Drug addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is a medical condition that impacts a person’s brain and behaviour, resulting in an inability to control the use of legal or illegal drugs or medications. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are classified as drugs.
Despite the harm it causes, individuals with addiction continue to use these substances. Addiction can begin with experimental use of recreational drugs in social settings, and for some, it progresses to more frequent use. In the case of opioids, addiction can start with the use of prescribed medications or obtaining them from others with prescriptions.
Over time, individuals may develop tolerance, requiring larger drug doses to achieve the desired high or simply to feel normal. Attempts to quit drug use can lead to intense cravings and physical illness known as withdrawal symptoms.
People with substance use disorder may experience distorted thinking and behaviours. Changes in brain structure and function contribute to intense cravings, alterations in personality, abnormal movements, and other behavioural changes. Brain imaging studies reveal modifications in areas of the brain involved in judgement, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavioural control.
The causes of SUD are multifaceted and can vary from person to person. Here are some common factors that can contribute to the development of Substance Use Disorder :
Treatment for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) typically involves a comprehensive and individualised approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Here are some common treatment modalities and interventions used in the management of SUD :
It’s important to note that treatment plans should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs, taking into account the substance of abuse, severity of addiction, mental health status, and personal circumstances. Seeking professional help from addiction specialists, counsellors, or treatment centres is essential to receive an accurate assessment and appropriate treatment recommendations.