Drug Addiction Hotline

Authored by National Rehab Hotline    Reviewed by Robert Gerchalk    Last Updated: September 8th, 2021


Robert Gerchalk Medical Reviewer
Robert is our health care professional reviewer of this website. He worked for many years in mental health and substance abuse facilities in Florida, as well as in home health (medical and psychiatric), and took care of people with medical and addictions problems at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has a nursing and business/technology degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.

Drug addiction can be very stressful to overcome, but you don’t have to do it alone. When you call The National Rehab Hotline, you will speak with someone who is able to understand and sympathize with your addiction issues or those of your loved one. Your conversation is guaranteed to be both free and confidential, and you will be provided options for real and concrete help. The hotline is staffed 24/7 so that you can call for help anytime you need it.

Many Americans who use alcohol or even drugs for recreational purposes don’t face issues with addiction. However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, almost a quarter of all illicit drug users have a substance abuse problem. If you suspect that you or a loved one might suffer from addiction, The National Rehab Hotline at 866-210-1303 can be a lifeline. Our staff provides confidential and sympathetic 24-hour support without judgment.

What Are Some Important Things to Know About Drug Addiction?

Society puts a stigma on drug addiction because it’s little understood that addiction is a disease that almost 20 million people live with, according to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health. Of these people, almost three-quarters suffer from alcohol use disorder, and 38% have issues with illicit drugs. There is some overlap between the groups. Many people have trouble with both drugs and alcohol. For many people who have issues with substance abuse, there are underlying causes such as anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or other mental health problems that cause the user to self-medicate.

Addiction is a complex issue that often has roots in trauma or pain. When you call the drug addiction hotline at 866-210-1303, you will talk to a compassionate person who understands this and who will be able to provide you with the assistance you need.

Why Call a Drug Addiction Hotline?

You should call 866-210-1303 if you suspect that you or someone you care about has substance abuse issues. When you call The National Rehab Hotline, you will be put in touch with someone who can help you figure out if there is an issue with addiction. Understanding whether or not there is a problem is the first step to finding appropriate treatment.

If there is an issue, the staff at the hotline can help you figure out what options are available for recovery. If you are calling to help a loved one, they can give you guidance on how to approach the person in a loving but effective manner. If you are calling on behalf of yourself, the person taking calls on the hotline can outline possible steps for treatment and provide resources available in your area. The call is free and also completely confidential. With no risk to yourself or your loved one, you can find the help needed.

Is There a Difference Between Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction?

Often, the terms “drug abuse” and “drug addiction” are used interchangeably. In the past, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the book that professionals use to help diagnose people with mental health or alcohol and drug problems, used the term “abuse” for a mild or moderate drug problem and dependence for someone with more severe symptoms and social issues. Now, they use the terms mild, moderate, and severe, depending on how many problems the person has.

The term drug abuse implies the improper use of a substance. For example, someone who uses prescription pain medication in a way that is not directed by their doctor might be abusing drugs. People with no history of drug abuse or addiction might find themselves developing a dependence on prescription painkillers that they innocently began to use after a surgery. There is also the term tolerance, where with continued use, the person needs more and more of the drug to get the same effect. There is also the term drug ceiling effect, where taking higher and higher doses no longer relieves symptoms, such as pain or anxiety, any better, but the side effects become worse. Unfortunately, drug abuse can often lead to addiction.

What Is Drug Addiction?

According to the National Institutes of Health, a person who is addicted to a drug will compulsively seek it despite the known adverse consequences of using it. Drug addiction is considered a disease. It is a brain disorder in which functional changes have occurred within the brain itself. These changes impact the person’s self-control, and even after he or she stops taking the drug, the physical changes in the brain may persist for a long time.

In many ways, addiction is no different than any other disease. It impacts the healthy functioning of the organs in the body and can have serious negative consequences. Also, like other diseases, addiction can be prevented and treated. If it is left untreated, however, it can lead to death.

What Are the Diagnostic Criteria of Drug Addiction?

The American Psychiatric Association bases a diagnosis of substance use disorder or drug addiction on the following criteria:

• Much time is spent obtaining, using, and then recovering from the substance.
• There is a strong urge to use the substance on a regular basis.
• The use of the substance interferes with normal activities and relationships.
• Use will continue despite negative consequences. These negative consequences include medical issues and physical damage, severing of social relationships, job loss, etc.
• The use of the substance may put the person in dangerous situations.
• The person will develop a greater tolerance for the substance, and this will lead to higher doses or more frequent use.
• Efforts to quit by the person are unsuccessful.

How Can You Tell If You or A Loved One Has an Issue With Drug Addiction?

