The official diagnosis of drug addiction by the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (2000), which makes distinctions between drug use, abuse, and substance dependence, is flawed. First, diagnosis of drug use versus abuse can be arbitrary and reflect cultural norms, not medical phenomena. Second, the term substance dependence implies that dependence is the primary pharmacologic phenomenon underlying addiction, which is likely not true, as tolerance, sensitization, and learning and memory also play central roles. It is ironic and unfortunate that the Manual avoids use of the term addiction, which provides the best description of the clinical syndrome.
How the drug is taken. Smoking a drug or injecting it into a vein increases its addictive potential.33,34 Both smoked and injected drugs enter the brain within seconds, producing a powerful rush of pleasure. However, this intense high can fade within a few minutes. Scientists believe this starkly felt contrast drives some people to repeated drug taking in an attempt to recapture the fleeting pleasurable state.
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction.
In many cases, symptoms of the mental health disorder appear first. As they become more and more overwhelming, the patient may attempt to “treat” those symptoms by using different drugs. For example, a patient who struggles with depression may attempt to improve their mood by taking heroin or prescription drugs. Patients who are living with anxiety may try to calm themselves by smoking marijuana. Conversely, someone dealing with an eating disorder may attempt to further their weight loss attempts by abusing stimulant drugs like cocaine or crystal meth.
As discussed in part above, many of these rehab center options require that clients apply and be accepted to the programs based on certain qualifications. For free rehab, the main qualifying factor is usually a demonstrated inability to pay. Other qualifications may include residence in the state where treatment is provided, certain social qualifiers, such as being pregnant or a veteran, or being a member of the faith community that runs a faith-based rehab.
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1