How To Understand Chemical Dependency

You may have come across the term, “chemical dependency”, and you’re wondering exactly what it is. You’ve come to the right article! Here are some of the important pieces of information that could help you out in understanding chemical dependency:

Basic definition.
Drug dependency, as the name implies, is an addiction to dangerous chemicals that could eventually lead to adverse physical, social, psychological, emotional and neurological effects. These substances include the following: alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens.

Signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of chemical dependency include being unable to control substance or chemical use. It usually takes prolonged exposure to the chemical in order to develop an addiction or dependence towards it. However, in many instances addiction can suddenly happen even after the first occurrence of exposure. The signs that a person has developed chemical dependency vary depending on genetic predisposition, level and stage of addiction, as well as the substance in question. However, there are some typical and generalized symptoms of drug dependency, and these include the following:

  • withdrawal from activities
  • deterioration of hygiene
  • obvious change in attitude even towards close friends and family members
  • inappropriate/context-removed behavior and mood
  • decreased quality of performance at office and other tasks
  • unexplained absences from work

Physical signs should also be highlighted, these include:

  • tremors in hands, feet or head
  • unexplained sudden weight loss or gain
  • dilated/contracted pupils
  • red and watery eyes
  • nausea
  • excessive sweating

Possible effects. There are numerous negative effects that happen with chemical dependency, as with the signs and symptoms. The degree and manifestations of these effects depend upon many different factors. But what does an individual usually experience once he has begun to be dependent on harmful chemicals? Some of the most common effects include the following: blackouts, memory loss, low self-esteem, hang-overs, getting into accidents due to poor judgment, extreme depression that can be “cured” temporarily only by the use of more of the harmful substance.

Available treatment. With all the adverse symptoms and effects listed above, what are the possible substance abuse treatment options available? The good thing is, there are many government programs, or programs funded by private hospitals and institutions, as well as non-government programs that aim to help drug dependents gradually reduce their substance use, until it no longer controls them. Some of these groups include Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Cocaine Anonymous. There are also numerous alcohol rehabilitation centers and drug abuse treatment centers that focus on helping patients detoxify from the effects of the drug, as well as to monitor them as they undergo the painful withdrawal symptoms (which may take weeks or months). These rehabilitation centers also attempt to teach the patients how to cope with total abstention from the substances (moderation is usually not recommended, as it can lead to relapses) and how to regain their footing in their lives without having to depend on drugs. These centers usually have some programs (such as AA’s Twelve-Step Program) to help the patient in overcoming their dependence through a manageable process. 

If you’re interested in finding centers related to your particular situation (for example, an adolescent treatment center for underage drug dependents), then seek out various websites or ask your local healthcare institute for a listing near your residence.

Relevant jobs. There are many jobs related to treating chemical dependency. Some of the more common and high-demand occupations include chemical dependency counselors, social workers, treatment center program coordinators and therapists, as well as community educators. Training options for this career track include short-term certification courses (generally designed for those already in the medical field and who are seeking to expand their expertise), traditional on-site courses, online training or long-distance training. Many states require aspiring drug dependency counselors to undergo state assessment and evaluation before they can receive their license and certification. The average salary for those working in the drug dependency treatment industry ranges from around $40,000 to $50,000 annually.

There you have it! These are some of the basic facts you’d need if you were interested in knowing more about drug dependency. Hopefully, this article was able to help you out. Good luck!


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