Around 20% of the entire US population are battling various drug addictions in 2022.
Even though people have been using drugs for decades, the rate of addicted individuals has never been as high as it is today.
Anyone can fall under the influence of harmful substances, whether as a coping mechanism, due to a lot of stress, or just to fit in with a group of friends.
What’s important to understand, however, is that drug addiction is likely the leading cause of death among the younger and mid-age generations which points to a more than severe issue.
With drug addiction on the rise, the number of online therapy organizations is luckily increasing as well, offering addicts and those battling a drug-related issue maximum support, guidance, and the right tools to manage their vice.
Stay tuned as we delve deeper into how drug addiction impact’s one well-being and overall lifestyle, and how online therapy can efficiently put a stop to the issue.
The Negative Impact of Drugs on Your Body and Health
When drugs enter your system, they bring along a series of negative effects on your emotional, physical and mental health.
Initially, drug users are unaware of the peril some drugs pose, due to their ability to relax users.
However, drug addictions are quite common to occur with their prolonged and abused use and can create a slippery slope for all users.
The danger of addiction and the ‘hook’ level users experience will depend on the type of drug used.
Either way, since all drugs deliver extensive risks to one’s health and welfare, let’s have a look at the adverse effects they come with.
1. Physical Health Problems
Drug users initially start showing mild side effects that later lead to serious physical health problems. The most easily noticeable impact of drugs is red eyes, usually caused by inhalation-based drugs.
Drug addiction affects the muscular system as well, which can lead to impaired body agility and reduced mobility. The muscles around the mouth can also get damaged, resulting in slurred and misarticulate speech.
Energy loss is another side effect that can occur from extended drug usage. Excessive drug use can lead to disorientation and dizziness, as well as a state of confusion.
2. Behavioral Changes
Behavior problems affect both the individuals that are addicted to drugs and the people close to them. The parents of an addict are the first that are most likely to notice any changes in their behavior.
Such changes can include a nervous and anxious stance that can often incite reckless and violent behavior.
Statistics show that nearly 70% of domestic violence, street fights, and property damage have been done under drug influence.
Some drugs can also cause paranoia and severe mood swings that can sometimes result in aggression.
Along with paranoia, some other side effects include gastric distress, fear, nausea, and feeling “high.”
Various hallucinogen drugs alter one’s perception of reality, leading users to often see or hear things that aren’t there.
They tend to perceive things in a distorted manner, which causes additional stress that can be relieved with getting adequate online therapy.
3. Decreased Brain Function
It may be difficult for a drug addict to think things through, recall certain information, and make important decisions.
Since drug abuse leads to reduced mental sharpness, addicts may show poor performance in numerous aspects, whether at school or at the workplace.
Since the brain is severely affected here, drug addicts often struggle with speaking properly and tend to take things out of context as well.
Under the influence of drugs, the brain will repeatedly crave the high, which can lead to an overdose.
In cases of overdose, the brain starts impairing the reasonable judgment, as well as the user’s ability to make decisions.
There is a loss of self-control here, which makes drug addicts more prone to being violent, doing something illegal, or getting exposed to vulnerable circumstances.
The worst thing about this is that the brain’s function takes time to recuperate, which puts extra emphasis on the need of getting suitable help.
4. Harms All Organs
Drug use is particularly linked to lung cancer and can increase the chances of getting symptoms of the disease.
All organs, such as the tongue, throat, and lungs are targeted by drugs that are typically inhaled.
Also, the digestive system is likely to suffer severe damage with drug addicts, leading to further complications like stomach and gut problems as well as eating disorders.
Some heart disorders may occur as well, the most common of which is heart attacks.
Luckily, drug addiction therapy – physical or online – offers various methods that can improve the user’s overall health and reduce the odds of facing such health issues.
In terms of cardiovascular issues, extensive drug use can lead to collapsing veins and blood infections, especially if the drug has been taken via an injected needle.
Due to continuous drug use, users also experience liver pressure which can develop into full-blown liver failure.
