Introduction to Drug & Alcohol Addiction

We all have our own unique vices. Most of the time, we are able to control these vices. Sometimes, however, these vices can begin to control us. A lot of times, we lose control when we are stressed. For instance, many people turn to comfort foods when life gets a little overwhelming. This is usually harmless, though the same cannot be said for everyone’s vices. Unfortunately, the problem of substance abuse is a lot more dangerous than a heaping portion of your favorite comfort food. One of the problems with illicit drug use is that the line between occasional use and dependence is not clearly defined, and therefore many people who think they may have their drug use under control are disillusioned. Drug addiction is a dangerous, life-threatening path that can spiral out of control very easily.

Types & Causes of Addiction

Addiction comes in all shapes and sizes. Everyone suffering from substance abuse has their own unique background, and their addictions manifest in ways that are specific only to them. The types of substances that people abuse are almost innumerable. Alcohol is particularly dangerous, as it is a legal and readily available substance, and the determination between social drinking and alcoholism can be difficult to determine. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, are chemically addictive and may present more obvious symptoms in the people they hold captive. Often, addictions come in pairs—it is very common for people that abuse one substance to also experiment with other drugs.

The causes of addiction are as varied as the substances that people abuse. Some people turn to substances following traumatic experiences or an increase in their stress levels. Additionally, 34% of Americans with addictions have a mental illness. Without proper treatment, a mental illness may create an environment conducive to drug abuse.

It is important to remember that there is no one cause that leads to addiction—it is a complex problem that is not the same for any two people. Similarly, addictions will manifest in each person differently. Both of these facts also play a large role in the approach to recovery from addiction.

how to get help for drug addiction

Recognizing Addiction

Just like each addiction is unique, so are the symptoms of addiction that each individual will display. There are a variety of both physical and behavioral signs of addiction. Below are some of the symptoms to watch out for:


Physical Symptoms: Behavioral Symptoms:
  • Increased drug tolerance (can lead to overdose)
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Dramatic changes in habits or priorities
  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Aggression or irritability
  • Rapid weight change
  • Change in attitude or personality
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Criminal activity
  • Bruises or infections near drug entrance point
  • Depression
  • Change in social network
  • Financial problems


If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one that you suspect may have an addiction, keep an eye out for other warning signs. If you can catch an addiction early on, recovery will likely be easier. More importantly, addiction can be life-threatening, and treating it as soon as possible is crucial to the well-being of either yourself or your loved one.

Seeking Addiction Help

Addiction is a dark, dangerous problem that affects over 20 million Americans. Fortunately, there is help readily available to help people tackle the elaborate struggle of substance abuse. Trying to overcome addiction alone is nearly impossible, so having a support system is crucial to recovering successfully.

One of the most effective ways to confront addiction is through a rehabilitation center. These rehab centers are run by teams of experienced professionals. In a rehab center, patients are given the tools they need to break the cycle of addiction as well as the skills needed to take control back of their lives. The staff of rehab centers acknowledge the differences between every addiction and work with their patients to build customized treatment programs.


In this modern age, it seems that everyday life is more stressful than ever. While we all have our own ways of dealing with this stress, some of these methods may be very dangerous. If you or a loved one are turning to substance abuse as a way of coping with life, it can very quickly lead to a serious addiction. These addictions can be attributed to a variety of substances, such as alcohol or illicit drugs. If you recognize any of the symptoms of substance abuse in yourself or a loved one, please seek help immediately. A life depends on it!