My Son Takes Drugs, Is He Mentally Ill?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the answer is yes. Addiction changes the brain in major ways. It disrupts an individual’s normal perception of needs and wants, and substitutes them contingent upon getting and using drugs. Behaviors ensue that are compulsive and override an individual’s ability to control their impulses, despite dire and untoward consequences. An addict’s lack of control is similar to the symptoms and signs of other mental illnesses.

In addition to the illness that perpetuates taking drugs, an individual could have further mental illnesses. These may or may not underlie the reason for taking drugs in the first place. Managing pain is a common cause of addiction. Sooner or later, the drugs just don’t kick the pain like they used to. When a person takes drugs repeatedly, they build up a tolerance to them. The drugs trick the brain into thinking they aren’t as strong as before, so the person takes more to relieve their pain. This is the insidious cycle of addiction.

Teenagers and adults alike take drugs for recreation. Another reason people takes drugs is to get high or to escape the realities of one’s life. The dangerous part of taking drugs for the high is that soon the original high won’t be attainable. As described in the previous paragraph, more drugs will be needed, and hence addiction may take hold of the brain.

If you know a loved one who is using drugs, you may want to have a conversation with them about it. You are not the judge or the jury. You are a concerned loved one who may be afraid for their life. There’s no saying whether a conversation with them will be met by deaf ears, anger or relief. Be prepared and educate yourself before you meet with them. You can also look into recovery options for them ahead of time. Tread lightly, but let them know their behavior has to change and that you are serious. Let them know there will be consequences if they don’t do something about their addiction.

“Take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes. Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more. You’re doing just fine.”― Charlotte Eriksson

Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves before we can help others. The gorgeous setting, the staff, and healing programs at Infinity Malibu are there for all your needs, including discretion and privacy. Make the change you deserve by calling 888-266-9048


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