5. Harms the Overall Physical Appearance
One of the most common symptoms of drug addiction is physical changes to the user, especially in dermatological terms.
Users addicted to drugs often experience severe acne, lesions, and tissue damage, especially with harder drugs.
Not to mention, when a drug is injected, it can lead to physical bruising that takes time to heal, as well as puncture holes in different body areas, which are left open to infections.
Problems with the jaw and teeth are also common, mostly as a result of clenching and grinding the teeth as a result of perpetual drug use. Inhaled drugs also cause foul breath, tooth cavities, and gum diseases.
Hormonal changes in the body can also occur as a result of extensive drug use, and lead to women growing facial hair or going bald, and/or men developing breasts.
A common problem among drug-addicted individuals is weight imbalance – some lose and others gain it significantly.
6. Mental Illnesses
With prolonged drug use, there’s an increased danger of developing a mental illness, like depression or suicidal thoughts.
Although drugs offer short-term relaxation, in the long run, they are more likely to induce paranoia and psychosis. There’s also the possibility of users developing schizophrenia, a serious condition that can alter one’s quality and normalcy of life for good.
When taken regularly, all drugs can make users feel melancholic and sluggish, a sensation that can last for days, or longer.
As per numerous studies, about 40% of people dealing with drug addiction will commit suicide as a result of the severity of the condition.
To prevent this and the overall outbreak of mental diseases, online therapy for drug addiction can be a superb ally in controlling, reducing, and eliminating all mental barriers and suicidal thoughts.
How Can Online Therapy Help You Quit Drug Addiction
In recent years, there has been a great number of online counseling services to help struggling addicts.
Many individuals who suffer from drug addiction and other illnesses related to it, can find drug addiction therapy highly useful in getting their life back on track.
Online therapists are trained, qualified, reputable, and highly committed to treating drug addicts through a set of tools specifically chosen for certain drug addictions.
However, seeing an online therapist for drug addiction can be easier said than done. Before seeking help from licensed doctors, you will also need to:
- Admit that you are addicted. This is the most difficult step to full rehabilitation. You need to be strong, objective, and willing to admit you have a problem.
- Talk to your family and friends. In hard times, our family and friends can be the ultimate support system to pull us through just about any issue, including drug addiction.
- Take a look at your health problems related to drug overuse. The many negative health conditions should be a sign enough that something needs to change for things to improve.
- Accept that you can’t change the past. At first, you may feel guilty or ashamed of being addicted. But, once you accept the fact that you can’t change what has already been done, the recovery process will be easier and only guide you forward.
Below, read how online drug addiction therapy can help you overcome your addiction.
1. Establishing Communication
Usually, the most important part of online therapy for drug addiction is communication.
Since you interact with the therapist through phone, mail, or video call, most online counseling groups will offer a 24/7 patient support system.
Whether through the web or a smart app, qualified online therapists will be at your service when you need them.
Addiction necessitates individualized treatment, thus having the appropriate counselor is essential for an effective recovery.
Based on the severity of the addiction, the mental health issues at hand, and the state of the drug addict, a suitable therapist will be assigned to the case.
The therapist’s main purpose is to support, communicate, and guide the addict to never use drugs again and to cope with the side effects of their overuse more efficiently.
All online professionals assigned to the case are compassionate, considerate, and armed with the right tools to help overcome the addiction.
Also, patient-doctor confidentiality applies in online therapy as well, which gives the patient sense of support and safety.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is the most commonly used drug addiction therapy that online counseling services offer.
CBT as an online therapy focuses on assisting patients in recognizing and avoiding negative thoughts and behaviors.
This strategy is often used to teach drug users how to identify triggers that lead to cravings, and how to prevent them on the spot.
An online drug addiction therapist will also use CBT to help the patient discard all negative thoughts they have been dealing with, and adopt a more hopeful mindset.
CBT is a very effective drug addition treatment approach since it arms addicts with the tools they need to healthily manage their condition daily, and for the rest of their lives.
3. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Besides CBT, dialectal behavior therapy is another well-known strategy for treating drug addiction therapy.
The main aspects targeted in this therapy include patient acceptance and transformation.
DBT can be used as a treatment for drug abuse and for treating various mental health issues.
The attention of the therapy is set on having the patient slowly cut down on their drug use, without shocking their system.
The main aim of DBT is to educate patients on how to enjoy their lives drug-free, create healthy coping mechanisms to battle stress, manage their emotions, and enhance their interpersonal connections.
Usually, in this type of therapy, online counselors try to improve the patient’s relationship with their family – a great first start toward healing.
4. Activity Plans
Every patient gets a different activity plan, based on their preferences and likes.
The counselor prepares a whole list of daily activities and tasks for the patient to do as a way to occupy them with something other than drugs.
The activities included in this process relate to anything the patient likes – from taking sunset walks and working out to reading books and getting educated on new topics.
During the process, every patient has their own worksheet, with listed activities that are approved and scheduled in advance by a professional therapist.
Through this drug addiction therapy approach, the user acquires the habit of following pre-given instructions regarding the to-do activities.
According to research, all activities that are previously planned are more likely to be done, especially in depressed patients.
5. Motivational Speeches
Besides communicating with their patients, online drug addiction therapists also give motivational speeches.
The point of these speeches is to encourage the patient to move forward in life, indulge in more favorable activities, and not slip back into their addictive ways.
Using this strategy, therapists attempt to inspire and assist the user in maintaining their sobriety.
However, if the user is motivated by family or friends, online therapy for drug addiction can include them as well.
By inviting the patient’s family to give motivational speeches, they become more aware of the life they are living now versus the life they could be living without drugs.
Typically, this is a reality check many drug addicts benefit from.
6. Group Sessions
Sometimes drug addicts feel more comfortable discussing their troubles with others who have been through the same downward spiral.
Usually, group sessions aren’t introduced immediately but can become part of the online treatment after a few weeks of active online therapy.
When the patient is ready, they will get acquainted with other patients suffering from the same condition, and be put on camera for more connected interaction.
In group therapy, the patients are the ones who contribute to their and others’ faster recovery – mainly by sharing their stories and supporting one another.
Besides support, patients can even be challenged by others to take action, which can result in quicker healing.
These sessions can be a very effective method in online drug addiction therapy; however, not all patients are willing to share and opt for individual therapy.
7. FDA-Approved Medication
It may seem a bit suspicious for a drug addict to be treated with the use of more pills.
However, this method is only implemented at the end of the online therapy for drug addiction.
Once the detox part is done, patients will most likely require lifetime therapy, which, alongside counseling, can also involve medication.
First, the therapist will need to see a drastic improvement in the patient’s condition and be sure that they won’t relapse.
Once assured, the therapist can prescribe suitable medication to control the condition accordingly.
All medication that is given to the patient needs to be used appropriately and at the recommended dosage.
Usually, some online counseling services do online welfare and medication checks on patients, to ensure their meds are taken as prescribed. All meds prescribed in this case – three, in total – are FDA-approved.
What to Expect After Online Therapy
Completing online therapy for drug addiction is quite a rollercoaster for addicts who have never gone through the process before.
However, even following online therapy for drug addiction, patients will still have a lifetime of management and recuperation to consider.
Even if the treatment program eradicates the initial issues of drug addiction, staying on track for the rest of the addict’s life will be a task in itself.
Determination is what gets you to the other side of the finish line. After the rehabilitation process completes, patients can return to life as they knew it before drugs came along.
Of course, if the patient has been exposed to other addicts or has built many connections in the world of drugs, cutting the cord with certain individuals is to be expected as well.
Being diligent, committed, having a superb support system, and the right online counseling services at hand are the ingredients that will help any addict pull themselves out of the vicious cycle and return to the good side of life.
Regular checkups following therapy are encouraged and mandatory, too, and can be done via email or by scheduling a direct appointment with the therapist in question.