By |Categories: Health & Wellness|Last Updated: June 6, 2024|

Understanding Drug Addiction Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is when you compulsively seek out a drug even knowing it can damage your health and well-being. It’s important to know that addiction and abuse or not the same thing. The first time you use a drug may be voluntarily but repeated drug use can alter your brain. These alterations can create strong urges to find the drug again and can interfere with your ability to resist or say “no” to them. In order to know how to help with addiction, you first need information on understanding drug addiction. 

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction, or substance use disorder, is a medical condition that needs professional help. The first step in understanding drug addiction is to not look down on it or think of it as a “fake” disorder. Drug addiction is not a moral failing. Everyone has the potential to recover from this disorder. There are multiple treatment programs that will offer amazing chances at life-long recovery. 

What is the Difference Between Addiction and Dependency?

A physical dependency occurs when your body physically adapts to the presence of a certain substance. Constantly using a substance makes your brain respond. It will begin to decrease the production of certain chemicals to return the levels to normal. 

The ‘high’ that is experienced when you take a drug is due to an abnormal amount of chemicals in your brain. As your brain decreases production, it’ll take higher doses of the drug to experience the same high. The brain will continue to reduce its production. 

When this happens, you will seek out the drug in order to feel normal again. If you stop taking it suddenly, your body will not be able to function properly and you’ll begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. 

Physical dependence is a condition characterized by increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Addiction is the compulsive seeking of a substance, characterized by certain thought patterns and behaviors. 

Risk Factors for Addiction

There are a number of different factors that can make addiction worse in an individual. These are a few of the important factors to consider:


The earlier you start using drugs, the higher chance of developing a drug addiction. However, you’re never too young to recover. Early intervention is the best way to a successful recovery. 


If a close family member has an addiction, it will be easier for you to develop one. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has found that genetics can be the most significant factor in developing an addiction

Mental Disorders

Those who have an addiction often have a co-occurring mental disorder such as depression or anxiety. Drugs can seem like a good escape for people like this, but they will only make the conditions worse in the long term. 


Trauma is something that can come in many different forms. Anything that creates uneasiness or stress in the body and mind can be seen as traumatic. This can be physical illness to child abuse. 

Trauma can have long-lasting effects on someone. It can often make us feel like we’re in danger when we aren’t. People will often use drugs to mask the challenging feelings they face. 

Is Drug Addiction a Mental Disorder?

Drug addiction can affect the way we live and the relationships we have with family, friends, and loved ones. Occasional mental disorders can appear from time to time. Chronic disorders persist for a long period of time. 

Drug addiction is considered a chronic mental disorder. Repeated use of drugs will change how our brains work. This affects our moods, thinking, and behaviors similar to other disorders. 

Illicit Substances

Drug addiction can come from both prescription drugs and illegal drugs. Below is a list of commonly abused substances:

  • Cocaine – coke, blow, sugar, snow – Stimulant 
  • Crack Cocaine – rock, hail, gravel – Simulant
  • Crystal Meth – ice, glass, crystal – Stimulant
  • Heroin – H, junk, tar, smack, dope – Depressant
  • Marijuana – weed, grass, bud, mary jane – Cannabinoid
  • Mephedrone – bath salts – Stimulant
  • Methamphetamine – crank, meth, speed, chalk – Stimulant 

Stop Drug Addiction Early

Once drug addiction has started, it can be a difficult battle. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to manage it and overcome the addiction. 

The best way to stop drug addiction is to stop it before it can begin. It can be difficult to know when someone is using drugs. The only way to know is with the use of a drug testing kit. Preferred Med Supply has drug testing cups, drug testing strips, and drug testing swaps that can help you detect drug abuse early. Put a stop to drug abuse before it’s too late. Visit our store page today to see our full inventory!

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