Stage 4: Dependence
What Does The Dependence Stage Look Like?
The 4th stage of addiction is where the individual has created a tolerance for the drug and will need considerable amounts of it to feel the effects.
The change in an individual’s behavior is the first indicator of drug dependency. Since the brain is now used to the drug in the body, it will create a craving for it that will lead to higher doses.
By giving in to the desire, the brain’s chemistry will continue to change, resulting in a feeling of “need” rather than “want.”
By creating this dependency, the body will react adversely if the drug is absent. The body will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be easily recognizable by others. Here’s what you should look out for;
- Flu-like symptoms include shivering, coldness, running nose, or a high fever.
- Feelings of depression or insomnia.
- Complaints of muscle weakness or body aches.
- Refusing to eat because of nausea or a persistent upset stomach (diarrhea/constipation).
- Nightmares, anxiety, or panic attacks.
- Body tremors, shakiness, or edginess.
- There might be some hallucinations, paranoia, or seizures in severe cases.
These symptoms are also in line with the symptoms of mental illnesses. Hence, it is essential to differentiate the two by conversing with your child before accusing them of drug abuse.
What Is The Difference Between Addiction And Dependence?
Dependency is nearly as dangerous as addiction. However, there is a thin line between the two where dependence quickly becomes an addiction.
The two can differ as follows;
Dependency: This results from the use of medication for chronic illnesses such as chronic pain, mental disorders, or even simple medicines used to regulate blood pressure or blood sugar levels.
Dependency is often noted as the drug’s physical effects on the body, such as high tolerance, adaptability, addiction-like behavior, or withdrawal symptoms. As a result, the individual will indulge in higher doses of the drug and will always be under the influence.
Addiction: It is stated as the complete dependency on drugs. At this point, the user is no longer trying to hide their addiction; they cannot stop themselves from using the substance. They no longer care about the consequences of it or the effects that it will have on their body.
They will also become less social-able and will not keep up with their education, jobs, hygiene, or any aspect of their life that will serve them. They will also experience all the symptoms of dependency.
Stage 5: Addiction
What Does It Mean To Be Addicted?
Drug addiction is often referred to as a mental disorder since the consistent use of drugs has caused a change in the brain chemistry, the brain circuits, and differences in the release of pleasure or happy hormones.
It is similar to any other chronic disease where the organ affected is no longer functioning normally and is causing harmful effects.
Addiction means that the individual can no longer stop without professional help. They now require the drug to keep themselves functioning normally. The drug is no longer want, a craving, but a need.
Individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder are compulsively looking for the next time they can use. As a result, self-control is non-existent. When drugs aren’t able to be consumed they face serious withdrawal symptoms that are incredibly painful.
For some substances, withdrawal symptoms can be deadly if they are not treated by a professional. However, with the right medications, they’ll be able to get through them at least somewhat comfortably and safely.
What Are The Signs Of Addiction?
The signs of addiction are observed through psychological and physical manifestations. They can be easily noticed by any family member or loved ones. Once you’ve picked up on these signs, it is essential to take action. It’s been said that early intervention for addiction is essential, and this is always true.
The most significant symptom is the drastic changes in mood and behavior. Here are the overall signs to look out for.
- Using drugs as an escape.
- Isolating from family or keeping secrets from them. Or changing friend groups.
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
- Issues with school or work. Failing classes or taking days off of work without notice.
- Committing crimes such as stealing to obtain drugs.
- Spending a lot of time trying to obtain drugs.
- Constantly trying to quit but are unable to stop yourself.
- Feeling depressed, anxious, angry, or irritated most of the time.
- Experiencing mood swings.
- Change in eating or sleeping habits.
- Feeling sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- An increase in drug use or dosage.
- Withdrawal symptoms include abdominal pain, shakiness, tremors, or fevers.
What does Addiction do To The Brain?
The effect the individual enjoys from substance abuse is due to the drug’s influence on the brain. After years of research, scientific evidence has proven that addiction disrupts2 three main areas of the brain;
- Basal Ganglia: It is responsible for our emotions and behavior.
- Extended Amygdala: It is responsible for our emotional comprehension and psychotic episodes.
- Prefrontal Cortex: It is responsible for our cognitive controls such as impulse, memory, attention, problem-solving, and reasoning.
These disruptions are found in the onset, development, and continuity of substance abuse disorders and can result in;
- Triggering the brain into wanting or seeking the drugs. It is similar to creating a craving for a drug.
- The brain becomes less sensitive to pleasure, meaning that the brain only considers drugs as a reward for any behavior. A lack of drugs can also result in increased stress in the brain.
- The individual will start experiencing a decline in their cognitive and control systems. They will feel more reactive to emotions, be impulsive, and lose the ability to make sound decisions, and feel as if they have no control over their actions.
How To Get My Son Or Daughter Help For Addiction?
If you notice any of the stages of addiction in your teen or young adult, it is ideal to step in as soon as possible. The earlier your child receives treatment for their addiction; the easier and long-lasting their recovery will be. Early intervention is everything.
The first step to getting help as a parent is to talk to your child. If you suspect such behavior, you should confront it in a non-aggressive manner.
Instead, try to listen to your child and understand their situation. What made them turn to drugs in the first place? Why did they feel the need to continue?
The aim of the conversation should not be to shame or blame but rather to treat your child with kindness and help them understand that the conversation is meant to bring about a positive change.
If your child is resistant to change, try to give them an incentive. Try to keep the motivation in their favor.
For example, rather than saying they will lose privileges such as driving the car, encourage them to get treatment so you can help them buy a car of their own. In most cases, incentives work for teenagers.
Before discussing with your child, it is essential to be prepared with all the necessary supporting material, starting with the rehabilitation center.
An ideal option to choose will be Cornerstone Healing Center. We are a luxury treatment center located in Arizona and provide treatments for various addictions. We also offer programs according to the severity of the patient.
 Why do Adolescents Take Drugs?
 THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF SUBSTANCE USE,
MISUSE, AND ADDICTION