Drug addiction covers a large area of use. People may associate drug addiction with narcotics, such as heroin or crack cocaine – these are, of course, obvious addictions for which treatment programmes are available. But what about the housewife or businessman who uses a sleeping pill every day and cannot sleep without one, or someone who has long term use of valium or codeine to steady nerves to help sleep? These people are as much a drug addict as the street heroin user.

Many people use recreational drugs initially to experiment and enhance a party or a night out – often first used when young adults at parties or universities – to fit in with the peer group. However, some people like the effect drugs have – it takes them to a different place. They start using the drug as a coping mechanism. It removes them from an event or situation that they find troublesome and that they do not wish to face. Unfortunately, when the drug wears off the issue is still there and the person learns to use more often rather than deal with day to day life. Knowing a drug can change your mood leads the addict to search out and try more and more – use of the drug increases and the power or class of drug itself escalates and the addiction is formed.

Drugs used could be: prescription medication, sleeping pills, valium, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, acid, amphetamine, meth-amphetamine, cannabis, ecstasy or MDMA, ketamine, GHB, magic mushrooms, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, morphine. These are just a few drugs that can be addictive; the full list would take several pages.

As in all treatment for addictions, the drug addict will need to own the consequences of their using drugs and be motivated to change their behaviour. Often clients are in denial and rationalise with themselves that things aren’t that bad!! At Addiction Care we help the client work through this denial stage and help them to see how their lives have been affected. Once the client is drug free we start exploring the underlying issues that need to be addressed with any addiction – namely the emotional triggers and unspoken truths. If left untreated, these triggers will be responsible for a relapse. Understanding self helps the client to not only stay drug free but also to start enjoying their sobriety.