Drug abuse and addiction
There are many different reasons why people experiment with drugs, some try drugs out of curiosity, to fit in with friends, to release feelings of anxiety, depression or to simply switch off from the pressures of life.
Drug abuse and addiction happens over a period of time. If your drug of choice is affecting your life, home, work, school, family and relationships then it is likely you have a drug abuse or an addiction problem
Addiction differs from person to person; your mental health, genes, family and social environment all play a role in addiction.
There are some risk factors that are likely to increase your vulnerability to addiction:
Family history of drug use, Abuse, neglect or other traumatic experiences in childhood, Mental health disorders, depression and anxiety and Early drug use
Drug abuse and the Brain
Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. All substances share one thing, Regular and repeated use can alter the way the brain looks and functions.
Taking a recreational drug causes a surge in levels of dopamine in your brain, which trigger feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated.
If you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviour’s, such as eating and drinking.
Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behaviour, and feel normal without drugs.
Whether you’re addicted to inhalants, heroin, Xanax, speed, or Vicodin, the uncontrollable craving to use grows more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness.
The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the addiction. You may drastically underestimate the quantity of drugs you’re taking, how much it impacts your life, and the level of control you have over your drug use.
With the right treatment and support you can gain control of your life again. Family members and loved ones often have many questions about addictions, counselling can help those in recovery and their support network.
There are many places that you can get help from, you don’t have to do this alone. Support is essential; recovering from drug addiction is much easier if you have people you can rely for comfort and encouragement.
Online Resources to Help
Places to call
Salvation Army Bridge Program (live in recovery program)
Lifeline Online Chat 8pm-12midnight
Lifeline Telephone Crisis Support (24 hours) 13 11 14
Kids Helpline (24 hours) 1800 55 1800
SANE Helpline 1800 18 SANE (7236)
Suicide Call Back Service (24 hours) 1300 659 467
Alcohol and Drug Information Service 1800 422 599
Men’s Line Australia (24 hours) 1300 789 978
NSW Poisons Information Centre 131 126
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault helpline 1800 200 526
NSW Rape Crisis Centre 24/7 Counselling 1800 424 017
Salvation Army Care Line (24 hours) 1300 363 622
Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention (24 hours)
1300 363 622
Salvation Army Hope Line for suicide bereavement support 1300 467 354
Dads in Distress DIDSS operates a 24/7 crisis line to support men around the clock and around the country1300 853 437