Adderall
  • Hydrocodone
  • Crystal Meth
  • Marijuana
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan
  • Crystal-Meth
  • Heroin
  • Crack-Cocaine
  • Methadone/Suboxone

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

Many studies have suggested that in general, addicts and alcoholics are actually very intelligent, and have high IQ’s when compared to those who aren’t addicted, but that does not mean that intelligent people can’t do dumb or bad things. Alternatively, it also doesn’t mean that those with a lower than average IQ cannot become an addict or alcoholic.

If you suspect a loved one of abusing alcohol and/or drugs, there are certain behavior traits to look for, however always keep in mind that addicts and alcoholics are very sneaky. Some things to look for include:

  • Disinterest in things or hobbies that they used to enjoy
  • Acting distant
  • Behavior changes in general
  • Missing money or valuables around the house
  • Them waking up sick but feeling fine later in the day
  • Constantly asking for money for different things
  • Having no recollection of conversations or events that happened recently
  • Hanging out with a new group of friends
  • Change in hygienic behaviors; either bathing less than normal or more than normal. If they are showering more than normal, it could be a method for them to conceal their drug use.
  • Finding paraphernalia (like small baggies or sandwich bags, needles, aluminum foil, lighters when they don’t smoke, cut up straws, bloodstained scarves or bandanas, etc.) around their home, in their pockets, in their purse or backpack, or in their car.

These signs are not all-inclusive or exclusive. A high functioning alcoholic or addict may not exhibit any of these behaviors or not any that you notice.

What are the Treatment Options for an Addicted Person?

Don’t be scared, there are quality, affordable treatment options available for every unique individual’s situation. While we typically suggest an inpatient or a residential treatment program as that’s where we’ve seen the best results, there are other levels of care as well.

In a residential program, patients live in a closed, supervised environment, although no one is ever held against their will and patients are free to leave at any time. Treatment is not a punishment, but rather a gift. If you’re reading this today, you’ve already been given the gift of desperation, whether it’s for yourself or for a loved one.

For a more detailed guide to addiction treatment options, see our Treatment Services page.

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Are You Addicted? Unsure If You Need Rehab?

Relax…We Can Help.

Many times people don’t seek help for a drug problem unless outside intervention occurs. The disease of addiction has a strong denial component that can stop you from realizing the severity of your problem before it’s too late. Don’t lose anything else to addiction. We can teach you how to get high on life, without the use of substances. Pick up the phone and call us, fill out the form above, or if you prefer, send us a confidential text message. One of our caring admissions coordinators will contact you immediately.

Don’t Wait for Tomorrow. Start Over Today.

How Rise in Malibu Can Help You Live Your Best Life — Clean and Sober

Some say that addiction is a lifelong disease, with it going into remission whenever the person addicted is clean and sober. Some say that addiction is a choice until you put that first drink or drug in your body. And then there are still the holdouts who refuse to acknowledge that addiction is a medical condition at all; these are typically the same people who believe you can “just quit” whenever you want.

Here at Rise in Malibu, we’ve been there and done that and we understand what you’re feeling — whether you’re the addict or the loved one of an addict. We understand the stigma out there and work hard to break it every day.

You don’t have to feel this way any longer. Help is out there and it is within reach. Call us now at 1-866-229-5267 to find out more about substance abuse, addiction, and treatment options.

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