Common Stereotypes About Drug Addiction
The danger of a stereotype is that they are often generalized and inaccurate. The danger of the drug addiction stereotype is that it’s true — sometimes. The image portrayed in the media or movies of someone struggling with addiction is based on only one generalized way substance abuse disorder can affect someone. This is the image of the underweight, fidgety, erratic person with scabs from picking or injection sites who has lost their job or home or family, and it is something that exists.
However, it’s dangerous to assume that if someone doesn’t present these kinds of addiction symptoms, then they do not have a substance abuse disorder, because they can convince themselves or others that it’s ok for them to continue using drugs because they appear healthy and have not lost complete control.
The Reality of Drug Addiction
The following things are true:
Minorities and those who are financially disadvantaged are more likely to be exposed to drug use and fall into addiction
These individuals are less able to access the resources they need to recover from drug addiction or get back on their feet once they get clean, so they remain afflicted by substance use disorders, creating and continuing the cycle of addiction and poverty.
The following things are also true:
The “put together” working professional is also someone who can be struggling with addiction.
These people have the resources or safety nets they need to maintain their responsibilities and make healthy choices in other areas of their life, all while abusing drugs.
It’s an unfortunate reality that money is the difference between these two groups. The impoverished person with addiction will resort to committing crimes to maintain their habit, furthering the addiction stereotype, whereas the wealthy person with addiction does not have to make those choices.
Finances also contribute to whether or not a person presents the physical symptoms of drug abuse like weight loss or other sickly physical signs. A person without money will give up food and other items needed to be healthy where the person with money can pay to have these needs met.
Signs and Symptoms: What Drug Addiction Looks like
Physical symptoms of drug addiction that are difficult to hide when actively under the influence of drugs are:
- bloodshot eyes
- red eyes
- constricted pupils
- dilated pupils
- slurred speech
To help identify what drug addiction looks like in individuals outside the stereotype, we depend on situational or behavioral signs and symptoms.
This can look like:
- Drastic changes in routine
- Suddenly being late all the time
- Not honoring obligations to family and friend
- Neglecting responsibilities that have minor repercussions for dropping the ball on
- Behavior changes/ mood swings
- Lack of motivation
- Sudden lack of interest in things they used to prioritize
- Being quick to anger
- Violent Behavior
- Sudden desire for privacy
- Inconsistent stories or excuses
It’ll be easier to identify these signs of drug addiction in someone you are close to, because these kinds of symptoms can surface and be related to other factors like stress or depression. It would also be helpful to know if they had an opportunity to be exposed to drug use, through a new association or a prescription for mood or pain that can be abused.
How Drug Addiction Develops
Addiction develops in the brain by the way the substance chemically changes how the brain processes certain stimuli, usually pleasure. A highly simplified way of understanding drug dependency and how this turns into addiction goes like this:
- Baseline for pleasure exists
- Brain experiences drug, raising the baseline for pleasure
- Drug wears off, pleasure without drug feels way below baseline
- Individual uses in an attempt to meet baseline again
Every time a brain experiences drugs, the baseline moves up, making the sober state feel lower and lower, increasing an individual’s need to use drugs. This is how someone who would not become addicted after one time use of a substance can develop an addiction after repeated use. This explains why those who are given prescription drugs abuse them after extended use.
For some people, the baseline rises dramatically and in others only a little. This difference separates those who become addicted immediately and those who can use addictive substances and not feel the need to try them again.
Serenity Oaks Drug Rehab Fort Lauderdale
A person’s best chance of achieving and maintaining a life free from drug addiction is by entering a rehab or recovery center and completing a residential treatment program. Substance abuse disorder affects everyone differently and so each person needs a treatment plan that is personalized and best suited to their needs.
That’s exactly what you will find at Serenity Oaks Wellness Center, Fort Lauderdale’s premier alcohol and drug rehab center. Our program was designed with the primary goal of fully addressing an individual and their addiction, so that they leave with the life skills and coping tools that they can use to maintain long term sobriety.
Some addiction treatment programs only consider it their responsibility to detox their patients off drugs and keep them off long enough, so they don’t relapse once they leave but we believe in a more proactive approach to treating substance abuse disorder using modern recovery resources.
With us you’ll find:
- A low staff-to-client ratio to ensure individualized care and a safe recovery environment.
- Medically assisted detox to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of abuse and addiction and smooth the transition to starting your rehab program
- A personalized treatment process that utilizes dual diagnosis of cooccurring disorders to address both the substance abuse and the underlying mental health disorders associated with it.
- Individual therapy for developing coping skills for understanding the signs of a relapse trigger and life skills to use after rehab.
- Group therapy for community building and taking the first steps towards repairing relationships that are damaged by addiction.
- A deluxe facility designed to create tranquil and comfortable surroundings for healing and amenities needed to focus entirely on recovery.
- Ongoing support after you complete your program to facilitate relapse prevention and achieve the goal of long-term sobriety.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, our staff is available 24/7 to speak with you about your next steps. Contact Serenity Wellness Center today at (833) 720-0708.