Drug addiction, or substance dependence, is a term that describes a series of symptoms that can be classified using precise criteria. Each main drug type has its own unique symptoms and generally have its own unique classification.
The criteria are set under one of two international psychiatric classifications, the DSM V and the ICD10. These classifications are published by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM) and the World Health Organisation (WHO ICD10).
The criteria of both are periodically reviewed and an update produced once an agreement has been reached.
Each type of drug will cause a person to behave and think very differently. The severity and consequences of using drugs depend not only on the type of drugs that can be addictive, but also the amount taken and how often they are used.
For instance, in heroin use, you might find pieces of tinfoil with obvious burn marks on them about the size of your palm. With crack cocaine, you might find wraps of cling film containing a substance that looks like small hard lumps of brown or off-white sugar.
The symptoms of drug addiction, drug dependence, or substance dependence to give the term its correct clinical name is both physical and psychological. Behaviour, thoughts and attitudes are severely affected.
Remember that each substance will have its own characteristics, particularly tolerance and withdrawals.
The symptoms of drug addiction include:
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