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What Does Drug Dependence Mean? – A Detailed Look at Physical Dependence, Types of Drug Dependence, Symptoms, and Treatment Plans

Millions of individuals find themselves unable to let go of consuming specific drugs. The APA (American Psychiatric Association) refers to this as “Substance Use Disorder” or SUD. In this article, we will shed light on what drug dependence is, its mental and physical symptoms, how reliance on a substance is dangerous, and most importantly, the options available for treatment. Read on to learn about and uncover the answer to the question of what does drug dependence means:

What Does Drug Dependence Means: Understanding What Drug Dependence Is

Drug dependence takes place when an individual requires a drug in order to function regularly. Addicted individuals generally consume illicit drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, opioid, alcohol, etc., to feel good. The body of drug users might react very strongly if they do not take drugs. 

Drug Dependence’s Definition & Causes

Drug dependence refers to a chronic disease which occurs when an individual is unable to stop consuming drugs even if it harms their body, causes various mental health disorders, and affects life as a whole. It develops after continuous and excessive usage of psychoactive substances. 

Individuals suffering from this issue feel a longing for the drug in order to avoid feeling worse, or more importantly, to feel okay or normal. This intense craving can assume control of their life. 

Multiple factors pave the way towards drug dependence. Having loved ones addicted to drugs amplifies the risk of causing drug dependence. Being around areas where the distribution or sale of illegal drugs is common also plays a major role. 

Additionally, facing issues related to mental health such as anxiety, depression,etc., makes certain individuals more likely to get hooked on consuming drugs. These causes blend together, thereby making it tough for people to let go of or break free from dependency’s loop without proper help. Some people may take a long time to recover, but there is always hope for anyone struggling with drug dependence.

Symptoms & Signs of Drug Dependence and Drug Abuse

Individuals experiencing drug dependence indicate changes both in terms of behavior and physical habits. They might feel anxious, confused, or depressed. Weakness in muscles, frequent nightmares, body aches, are some of the most common symptoms. Drug abuse can lead to more serious issues as well. 

Besides this, excessive sweating, nausea, as well as vomiting might occur when they stop consuming the drugs they are addicted to. All of these symptoms of drug dependence point towards their bodies adjusting in the absence of the substance. Support from reputed treatment centers with experienced medical professionals helps them in such tough times.  

Differences Between Drug Dependence, Tolerance, and Drug Addiction | Dependence vs Addiction

Drug dependence, tolerance, as well as addiction are different medical conditions which are directly in relation with substance use. Drug dependence occurs when the body of an individual gets addicted to a drug, and requires it to function normally. Physical symptoms of withdrawal often occur when the drug consumption stops.

When non-consumption causes physical symptoms, the urge to consume becomes more and more. Tolerance develops with time as a substance’s initial dosage becomes less effective, thereby leading users towards consuming a higher amount to re-achieve the same effect. Addiction refers to a chronic condition or disorder which is highlighted by compulsive seekers and users of one or more drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc., despite experiencing harmful consequences. 

Dependence & tolerance can exist together at the same time without addiction; however, it is important to note that in some cases, they add to highly addictive behaviors. An individual may develop tolerance besides dependence because of the medications prescribed without any desire for enhanced dosages or consumption for recreational purposes. 

Addiction includes psychological urges – the inability to keep substance abuse in control even when experiencing health issues, as well as social or legal consequences. Moreover, substance abuse can lead to dependence. 

Different Kinds of Substance & Drug Dependence

Different kinds of drugs may include the tendecies of leading to drug dependence, each of which come with their own set of challenges. Individuals struggle with alcohol usage, opioid dependence and addiction, etc. Let’s take a detailed look at the different kinds of drug dependence:

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence refers to having an intense desire to consume alcohol even if it causes harm. Individuals suffering from this condition might find it tough to keep their drinking habits in check. They often continue drinking despite facing major health problems, relationship issues, or even legal troubles. This kind of drug dependence can begin from merely trying out alcohol during the initial years of teenage. 

Cannabis Dependence

Cannabis dependence includes frequent usage of marijuana, thereby causing physical and mental issues. Individuals suffering from cannabis dependence find it extremely difficult to stop consuming even when it leads to dependence based problems in their lives. Symptoms of this form of drug dependence include anxiety, depression, withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, etc.

Cocaine Dependence

Becoming dependent on cocaine highlights a serious issue or condition wherein the neurological functions and capabilities of the brain get heavily affected due to excessive cocaine usage. This form of dependency triggers strong drug cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms if the affected individual stops consumption.It goes together with cocaine addiction, shedding light on how seriously it can affect the life of an individual. 

