Drug addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease characterised by drug seeking and use that is compulsive and difficult to control, despite harmful consequences to the individual and their family.

Addicts often believe that they could ‘quit’ at any time and that they are in control of their addiction. Many spend years trying to break the habit on their own, with constant and chronic relapses. Breaking free from the hold of addiction often requires outside help.


Addiction is a chronic disease characterised by drug abuse/substance abuse that is compulsive and difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.

Drug abuse affects people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic statuses. Whatever the reason a person starts taking drugs, dependency can develop quickly and when tolerance becomes full-blown addiction, it can be extremely difficult to stop the pattern of abuse.

Addicts often believe they can ‘quit’ at any time and that they are in control of their addiction. Many spend years trying to break the habit on their own, with constant and chronic relapses. Breaking free from the hold of addiction often requires outside help.

Drug abuse wreaks havoc on the body and mind and can eventually kill. If you believe that you or someone you love has a problem, it’s essential to reach out and get support.

Abuse of most substances will produce noticeable signs and symptoms. These may include physical or behavioural symptoms, most likely both. South Pacific Private specialises in the integrated and holistic treatment of drug addiction.

Some of the most common types of drug addiction we treat are:

  1. Cannabis
  2. Cocaine
  3. Amphetamines/Ice/Speed/Crystal/Base
  4. Prescription drugs e.g. Codeine and Benzodiazepenes
  5. Heroin

Each of these drugs creates their own set of problems, negative consequences, and pathway to dependency. At South Pacific Private an individual treatment plan is developed for every client to support them through a detox, if that is necessary, and a comprehensive program to help you gain insight about why the dependency developed, and skills to live your life without using drugs.


While there are many similarities about each person’s pathway into addiction, there are also significant differences in the way the drug weaves its 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 and increasing tolerance – the process of developing patterns of using drugs which become normalised in your life. For example, getting ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ with your mates every weekend
  3. Dependency and impaired control – the process of becoming dependent on using your drug of choice to manage some aspects of your life. You may experience 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

Drug abuse negatively affects both a person’s behaviour and habits as he or she becomes more dependent on the drug but also their physical appearance as the abuse begins to take a physical toll.

Signs to watch out for could include:

  • Increased aggression or irritability
  • Weight changes
  • Paranoia or anxiety
  • Dark shadows around the eyes and a difficulty with sleep
  • Changes in attitude/personality
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Sudden changes in a social network
  • Dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities
  • Financial problems
  • Lying, stealing or denial of activities
  • Involvement in criminal activity

If you are regularly using a substance to escape emotionally…If you are neglecting responsibilities with your family or friends…If you are struggling to focus at work or have lost your job…If you are facing relationship problems (such as arguments with your partner because of what you are doing)…Or if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are not using or are losing control over your substance use…then you may have a problem.

Please reach out for support and to discuss how you can get help in this situation.

Do I have a problem with addiction? If any of these signs resonate – you can do this quick drug addiction test to raise your awareness.


If you’re ready to admit you have a problem, you’ve already taken the first step. It takes tremendous courage to face an addiction head-on.

The next step is for you to reach out for support. Support is essential and you do not need to struggle alone.

Treatment for drug addiction, and the impact it has had on your life and relationships, requires specialist support and is not something to undertake on your own. A feature of the problem is that you will have tried to deal with it on your own for a long time before seeking help, usually with limited success.

Recovering from addiction is much easier when you have the support of a therapeutic community of people who you can lean on for encouragement, guidance and honest feedback. Without this support, it’s easy to fall back into old patterns when you are triggered or when you transition back into your daily life after treatment.

In order to stay free from your addiction for the long term, you’ll also have to face the underlying problems that may have led to your behaviour in the first place.

Treatment at South Pacific Private involves group therapy as well as input from an experienced multi-disciplinary team (such as GPs and Psychiatrists). The team will support you but also guide you through a process of awareness to face those problems. Those problems could include depression, unresolved trauma, or any number of mental health concerns.

Phone or email the Client Care Team on 1800 063 332 / info@southpacificprivate.com.au

South Pacific Private is here to help when you or someone you love experiences difficulties with addictions, trauma or with mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety.

PETER: I was medicating my pain and using chemicals to ensure that would happen… I reached the stage where the drugs weren’t working anymore and I arrived at South Pacific Private in a state of complete despair.


Find out if you have a problem

The goal of our self-tests is not to provide you with a diagnosis for yourself or for someone you care about. Instead, they are an opportunity for you to better understand how a behaviour might be impacting upon your life or the life of your family. Use these tests to enhance your awareness of what the problem might be. These tests should be answered honestly in order to provide accurate insight and are a chance for you to reflect upon the current situation.


Find out if you have a problem.
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