Most people who are addicted can’t stop using drugs just because they want to. They won’t feel okay until their bodies and brains stop feeling a need for the drug. Sometimes medicines can make it easier to stop using the drug without feeling sick.
But getting the drug out of a person’s system is just the first stage of treatment.
People with addictions also need to change how they do things so they can live healthy lives again without drugs.
When they used drugs, they became so focused on getting and using drugs that:
- They did not care for their family, their work, or their community. People with addictions often are in a lot of trouble for breaking rules and not keeping their promises.
- They did not look after their health. People with addictions might not be eating or sleeping well, cleaning their teeth, or getting treated for infections. Their drug use might have caused health problems.
- Things they used to enjoy no longer make them feel good. When people are on drugs, they stop caring about hobbies, interests, and friends.
Talking with doctors or counselors (people trained to listen and help you solve personal problems) or other people in treatment can help.
If you can’t stop taking a drug even if you want to, or if the urge to use drugs is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm, you might be addicted. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you think about drugs a lot?
- Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn’t?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
- Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
- Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
- Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
- Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
- Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
- Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?
If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, you might have an addiction. People from all backgrounds can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.