Mistakes That Lead to Drug Addiction?
Mistakes That Lead to Drug Addiction? Unfortunately, there’s no single simple answer—and “mistakes” are not necessarily what is the root cause of drug abuse.
The circumstances leading up to drug abuse or drug addiction can be varied and complex. There is a psychological and physical component to the issue.
What may normally be harmless habits and traits in some people, could potentially drive others to substance abuse that develops into addiction. Repeated use of drugs begins to change the way the brain functions. The slope is slippery, and the downward spiral can be fast and furious.
Complicating matters is that some people use recreational or prescription drugs without becoming addicted. Others can quickly experience adverse effects.
The thresholds for tolerance and dependency can vary a great deal from one person to the next—and from one substance to the next.
Drugs that people abuse and become addicted to include:
- Amphetamines – a stimulant drug used in certain legal prescription drugs, such as Adderall
- Buprenorphine – a semi-synthetic opiate painkiller
- Cocaine – an illegal stimulant drug, commonly snorted, inhaled, or injected into a vein
- Ecstasy or Molly – an illegal synthetic mind-altering drug, also known as “MDMA”
- Marijuana – a psychologically altering drug made from the dried leaves, stems, and seeds of the Cannabis plant; often referred to as the “gateway drug” because the habit of using it sometimes leads to using other drugs that are addictive
- Methadone – a legal drug often used to help relieve the pain narcotics addicts experience during withdrawal
- Methamphetamines – a highly addictive illegal version of amphetamines
- Opiates – a category of narcotic drugs that exist in the form of legal prescription opioid medications (e.g., Oxycontin and Percocet) and in the illegal form of heroin
- Phencyclidine – a highly addictive hallucinogenic drug that has been illegal in the U.S. since 1978
What Can Lead to Drug Addiction?
Some characteristics and behaviors that might predispose an individual to the disease of substance addiction include:
- A family history of addiction
- High desire to want to fit in
- Poor social skills
- Difficulty dealing with problems or stress
- Socially experimenting with drugs
- Lack of parental supervision
- Living in an impoverished community
- Having addictive drugs available – e.g., illegal drugs at school or legal (yet addictive) prescription medications at home
Symptoms of Drug Addiction
Some signs to watch for that might indicate a person has started abusing or has become addicted to drugs include:
- Change in the person’s social circle
- Abnormal level of irritability
- Personality changes
- Relationship problems
- Uncharacteristic poor work performance
- Tired all the time
- Loss of interest in activities
- Money problems
- Criminal activity
- Weight changes
- Disregard for personal hygiene
- Bruises or infections (where a drug is administered in the body)
Why Is it Important to Recognize the Warning Signs?
Drug addiction affects an individual’s health, ability to hold a job, and the quality of personal relationships.
It can manifest as poor judgment, decreased productivity, theft, employee turnover, violence, and other negative consequences.
Substance abuse puts the individual using at risk, and it can endanger others around them (e.g., when driving under the influence or when operating equipment on the job).
According to a 2014 survey by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 1 in 10 Americans (10.2 percent) uses illicit drugs.
And in 2016, more than 64,000 Americans died from overdosing on illegal drugs or prescription opioids. That’s more than double the number of overdose deaths ten years earlier.
The struggle is real and recognizing that someone has a problem is paramount. Getting them the help needed can mean the difference between life and death.
How Can Drug Testing Make a Difference?
It helps employers avoid costly hiring mistakes and ensure a drug-free workplace. It can give concerned parents peace of mind—or a head start in getting their child treatment early-on.
Proactive is better than reactive. The earlier you detect drug abuse or addiction, the sooner you can address the issue and steer the person toward recovery.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse – https://www.drugabuse.gov – February 2018
American Addictions Centers – https://americanaddictioncenters.org – February 2018
SAMSA – 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health – https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf