Drug Addiction

Are you worried about the way you, or someone you care about, is using drugs?

In our contemporary Australian culture drug addiction means different things to different people. There is widespread use of illegal drugs in communities right across the nation, and in all strata’s of society, and there are varying degrees of availability, criminality and associated harms that relate to the specific drugs. South Pacific Private has two decades of experience is treating drug addictions. Some of the most common types of drug addiction we treat are:

  1. Cannabis
  2. Cocaine
  3. Amphetamines / Ice
  4. Prescription drugs

Each of these drugs has associated common misperceptions about the potential harm resulting from their use and each creates their own set of problems and negative consequences.

While there are many similarities about each person’s pathway into addiction, there are also significant differences in the way the drug weaves it’s way into someone’s world and eventually becomes the dominant focus in their life.

Development of an addiction generally has 3 stages:

  1. Experimentation – often begins during the teenage years
  2. Habitual patterning – the process of developing patterns of using drugs which become normalized in your life – for example getting “high” or “stoned” with your mates every weekend
  3. Dependency – the process of becoming dependent on using your drug of choice to manage some aspects of your life

Drug addiction, is a cunning and baffling disease that creeps up on you over a period of time as habitual patterns of use develop and become a regular part of your life.

Your relationship with your drug of choice becomes characterised by obsession and compulsion. The obsession refers to the way you think about the drug – the time you spend thinking and planning about when and where you will use, or thinking up strategies to limit your use. The compulsion refers to loss of control over your impulse to use your drug of choice.

There are two main ways that a drug addiction presents:

  1. Regular or habitual use
    Characterised by using your drug of choice on a daily or near daily basis accompanied by the signs and symptoms below.
  2. Binge or “bender,” or “heavy episodic drug use”
    Patterns of drug taking behavior, showing episodes of heavy drug use, often with periods of drug free days or weeks between

Signs of drug addiction

  • Increasing toleranceneeding to use increasing amounts of the drug to feel the same effects.
  • Impaired control – lacking the ability to limit the amount that you use even when you have made a conscious decision to restrict your drug use.
  • Physical dependence – experiencing intense cravings for the drug and withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakes, and anxiety when you stop using. The withdrawal symptoms vary significantly depending on the drug, the degree of habitual use and individual characteristics.

Negative consequences

A strong indicator of drug addiction is when a person continues to use the drugs despite the negative consequences resulting from their use of the drug. Some of these problematic consequences may include:

  • Health consequences – the negative impact of heavy and/or long term drug use on the body are well documented and can result in death
  • Legal consequences – have you ever been in trouble with the law for behaviour occurring when you were under the influence of drugs, or have you participated in illegal activities associated with your drug use?
  • Relational consequences – have your relationships suffered as a result of your behaviour while under the influence of drugs, or as a result of your drug habit?
  • Reputational consequences – have you ever felt ashamed, or missed opportunities because of your behaviour in public while under the influence of drugs, or associated with your drug habit?
  • Financial consequences – how much has your drug habit cost you?
  • Career consequences – how has your use of drugs impacted your performance at work and prospect for career progression?
  • Spiritual consequences – how much time have you spent despairing about the way your life path is unfolding?

Addiction Realities

Recovery from a drug addiction is likely to be more successful when underlying causes and environmental factors are addressed at the same time as you stop using.

Withdrawing from a chemical addiction can be challenging, uncomfortable and even dangerous when attempting it alone. For this reason a professionally supervised detox is strongly recommended.

Addiction is a cunning, baffling and deadly disease and is most effectively treated in a therapeutic environment supported by addiction specialist health professionals.

If you would like to speak to someone who understands drug addiction, and who can discuss the your particular situation and treatment needs, we suggest that you call our assessment team who will offer a free and confidential preliminary chat, or full assessment if that is your preference.

Take the first step into treatment today by phoning or emailing our assessment team on 1800 063 332 / info@southpacificprivate.com.au