Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a serious and often life-threatening disorder. Whether it starts with recreational use of illegal substances or medical use of prescribed drugs, addiction occurs when your brain starts telling your body that it needs the drug. While the drug may have initially created a “high,” as time goes on, you need more and more of the substance to achieve the same feeling, and eventually you need it just to feel normal. Something that once seemed like fun or an occasional way to escape pain now controls your life.

Drug addiction often co-occurs with other mental disorders like depression or anxiety, as well as eating disorders. Some people use drugs to escape the pain of mental health disorders, while others may develop mental health issues due to drug use.

Symptoms of Drug Addiction:

  • Feeling the need to use a drug daily or several times a day
  • Intense urges for the drug that consume your thoughts
  • Needing more of the drug as time goes on
  • Spending money on the drug even if you can’t afford it
  • Shirking responsibilities and obligations at work or with friends and family
  • Continuing use of the drug even though you know it is harming you
  • Failed attempts to stop using the drug
  • Withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue use of the drug


Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant produced from coca leaves. Originally developed to treat illnesses and numb pain, it was eventually found that it can be extremely addictive and can alter the structure and function of the brain with prolonged use. Cocaine floods the brain with dopamine to create a short-lived high, often leaving users wanting more when the high wanes.


Marijuana is a mind-altering substance derived from the cannabis plant that has been increasingly legalized over the last several years. However, it is still a drug with the potential for abuse and addiction. THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, can produce depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogenic effects on its users.


Methamphetamine, commonly used recreationally in the form of “crystal meth,” is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It causes increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and euphoria in its users. It is highly addictive and has long-lasting harmful effects on the central nervous system.


Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a psychoactive substance derived from the opium poppy plant. It can be a white or brown powder, or a sticky black substance called “black tar heroin.” Heroin works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain to cause a rush of euphoria and slowed breathing and heart rate. Because it is typically injected, users are at risk of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Its extreme withdrawal symptoms also make it highly addictive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 20% of US drug overdose deaths in 2019 involved heroin.

Prescription Drugs

Just because a drug is prescribed by a doctor doesn’t mean there is no risk of addiction. In fact, opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines (sedatives used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures) are highly addictive. Opioids in particular (OxyContin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, etc.) have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in the US, and many who start with prescription opioids move onto cheaper, more dangerous drugs like heroin. In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used medically to treat severe pain, but it has recently risen in popularity as an illicit drug because it is much more powerful than other opioids. Many drug users turn to it when they have developed a tolerance to weaker drugs. Fentanyl is being laced into more and more drugs, often without the knowledge of users, which may be one reason fentanyl is involved with 53% of overdose deaths, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS).

We are Here to Help

At The Meadows Ranch, we understand that eating disorders often co-occur with other disorders, including drug addiction. Drugs may play a role in your eating disorder, or you may use them to numb the pain or sadness caused by the eating disorder. That’s why our dual diagnosis treatment seeks to uncover and treat any other disorders occurring alongside eating disorders. We believe in treating the whole person, which often means addressing more than one issue, and our highly trained staff are equipped to help you with anything you may be struggling with.

Call 866-332-1140
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