Drug Abuse

Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that requires professional treatment to yield the best chances of long-term recovery. Drug abuse affects the lives of millions. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 25 million Americans were illicit drug users in 2013.

Most drugs act on the brain’s reward system, activating “feel-good” natural chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Some drugs (such as opiates) have intense calming effects while others produce a more energetic or alert feeling (such as cocaine). Drug abuse ultimately causes an individual to require more and more of the drug to get the same effect. This is because tolerance develops and the brain’s natural ability to produce “feel-good” chemicals on its own is depleted. Eventually, painful withdrawal symptoms may occur without the drug, and an individual may require the drug just to feel normal. Call 844-299-7326 to learn more.

Commonly Abused Drugs


Opioids or opiates such as heroin, morphine and OxyContin are highly addictive substances with tremendous potential for both physical and psychological dependence. In recent years, opiates have seen a significant rise in abuse. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes estimates that worldwide, between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids. Because continued use of opiates can alter how nerve cells in the brain function, suddenly stopping their use may result in severe physical discomfort and disturbing emotions that the body can no longer manage on its own due to dependence on the substance.


Benzodiazepines can have medical benefits under the care of a physician, but when abused may lead to severe physical and psychological dependence. Benzo addiction can be further complicated by simultaneous dependence on alcohol. Commonly misused benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium and Klonopin. Withdrawal symptoms from benzo abuse range from uncomfortable to severe depending on the individual and level of abuse.


When prescribed and monitored by a physician, pain medications have valuable medical benefits, but when abused they can be highly addictive and dangerous. Painkiller abuse is a rising epidemic in the U.S.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 32.7 million Americans have misused opioid prescription painkillers at least once in their life. Common painkillers include Demerol, Darvon, Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin. More and more, pain meds, when abused, are leading to the often more readily available and affordable drug, heroin. Speak Confidentially with a Promises New Jersey Recovery Advisor at 844-299-7326


Marijuana can be addictive physically and psychologically. Cannabis use disorder is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ official diagnosis for marijuana abuse. Marijuana addiction mimics symptoms of other substance use disorders. Abusers of the drug develop a tolerance to marijuana, continue its use despite its negative impact on relationships, work and personal life, and suffer withdrawal symptoms in its absence. Long-term marijuana abuse puts users at risk for health consequences such as an impaired immune system, toxic psychosis, cancer and acute respiratory issues.


Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain responsible for good and bad feelings. When these drugs are abused, the brain gets used to increased amounts of “good” neurotransmitters that create pleasant feelings. When cocaine or methamphetamine use discontinues, the body must begin to work on its own again to produce the neurotransmitters that were depleted by increased activity due to abuse of stimulants. This is most effectively done with the help of professionals who can guide the process through carefully monitored medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Drug Abuse Treatment

Depending on the drug and how long it has been abused, medical drug detox is often the first step in drug addiction treatment. Detox from drugs under the care of medical and behavioral professionals ensures that this process is safe, comfortable and that any urgent situations are attended to immediately. Evidence-based medications can be prescribed to ease withdrawal symptoms and medical staff monitors clients around the clock.

Inpatient drug rehab, partial hospitalization or outpatient drug rehab programs should follow drug detox depending on the level of care an individual requires. In drug rehab, clients explore and begin moving beyond the underlying issues that contribute to their addiction. They learn healthier coping skills and appropriate ways to deal with triggers that have led to substance abuse in the past.

Many individuals who abuse drugs also have co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders. These issues are addressed with counseling and medication as appropriate, and clients learn to manage mental health challenges along with addiction. Call 844-299-7326 to learn more.

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