What Is substance addiction?
Substance abuse can lead to addiction or dependence. When addicted to a substance, the addict has to depend on the substance for his daily activities. The addict would no longer be in control of his/her own life but becomes obsessed with the next fix. If the addict does not have the money to finance the addiction, he/she is likely to lie, cheat or rob to get money to buy substances and this will lead to many other problems.
Substance addiction or dependence may take two forms:
- Physical dependenceAddicts are compelled to take the substance regularly or they would suffer from tremendous pain and discomfort. Symptoms such as restlessness, runny nose, and abdominal cramps may show depending on the substance consumed.
- Psychological dependenceAddiction also causes a psychological craving for the substance that will cause the addict to do almost anything to obtain the next fix. It is more difficult to cure this form of dependence and many ex-addicts continue to take drugs even after they are no longer physically dependent on them.
Addiction can also lead to an increased tolerance of the substances. This simply means that a person who abuses substances for pleasure regularly has to gradually increase the dosage to get the same effect (to get high).
If the addicts stop taking the substance for some time, they will lose tolerance of the substance. Subsequently if they were to increase the usual dosage, they may die from overdose.