Factors Leading To Drug Dependence

Numerous factors compel individuals to go towards drug dependence. Here is an in-depth look at some of them:

Family’s Addiction History

Having a strong addiction history in the family seriously enhances drug dependence’s risk. Addiction is a chronic condition. If the parents or close relatives of an individual have had addiction issues in the past, it increases the chances of the individual experiencing the same. 

This is mainly because genetic factors hold the power to influence how likely a person is to experience or develop SUD. It is known that the genes of an individual play a major role in making them susceptible to developing drug dependence. 

Understanding the family history of a person aids in the identification of high potential risks for the development of similar problems. Having knowledge of such risks facilitates individuals as well as healthcare professionals to conveniently face or tackle the factors at the earliest, possibly preventing the development of drug dependence. 

Moreover, identifying the crucial role of the family history facilitates in the creation of targeted approaches of addiction treatment as well as prevention, thereby ultimately providing support to those who are at an increased risk because of their genetic background. 

Easy Accessibility to Illegal Drugs

Residing near areas where illegal drugs are easily available on sale makes it very convenient for individuals to get hold of them. This easy accessibility holds the potential to compel more individuals to try out and use drugs or alcohol, or other problematic substances. It becomes a massive reason why some people begin depending on drugs. Moreover, this also becomes a factor which contributes to relapse and overdose. 

Communities with lots of activities in the realm of drugs face elevated risks of addiction amongst their members. Efforts to keep the availability of illegal drugs in control can aid in the reduction of new users. Minimizing access is a vital step in battling drug dependence and limit the amount of people with drug dependence.

Mental Health Condition History

Mental health conditions and issues have been synonymous with drug dependence for a long time. History clearly indicates that individuals suffering from disorders such as anxiety or depression are highly likely to get addicted to harmful substances. This connection indicates that addressing issues related to mental health is important for the treatment of drug addiction. 

The NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) sheds light on the fact that approximately 22.70 U.S. citizens suffer from substance-related issues in addition to mental health problems. Effective treatment as well as rehabilitation for dependence on drugs is a must to tackle such underlying psychological problems to aid individuals in their recovery process. 

Drug Dependence Treatment Options

A plethora of choices exist for the treatment of drug dependence, offering a ray of hope and support for those in need. Both medical as well as psychological help are vital parts of recovery. Proper treatments guide individuals suffering from drug dependence towards a better life. Here are some common treatment options:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment aids individuals who are struggling with drug dependency. This form of treatment provides a strong system of support along with structured care in a homely setting. Patients reside at the treatment center’s facility for a specific period of time, receiving detoxification programs, therapy and counseling sessions, performing prescribed use of drugs, and most importantly, medical care, in order to help them in stopping the usage of drugs and beginning their recovery journey. 

This kind of treatment gives rise to a properly-controlled environment where individuals can completely focus on getting stronger and better without any distractions or temptations. It is perfect for those who require round-the-clock as well as emergency care in order to overcome drug dependence. 

Staff members offer constant help and support. Moreover, they also track patients’ progress closely and make changes to the treatment plans as and when required to make sure that they achieve the best-possible outcome for every individual. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows individuals to seek help for drug dependence without leaving their homes, i.e., they can get help while residing at their own home. This kind of treatment is perfect for those who wish to get help white keeping up with their daily lives. 

In this kind of treatment, patients meet therapists frequently. However, they do not reside overnight at the treatment center. They learn and develop skills for the management of their dependence on substances, stress, as well as triggers which lead to drug use. Outpatient care supports the process of recovery while giving patients the option to maintain their regular routine. 

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment provides a highly-supportive environment for the management of drug dependence. This kind of treatment includes numerous types of therapies such as dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many similar ones. 

In this form of care, patients reside at the treatment center’s facility while they get treatment. They also take part in group therapy sessions, which aids them in understanding their struggles related to drug use and the fact that they are not alone. 

Final Thoughts

Drug dependence alters lives, and the first step towards getting healthy and recovering from it is understanding it. Knowing the signs as well as symptoms facilitates in getting early help and treatment. With numerous types of treatments readily available, recovery becomes a very reachable target for those struggling.

Seeking help from professionals and support from close ones plays a major role in overcoming the problems related to drugs. The journey may be long and hard, but with the right treatment plan and help, individuals can reconstruct their entire lives and break free from the shackles of drug dependence. 

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