Rehab Centres UK

What Is A Drug Addiction

Nicholas Conn
Nicholas Conn

Nicholas is a leading addiction expert UK's go-to man on related matters for the national press, TV and radio.

What Is a Drug Addiction

Seeking help is the best thing someone can do if they think they are addicted to drugs. If you believe you or someone you know could have a drug addiction problem, we can assist in getting them the support that they need through Rehab Centres UK.

Types of drug addiction can include addiction to illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin or cannabis. Whilst the public can access legal prescription drugs, people can still become addicted to prescription medications.

The first steps to recovery can be challenging ones, this is why we will support you through the whole process and find the right rehab facility for you and your circumstances.

Rehab Centres UK will find you the best drug addiction centre, so you or a loved one can start to get their life back on track by making a full recovery.

Read on to gather more information about what drug addiction is and what that looks like, including the risks of drug addiction, overdose and what to expect from a rehab clinic.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction can be identified by the user of the said drug(s) continually taking drugs despite the negative consequences on various aspects of someone’s life. The urge to carry on taking drugs in addiction is apparent due to the fact that they can be hard to control or stop from taking the drug altogether.

To be addicted to drugs is considered a chronic and relapsing brain disorder. The reason for this is due to the fact that drug addiction affects the brain circuits that impact self-control, stress, and reward. After you stop taking drugs, it can take a while for the changes in your brain to revert to normal.

Drug addiction is dangerous as it hurts the organs in the body, whereas should you continue the use of drugs – this can lead to permanent damage. Drug addiction can also affect your mental health, working life and relationships.

If you or someone you know can’t stop taking drugs, then the likelihood is that they may have a drug problem and need help.

Abuse vs Addiction

Drug abuse and drug addiction are different things, although both terms are often used for the same meaning. let us clarify things below:

To abuse drugs is to use them incorrectly, this could be to take drugs too frequently or in too large a dosage. Regarding taking prescription drugs in the correct manner – you must take the prescription in the exact way that they have been prescribed.

Someone can abuse drugs without being addicted to them – although both addiction and abuse are forms of substance disorder.

Drug abuse is still considered a problem, although it is not an addiction. It is something that should be looked at and received to be able to overcome.

Drug abuse can also lead to an over-reliance on that certain type of drug, which can eventually lead to addiction. This is why you must face the potential problem whilst you can.

Risks of Drug Addiction

The risk of you or someone you know developing a drug addiction can depend on several factors including personal circumstances such as bereavement or stress, environmental factors or your genes.

If you have a family history of addiction, unfortunately, there is a possibility that you could suffer from addiction also. This can be from influential behaviours that can turn someone to try things – in this case, drugs. Especially, people who witnessed parents with addiction or abuse problems as a child growing up, are likely to follow this same behaviour.​​

The way the brain deals with different chemical reactions that are caused by drugs can vary from person to person. Sharing the same genes means it is likely for the brain to react similarly or to react in the same way, therefore, becoming addicted in the same too.

Other factors that can cause drug addiction include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Parental difficulties
  • Family issues
  • Having existing mental health issues
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Being a part of a ‘wrong crowd’

Risk of Overdose

When abusing drugs, you run the risk of an overdose. Overdoses can be fatal so are extremely serious and dangerous. An overdose can occur when you take more than the recommended amount of a prescription drug.

Drug overdoses harm the body and can lead to long-term health complications and sometimes even death.

The severity of an overdose typically depends on the type of drug you are overdosing on, your height and weight, the amount taken, along with your tolerance to the drug.

Some of the main symptoms of drug overdose to look out for regardless of what’s been taken involve some of the following:

  • Agitation or aggression
  • Convulsions and tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Falling unconscious
  • Trouble standing up/ walking
  • Drowsiness

Always seek emergency medical attention if you suspect someone to be having an overdose, and act quickly – it could be a matter of life and death.

Getting Help for Drug Addiction

If you need help for drug addiction or abuse then you are not alone – reaching out to drug and alcohol services is the first step to freedom.

Drug rehab programs vary in length and different centres offer different rehab plans, including as little as 7-day rehab plans. The rehab program will consist of three stages; the detox stage, the therapy stage and the aftercare stage.


The detox stage helps people who want to stop taking drugs, by eliminating them from the body. Detoxing can come with nasty withdrawal symptoms, as the toxins leave the body – it is necessary sometimes to have a medical professional assist you. Having medical supervision can ensure that you are in safe hands as the drug detox can be dangerous.


Once fully detoxed from the drug you can move on to the next stage in the drug rehabilitation process – this being therapy. Different therapies on offer will depend on the rehab clinic you are at.

Therapy sessions help to strengthen your mental health so you have the confidence and courage in yourself to overcome the addiction and complete rehab.


Returning to society doesn’t mean that the work is over. You have the option once you leave to continue treatment as an outpatient. This is known as aftercare, secondary treatment, or extended care.

The aftercare stage is the third and final stage of rehab. It is always recommended that you have given yourself the best possible chance at addiction recovery by continuing to battle addiction.

Need Help With Your Addiction?

If you are looking for rehab for your addiction, contact our 24/7 support line for help at 0808 175 7225 today.