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Drug Addiction

Understanding drug addiction, its warning signs, and how it impacts people is key in helping a family member or loved one find the resources they need to recover. 

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Understanding Drug Addiction

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that causes drug-seeking behavior that seems compulsive or difficult to control. Even when someone experiences harmful consequences, their addiction doesn’t let them stop. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people. Still, repeated drug use causes changes in the brain that challenge someone’s self-control and eventually make it impossible for them to resist the urge to take drugs. 

These brain changes make addiction a “relapsing” disease, which places them at higher risk for returning to drug use even after not taking the drug. 

It’s prevalent for someone to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean treatment was unsuccessful. As with other chronic conditions, addiction treatment is ongoing and needs adjustment as someone progresses through their recovery journey. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs. 

Criteria for Diagnosis of a Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is, in essence, a substance use disorder. Like many other disorders, it follows a diagnosing criterion that falls into four categories:

1. Impaired control

2. Social impairment

3. Risky use

4. Pharmacological criteria

A professional addiction specialist looks at these criteria to diagnose and treat a habit based on someone’s behavior over 12 months.

Common Risk Factors for Drug Addiction

Anyone can become addicted to a substance, but some people have a higher likelihood of doing so. Some of the risk factors include:

– Community risk factors like living in an area with high drug use rates

– Minority status risks like discrimination and problems with assimilation

– Family environment risks like having an unstable environment or parental abuse

– Behavioral risks like having problems with stress, violence, and resisting authority 

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Addiction is an all-consuming disease that depletes people. There are many physical, mental, and emotional signs of addiction most people can recognize. Understanding these symptoms can be the first step toward identifying addiction and helping someone who’s struggling with substance use disorders. 

Mental Effects of Addiction

Drugs can affect how someone thinks, behaves, and feels. Common cognitive symptoms of addiction include:

  • Solitude
  • Fatigue
  • Sadness
  • Mood changes
  • Losing interest in things that were once enjoyable
  • Changes in energy levels 

Physical Effects of Addiction

Each drug causes its distinct physical symptoms. However, overall, drug abuse can be recognized by signs such as: 

  • Dental problems
  • Visible track marks
  • Nasal irritation or nosebleeds
  • Poor hygiene
  • Noticeable pale or grayish complexion
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Dilated pupils 

Social Effects of Addiction

Drug addiction also impacts people around the addict, usually family members and friends. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Not spending much time with family and friends
  • Spending more time with new, secret friends
  • Having interpersonal problems with family members and friends
  • Spending more time alone than usual
  • Getting in legal troubles more often

Types of Addictions

There are a variety of reasons individuals turn to drugs and alcohol in their lives. Older adults are becoming addicted to Prescription pills at alarming rates, young adults are using synthetic designer drugs and opiates, and overdoses are skyrocketing. Drug and alcohol addiction is a dangerous and possibly deadly disease. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we help you create a treatment program that best meets your needs.

Some addictions co-occur with mental health disorders that require a different type of treatment for drug addiction.

Addiction Opiate Drugs


Alcohol addiction is a medical disorder. Alcohol can be a highly addictive substance, particularly when consumed in large amounts within a short period. Like any other drug, alcohol affects the brain’s chemistry. Alcohol dependence is when someone cannot discontinue drinking without feeling the symptoms of withdrawal.



Ambien is a prescription drug that supports people who have issues falling asleep. Taking the drug can help stabilize a person’s sleeping patterns, but it can also become addictive if depended on for too long of a period. Misuse of this medication can result in serious side effects, including addiction or overdose.



Crystal meth is a common amphetamine abused in the United States. It is typically smoked but can be snorted or injected. Continued use of meth destroys the brain’s dopamine and serotonin receptors, making it hard for users to experience the same pleasure. Cognitive-behavioral intervention therapy is an effective treatment for amphetamine addiction. 



Ativan is a powerful anti-anxiety medicine that is part of a class of substances called benzodiazepines. Ativan drug addiction is a severe disorder that can be damaging without professional addiction treatment. Ativan assists people with symptoms of short-term anxiety and is not intended for long-term use.



Cocaine is a highly addictive Schedule II drug with a high potential for abuse. There are three standard methods of cocaine use, snorting, injecting, or smoking the drug. Like other illicit drugs, cocaine can be fatal, even after the first use. 



