Addiction — both to prescription and street drugs — is a growing problem. If you’re worried that you or a loved one may have an addiction, there are signs to help you know.
You may have an addiction to prescription drugs if:
- You’re not using medications in the way they’re prescribed. You take larger doses or take the drug more often than the prescription calls for. Or you use the medicine in a form not prescribed, such as crushing pills.
- You go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same drug or problem.
- You use meds prescribed for other people.
- You avoid telling the doctor about all the drugs you’re taking.
- You keep taking a drug after it’s no longer needed for a health problem.
- You look in other people’s medicine cabinets for drugs to take.
- You take prescribed meds with alcohol or other drugs.
Other signs you may have a drug problem:
- You need more and more of a substance to get the same effects (called “tolerance”), and you can take more before you feel an effect.
- You feel strange when the drug wears off. You may be shaky, depressed, sick to your stomach, sweat, or have headaches. You may also be tired or not hungry. In severe cases, you could even be confused, have seizures, or run a fever.
- You can’t stop yourself from using the drug, even if you want to. You are still using even though it’s making bad things happen in your life, like trouble with friends, family, work, or the law.
- You spend a lot of your time thinking about the drug: how to get more when you’ll take it, how good you feel, or how bad you feel afterward.
- You have a hard time giving yourself limits. You might say you’ll only use “so much” but then can’t stop and end up using twice that amount. Or you use it more often than you meant to.
- You’ve lost interest in things you once liked to do.
- You’ve begun having trouble doing normal daily things, like cooking or working.
- You drive or do other dangerous things (like use heavy machines) when you are on the drug.
- You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs.
- You hide the drug use or the effect it is having on you from others.
- You’re having trouble getting along with co-workers, teachers, friends, or family members. They complain more about how you act or how you’ve changed.
- You sleep too much or too little, compared to how you used to. Or you eat a lot more or a lot less than before.
- You look different. You may have bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakes or tremors, frequent bloody noses, or you may have gained or lost weight.
- You have a new set of friends with whom you do drugs and go to different places to use the drugs.
Signs someone else is addicted:
- Changes in personality and behavior like a lack of motivation, irritability, and agitation
- Bloodshot eyes and frequent bloody noses
- Shakes, tremors, or slurred speech
- Change in their daily routines
- Lack of concern for personal hygiene
- Unusual need for money; financial problems
- Changes in friends and activities
If you think you or someone you know has a problem, seek help right away. The sooner an addict gets help, the better. Reach out to a drug rehabilitation program in your area for help.
Treatment for drug abuse or dependence usually includes group therapy, one or more types of counseling, and drug education. A 12-step program is often part of treatment and continues afterward as part of your recovery.
Treatment doesn’t just deal with drugs. It helps you take control of your life so you don’t have to depend on drugs. You’ll learn good reasons to quit drugs. Staying drug-free is a lifelong process that takes commitment and effort.
You might start with psychiatrist in Punjabi Bagh,Paschim Vihar, Delhi, or your doctor may recommend that you enter a treatment facility. A friend could bring you to a self-help group, such as Narcotics Anonymous, or you might walk into a clinic that deals with drug abuse.
You may have a treatment team to help you. This team may include a psychologist or psychiatrist, counselors, doctors, social workers, nurses, and a case manager. A case manager helps plan and manage your treatment.
You may be asked questions about your drug use, health problems, work, and living situation. Be open and honest to get the best treatment possible. Your team may write a plan, which includes your treatment goals and ways to reach those goals. This helps you stay on track.
Your psychiatrist in Paschim Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Delhi may decide you need medical care to manage withdrawal symptoms when you first quit using drugs. This is sometimes called detoxification, or detox.
People who are dependent on drugs often have to go to a hospital or treatment facility. Detox usually is done under the care of a doctor, because withdrawal can be dangerous without medical care. A psychiatrist in Delhi may prescribe medicines to help with withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment for a drug problem usually involves one or more types of therapy.
- In group therapy, you talk about your recovery with other people who are trying to quit.
- In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), you learn to change the thoughts and actions that make you more likely to use drugs.
- With motivational interviewing (MI), you resolve mixed feelings you have about quitting and getting treatment.
- Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) uses motivational interviewing to help you find a motivation to quit and get you started toward recovery.
- Couples or family counseling can help you to stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and improve your relationships with your partner and family.
Treatment usually includes going to a support group, such as going to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. Your family members might also want to attend a support group such as Nar-Anon.
You may take medicines to help you quit or to help you overcome withdrawal symptoms. Medicines often are used for addiction to opiate drugs like heroin or certain painkillers. Medicines that can help you include methadone (such as Dolophine) or naltrexone.
Treatment programs can be outpatient, inpatient, or residential. They offer similar therapies. Your treatment team can help you decide which type of program is best for you.
- In outpatient treatment, you regularly go to a mental health clinic, a counselor’s office, a hospital clinic, or a local health department for treatment.
- In inpatient treatment, you stay at a hospital and have therapies during the day or evening. You most likely will then go to outpatient therapy.
- Residential treatment provides a place for you to live for 6 months or more while you recover. You get therapy and 24-hour care.
Some treatment programs give rewards, called vouchers when you stay off drugs. The rewards may get bigger when you go for a long time without drugs.
Many programs give regular drug tests while you go through treatment. Knowing that you will be tested can make you more likely to resist your cravings.
What to think about
People with drug problems often have other problems. They may need other treatments, or other resources may be available to help them with the drug problem.
- If you have a drug problem and a mental health problem, you will need treatment for both problems. Doctors call this a dual diagnosis.
- Older adults also may have drug problems because of misuse of prescription medicines such as painkillers or sleeping pills.
- Drug abuse in the military is like drug abuse in the general population. But there may be other concerns, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or military sexual trauma.
- Some people are sent to drug treatment because of a court decision. This may happen if you have a drug problem and you commit a crime. A court may require treatment and then keep track of your progress. Treatment often is available in prison.
Dr. Prashant Goyal, psychiatrist in Punjabi Bagh, Paschim Vihar, gives consultation for drug deaddiction at Sri Balaji Action Hospital.