Shedding Light on the Definition of Drug Addiction

We hear the word addiction frequently in modern culture, but the true definition of drug addiction likely remains elusive to many people.

Anyone who is concerned about how substance use is affecting their own well-being or the well-being of a loved one may find value in the simple awareness that drug addiction is, by definition, the compulsive use of one's drug(s) of choice, regardless of undesirable consequences. Starting from this place of understanding is the first step towards recognizing that you or a family member may indeed be addicted to one or more substances and be in need of outside help.

Substance Use Disorder - a Medical Term for Drug Addiction

Within the medical community, the term "Substance Use Disorder" is normally used in place of "drug addiction".  Regardless of the type of drug(s) used (which may include both legal and/or illegal drugs), people suffering from substance use disorder display a number of symptoms that can each be classified into one of the four following groups:
1.    Impaired control - many drug users have a strong desire to eliminate or cut back on the usage of their drug(s) of choice but are unable to do so on their own due to the intense cravings and urges to keep using the substance(s). Because drugs cause chemical changes in the brain of the user, he or she no longer has a normal level of control over their own actions and choices.
2.    Social impairment - if you or a loved one have begun to forgo important social, recreational, or job related events due to the desire to use or the effects of using the substance(s) of your choice, you are fulfilling a key aspect of the definition of drug addiction.
3.    Risky use - serious consequences can result from drug addiction including detrimental health effects, shattered relationships, loss of employment, and legal consequences. People suffering from substance use disorder are generally aware that these undesired results are occurring but feel compelled to continue using the drug(s) nonetheless. 
4.    Pharmacological criteria - the definition of drug addiction includes tolerance to a drug which has occurred when you must use higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect as you once achieved with lower doses. Withdrawal symptoms often also develop over time when the body has become so accustomed to the presence of the drug that the drug itself is needed to avoid or relieve unpleasant withdrawal symptoms (which vary from drug to drug).

Contemplating the Definition of Drug Addiction

As you contemplate the way the medical community views a drug addiction by definition, you may be able to see aspects of your behavior in a new light. Substance abuse disorder is a common condition that affects millions of people, but because drugs change the structure and functioning of your brain itself, it is often difficult for individuals to realize how deeply they have fallen into a pattern of addiction before the exterior consequences in life become extreme. In the medical definition for drug addiction, this condition is actually considered a brain disease which is why the majority of sufferers need outside assistance before they are able to return to a normal lifestyle.

Moffitt Wellness Retreat: A Luxury Rehab Facility to Help You Take Your Life Back

Sometimes, something as simple as understanding the definition of drug addiction is enough to wake you up to the realization that your life has spiraled out of control. If you or a loved one has reached a point where you would like to return to a normal, healthy lifestyle free from substance abuse, Moffitt Wellness Retreat can assist you at our luxury rehabilitation facility located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Call us at 1.713.907.5632 or complete this request form to schedule a complimentary drug and alcohol rehab consultation.