Dilaudid is a prescription medication used to reduce moderate to severe pain caused by cancer and other medical conditions involving chronic pain. The generic name for Dilaudid is hydromorphone, a highly addictive substance.



Fentanyl is a prescription opioid painkiller. The drug is so potent that doctors use it for patients who have fatal cancer. It is available as a transdermal patch and in oral and injectable formulations.



Heroin is one of the leading contributors to the opiate epidemic. Heroin can be ingested in three ways, injecting, smoking, or snorting. The “high” from heroin will last a short amount of time, making the user need more drugs.  



Long-term use of marijuana can lead to physical and psychological dependence. The treatment for marijuana addiction is vast and effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and addiction counseling can be helpful. 



Methadone is a drug that is often used to ease the severity of drug withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. Methadone assistances people addicted to other drugs experience a reduction in withdrawal symptoms.



OxyContin is the prescription version of an opioid narcotic pain medicine called oxycodone. This opioid is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Young adults and older adults alike struggle with OxyContin addiction.



Pharmaceutical opiates are a severe threat to public health. Prescription drug addiction is fairly common. The associated risk of overdose, respiratory depression, and accidental death is as high as heroin.



Suboxone is used to treat opioid addiction. It is called a partial opioid agonist because it binds to the same brain receptors as opioids but is not an opioid itself. Suboxone strips are prescribed to treat opioid dependence.



Tramadol is a synthetic opioid pain reliever prescribed in pill or capsule form to manage moderate to severe pain. Patients have greater trust in Tramadol than other opioids, but this medication can be highly addictive. 



Valium is a prescription medication that, taken in small doses, helps manage insomnia and anxiety symptoms. When used in combination with other drugs, severe effects can result. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last months.



Xanax is a prescription drug that falls into the category of a Benzodiazepine. The medication is used to induce sleep, treat anxiety and panic disorders, and alleviate alcohol withdrawal. Prolonged use results in physical dependence.

Talk to an Admission Specialist

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we want our patients to feel comfortable in their environment to remain focused on what is truly important, their recovery. We’re here to answer any questions you might have about the risks of drug abuse and to learn more about alcohol or drugs addiction treatment.

Learn More About Addiction Treatment

Are all programs the same?

No. Our addiction treatment programs are designed and personalized to match your individual needs and your addiction.

Is alcohol rehab the same?

No. While the structure might be similar, alcohol addiction affects the brain differently, and we follow specific therapies and treatment programs designed to help those with alcohol use disorder.

Is family involved in treatment?

If possible. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe family inclusion in treatment is critical for long-term recovery. Whenever possible, we’ll do our best to incorporate family members into the treatment process. We’ll also assist family members who might be challenging to cope with their loved ones being in rehab. People in recovery need the support of family and friends to make progress, so we often invite family members to form support groups during therapy. 

Do you use medications?

If needed. For specific addictions, a medication-assisted treatment program might be beneficial, particularly during the early recovery stages. Medications can help ease withdrawal symptoms, control cravings, and make the recovery process easier on those in treatment.

How long is the treatment?

It depends. Our rehab programs are personalized to address your needs. However, most of our programs range in the 60- to 90-day, with many choosing continuum care after leaving rehab. 

Is detox mandatory?

Most of our patients come to our rehab center after completing our drug and alcohol detox program. Someone must be no longer using substances to start a rehab program. Otherwise, withdrawal symptoms can interfere with treatment and make progress too challenging.

What our patients are saying about us…

“Lighthouse Recovery Institute is a great program and would truly recommend it to anyone serious about changing their life. The staff really cares about you and making you feel comfortable. When my son went to this program he was very demanding and had been to many other programs in the last year…”

James H.

“Lighthouse recovery institute has been a major component in what has gotten me sober and what has kept me sober. I came to Lighthouse recovery institute for the first time in June of 2016 a scared, lost, confused, and entitled girl. I had my ups and downs like any person does when there early in recovery and I made so many mistakes throughout my time there…”

Sara B.

“My daughter has been struggling with addiction for a while now. I was connected with Lighthouse Recovery and grateful for their help for my daughter and my family! They remained in constant communication with me and their family support liaison directed me to multiple resources that were very helpful to obtain support for myself, as well…”

Melissa P.


See what Lighthouse Recovery Institute has to offer…


At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we want our patients to feel comfortable in their environment to remain focused on what is truly important, their recovery. Here you will find photographs of our clinical office, located centrally in Boynton Beach, Florida.

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one.