Drug dependence and drug abuse are different aspects of the same disease. Drug dependence describes the body’s biological addiction to a substance. There are many approaches to ending drug dependence, including attending a faith-based Christian addiction recovery program or other recovery programs.

How Does Drug Dependence Happen?

Different people react to drugs in different ways. Some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction that can make them more susceptible to developing a dependency. Others can use a highly addictive medication as prescribed and never have an urge to use it again.

A physical dependence on a drug often develops slowly over time. It is caused by the way the drug changes brain chemistry. With prolonged use, some drugs, such as opioids, damage the brain’s ability to produce certain chemicals on its own. The brain then relies on the drug to do its job.

Eventually, larger and more frequent doses of the substance are needed to get the desired effects. At this point, a person has become drug dependent.

To put it simply, addiction–intense cravings you can’t control–comes first. In time, addiction leads to dependency.

Signs of Drug Dependency

When a person dependent on substances goes without that drug, they have a physical reaction. This is called withdrawal or detoxing. Going through detox can be an extremely challenging and even painful experience.

The physical signs of dependency include experiencing the following symptoms when you attempt to stop drug use:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Body aches and other flu-like symptoms
  • Nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia

Factors such as the drug(s) being used and the person’s history of drug use can cause an unsafe detox to present serious health risks such as seizure, Delirium tremens (DTs), or dangerous changes in heart rate and blood pressure. For these reasons, it is important to speak with a recovery specialist to see if a medically supervised detox program would be best.

How Can I End Drug Dependence?

If you take a prescribed medication that you need to control chronic pain or a mental health disorder, start by talking to your prescribing doctor. Your physician may have suggestions for alternative treatments and can help you withdraw from the drug slowly and safely.

If you suspect that you are abusing a drug and may have an addiction disorder, a recovery program can help. After withdrawal, your body will begin to heal from dependency, and you’ll learn the tools and find the support you need to end the cycle of drug abuse.

Can a Christian Addiction Recovery Program Help Me Control Drug Dependency?

One of the most important aspects of choosing a recovery program is finding one that shares your values and reaffirms your belief system. Fresh Wind Recovery is an example of a program that uses prayer and other biblical approaches as a foundation for drug and alcohol recovery.

While all 12-Step programs acknowledge and rely on the existence of a “higher power,” some 12-Step meetings are specifically geared toward Christians. Your church may also host or know of a Christian addiction recovery program in your area. 

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