Addiction is a serious issue and so many questions arise that people need answers to in order to get to the bottom of what addiction really means.

Drug addiction in the United States continues to rise. Millions of adults and young adults turn to drugs, sometimes recreationally and sometimes as a crutch for their problems. While one may start using drugs and initially feels better, drug use over time creates issues that never existed before. Understanding drug addiction and the massive impact on people and society is important for someone who is addicted.

Finding help for drug addiction starts by understanding what it truly is, various symptoms of the disease, and how it impacts the individual and the people around them.

Drugs of Choice

Americans have been educated about the impact of drug addiction for many, many years. Nevertheless, millions of Americans still try marijuana, alcohol, or cocaine for the first time every single year. For some people with a substance use disorder, it took a short time to move from experimentation to addiction to needing a recovery treatment program to stop using.

Some of the most commonly abused drugs include:

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Since 2002, the use of illicit drugs has continued to be on the rise. Illegal drugs include depressants, hallucinogens, marijuana, opioids, and stimulants. Opioid and opiate drug addiction has seen a massive jump in the United States in the last several years due to prescription pain killers. Many people start using a prescription to relieve pain and develop a dependence on opioids to function from day-to-day.

Drug Abuse Basics

Drug abuse is widespread in the United States and beyond. While this many know this, putting a number to the rates and frequencies of drug use helps to put things into perspective. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collects data about drug addiction. The following are some notable statistics taken from a 2016 study:

  • 28.6 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days
  • Among people aged 12 or older, 24.0 million were current marijuana users, and 3.3 million were current misusers of prescription pain relievers.
  • An estimated 11.8 million people misused opioids in the past year, including 11.5 million pain reliever misusers and 948,000 heroin users.
  • Approximately 20.1 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year, including 15.1 million people who had an alcohol use disorder and 7.4 million people who had an illicit drug use disorder.
  • An estimated 21.0 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment

These drug abuse statistics point out the growing, universal problem with drugs in the United States. As more and more individuals struggle with substance use disorder, the need for drug addiction rehab increases.

Signs of Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a silent killer. While many think recognizing a drug addiction is easy, far too many individuals realize that a loved one is suffering until long after the addiction has begun. The signs and symptoms linked to drug addiction vary based on the drug of choice, but there are a few common signs of addiction. Generally speaking, drug addiction symptoms are grouped into two main categories: behavioral and physical symptoms.


  • Mood swings, sometimes aggressive.
  • Energy levels fluctuate
  • Chronic health issues become worse
  • Sudden distance from loved ones
  • Problematic new friends
  • Negative impact on personal relationships and professional life
  • Continuing drug use regardless of consequences
  • Withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • Violating personal morals and values to get drugs


  • Nausea
  • Memory issues
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Slurred speech
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Eye twitching
  • Lack of coordination
  • Problems breathing
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Recognizing the signs and symptoms linked to drug addiction is the first essential step to getting help or helping a loved one.

Drug Addiction Treatment

The disease of addiction can be extremely painful for both the person using and their loved ones. Much like any other disease, drug addiction requires intensive treatment to begin recovery. The continuum of care for addiction begins with detoxing in an accredited drug and alcohol rehab facility. From there, substance use disorder treatment at an inpatient drug rehab is recommended. There, one learns to utilize resources and tools gained by working with addiction professionals and begins their healing journey, learning to live a sober drug-free life.

Are you or a loved one struggling with a drug addiction? You are not alone. We are here for you, and we are here to help.