There are symptoms that can indicate whether you or a loved one has this disease. While one or two of these indicators in isolation are not necessarily a cause for concern, if several of these symptoms are present, then it might be a good idea to call a drug addiction hotline to discuss the situation. These signs include:

• Memory loss
• Slurred speech
• Unintentional weight loss
• Frequent nausea
• Unexplained skin problems such as rashes
• Loss of appetite
• Sleep issues including insomnia
• Trouble concentrating
• Panic attacks
• Bloodshot eyes
• Tremors and loss of motor control as well as balance issues
• Shallow breathing
• Irregular heartbeat
• Unusual body odors

While addiction causes physical changes and problems, it also affects cognitive skills. With long-term and heavy drug use, memory problems start to occur. The person may forget information or have a hard time focusing on tasks. Because of the potential long-term impact of drug use on a person’s mind and body, it’s crucial that he or she get assistance as soon as possible.

Can Drug Addiction Be Successfully Treated?

When you call The National Rehab Hotline, this might be the question that is most on your mind. After all, if you are calling, you already suspect that you or a loved one suffers from the disease of addiction. In addition to having a sympathetic and non-judgmental person to talk to, you’re also seeking facts and information. Foremost on your mind is the possibility of hope.

The reality is that drug addiction can be treated, and modern treatment options make the likelihood of success even more likely. However, there is no magic pill that someone can take for an instantaneous cure of addiction. Instead, there are steps that a person can take to help them along the path to a drug-free life.

It is important to realize that cravings for the substance of choice may always be present. While an addicted individual can be helped through withdrawal and can lose their physical dependence on the substance they are addicted to, they may never totally lose the desire for it.

The reason for this is that addictive substances such as alcohol can rewire the pathways in the user’s brain. If, for example, someone drinks alcohol in order to deal with social anxiety, then every time they encounter a situation that causes social anxiety, they will feel the urge to drink. Over time, as they give in to this urge, the patterns in the brain change. Even years after an alcoholic stops drinking, he or she may still feel vulnerable to these desires.

For this reason, medical professionals don’t talk about curing addiction but rather managing the disease. To successfully treat addiction, the drug user must be given the necessary tools and support to do this. If they are provided the help they need, they can go on to have a complete and fulfilling life.

What Are Some Treatment Options?

Depending on the degree of care required, there are several types of programs available. In some cases, if the person is in the early stages of an addiction, then simply admitting that there is a problem and going to counseling and attending a 12-step program might be enough to help the person overcome his or her issues.

For someone who is severely addicted, whether their substance of choice is heroin or alcohol, withdrawal may be a factor. Even a substance as benign as coffee can produce withdrawal symptoms such as headaches if a regular drinker quits all of a sudden.

With more powerful drugs such as opiates, the withdrawal symptoms can be quite intense. They may include panic attacks and trouble sleeping. For those who regularly and heavily used alcohol or tranquilizers, they can experience heart attacks, seizures, or hallucinations if they quit.

For these reasons, a medically supervised detoxification program may be necessary. These programs allow the patient to safely withdraw from drugs or alcohol while trained health care professionals monitor their progress and provide counseling and medications that can alleviate symptoms.

Some medications that are typically used during the withdrawal process can also be used as part of an ongoing treatment program. These medications can help to control cravings and stabilize the patient’s brain chemistry and physical condition. These medications are often provided in inpatient rehab facilities. In this type of treatment environment, the patient participates in a variety of activities, such as group therapy, while being supervised by trained staff.

Another treatment option is residential rehab, which allows for long-term care in a more home-like environment that provides a good transition to outpatient care. In this type of rehab, the person is taught healthy social skills and how to change their behavior in a more realistic setting.

Outpatient treatment is the least intrusive in terms of allowing a person to live a normal life. In this case, the person plans appointments with counselors and medical services and chooses what group sessions to attend based on their own schedule. This allows the person to maintain job and family commitments while going through treatment for their addiction.

What Are the Best Treatment Options for Myself or My Loved One?

When you call 866-210-1303 to reach The National Rehab Hotline, you will talk to someone who not only is compassionate and nonjudgmental but also has the expertise to advise you on the available treatment options for your particular case. Your call will be confidential, so you can talk about your concerns with confidence.

You will receive personalized advice and assistance based on your situation. If you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out for the assistance you need.

The National Rehab Hotline is free and available 24/7/365 to help anyone struggling through a substance use or mental health crisis get immediate help.

 

Our crisis hotline specialists can provide resourceful information about alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health, and what the next steps for yourself or your loved one might be. This may include treatment suggestions, immediate crisis support & intervention, or we can guide you towards local resources