Characteristics of Drug Addiction
There are a multitude of characteristics associated with drug addiction. Subsequently, there are some common characteristics of drug addiction that every addicted person has to deal with. Making compulsive decisions to use substances to cope with emotional turmoil. This includes using when emotions come up, happy highs, and sad lows. No matter the emotions, we can find a way to use it as an excuse. The compulsion to use drugs can be triggered by environmental circumstances also. Any addict knows that feeling inside when we see something that reminds us of using, or that certain place where we have used repeatedly.
Evidently, after a period of time, we begin to lose control of our using. Perhaps once we were able to use when and what we wanted, and stop when we needed. Unfortunately, over time, the drug addiction begins to grow. Thus becoming a more unknown outcome from when we first start to when and if we stop. Any person unable to stop needs help from friends or family, interventions or local detox are great options. Being trapped in an endless cycle where stopping is not an option is one of the most hopeless states one can be in.
Drug addiction brings about several consequences in our lives. Loss of jobs, failed relationships, fearful parents, guilt, shame, even homelessness can become a comfortable reality. Over my years, I have experienced all of these, and could not stop using drugs against my own will. This is not a matter of will power, this is a matter of loss of control despite consequences. Not one person I have worked with has ever said that they wanted to hurt others, or end up homeless. Meanwhile, those are the end results of drug addiction.
Cravings are an arguable characteristic of addiction. Any AA Member that is thoroughly convinced of what is inside that BIG BOOK of AA will tell you that you cannot get cravings until you put a substance into your body. Secondly, they will tell you that you can only get an obsession to use. However, science has come a long way since 1937 and no matter what addiction you suffer from, cravings are real. The brain activity that correlates to thoughts, smells, sights and so on, absolutely creates a craving. Therefore, with or without substances in your system, you are prone to cravings. Fortunately, SMART RECOVERY, which is a more scientific approach to addiction explains several ways to deal with such cravings.
Additionally, drug addiction stems from some self-defeating learned behaviours. For instance, avoidance is a common characteristic of drug addiction. In spite of our wishes to be engaged in life, we end up isolated and alone. Skipping family dinners, making excuses and cancelling at the last minute. Thus putting off the exact things that may help us climb out of the hell we are in. There are several other common characteristics of drug addiction, and several articles to learn from. Positive Psychology has a great article on how the deal with maladaptive behaviours. Although we may have these coping mechanisms, through proper counseling we can create new neuro pathways. Hence allowing us to recover from a once seemingly hopeless state.