Alcohol and drug addiction can affect anyone, regardless of where you were born, your life situation, or your age. There are many exterior factors that can make it more likely for a person to become addicted to drugs, such as family history, peer pressure, major life changes, and biological factors. However, once drug use turns into a habit that affects the rest of your life, it is time to get help for addiction.

Drug addiction is a disease that many people do not understand. When a person who suffers from drug addiction commits a crime, the court system and police officers do not take their chronic disease into account. It can be difficult to get drug addiction treatment when you feel ostracized by your community and friends, however, it is important to know that there are many ways for you to get help and begin your road to recovery.

If you need legal help for drug-related criminal charges or if you are unaware of local addiction support groups and help centers, the lawyers at Hirsch Law Group would be happy to help you in any way. We know how difficult it is to face drug or alcohol addiction and we have seen how much this disease can have an impact on your life. The government, court system, and police do not take sympathy towards drug users, and trying to explain your situation can be overwhelming.

We want to reassure you that there are many avenues available for a road to recovery, and we want to support you in any way that we can.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense attorney at 815-880-1134.

What Is Drug Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, alongside the American Medical Association, defines alcohol and drug addiction as a disease. Drug addiction, which is also referred to as substance use disorder, is a chronic disease that affects an individual’s brain function and can cause severe behavioral changes. Substance abuse can affect all different walks of life and any person who uses drugs is at risk of addiction. Because it is a chronic disease, it cannot be completely cured however it can be helped through treatment, addiction medicine, and recovery programs.

Similar to other chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, there are many different factors that can lead to drug addiction, including behavioral, environmental, and biological. As such, there is no exact way of knowing how and why a person becomes addicted to drugs, and why some people are more prone to addiction than others.

There are different risk factors depending on the type of drug that a person is addicted to. The risk of addiction is much higher for drugs such as opioids, and many people become addicted to prescription medicine which in turn results in an opioid use disorder. With severe substance use disorder, many individuals often begin to suffer from other mental health disorders, such as depression and suicidal thoughts. The risk of suffering from further mental illness increases with drug addiction.

Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders

The symptoms of substance use disorder vary depending on the severity of the addiction. Some people suffer from mild addiction yet are able to maintain a steady life including working full-time and living with their family. However, for a lot of individuals, substance abuse can turn into severe substance use disorder very quickly, and their lives can begin to be seriously affected as a result. The symptoms of substance use disorder can be severe, including both physical and mental symptoms.

Brain Changes

After a certain period of time, drug use begins to change a person’s brain. When you take a drug, your brain produces dopamine, which causes you to feel extreme joy. Your brain then craves this feeling of joy afterward and responds each time you take it. However, when you continue to take drugs, it changes the way in which you feel joy, and you are no longer able to get joy from things that made you happy before you started using drugs.

Behavioral Problems

Often, people who suffer from drug addiction engage in behaviors that they would never usually do if it were not for their addiction. These behaviors can often cause relationships to break down and can result in trouble with the criminal law. Some examples of behaviors that people suffering from drug addiction engage in include:

  • Purchasing alcohol or drugs when you cannot afford them
  • Showing up late to work or falling behind on work duties
  • Stealing from family members and friends in order to afford drugs
  • Hiding drug abuse from your family and friends
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Many of these behaviors can cause huge problems in an individual’s day to day life and can result in job loss, relationship breakdown, and trouble with the law. It has been proven that drug and alcohol abuse causes a person’s judgment, learning ability, rationality, memory, and controlling ability to change substantially. As such, a person who is addicted to drugs has an increased risk of breaking the law to obtain drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the biggest reasons that people are unable to stop their substance use is because of the severe withdrawal symptoms they suffer after stopping. The anxiety of suffering these symptoms is often enough to keep people on drugs and because of the brain changes that occur with drug use, it can be difficult to stop.

Some common symptoms of drug withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Extreme craving for alcohol or drugs
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating and shakiness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

The urge to continue using a substance increases the more time you continue to use, and the symptoms of withdrawal are more severe depending on the severity of your substance use disorder. However, once you are able to overcome the initial withdrawal period, the symptoms usually alleviate and individuals begin to feel much healthier and better about themselves.

Why Do I Feel Like a Criminal For Being Addicted to Drugs?

Unfortunately, the attitude of many people in the United States toward drug addiction is extremely negative. Rather than viewing substance use as a chronic disease that requires treatment and care, people choose to view addiction as a criminal offense and argue that people choose to take drugs and put themselves at risk.

Although people do have the choice whether or not to take drugs for the first time, the effect that alcohol and drugs have on your brain means that your decision-making abilities become severely altered, and you are unable to stop the urge to take drugs. However, the court system and police officers do not take this attitude toward people who use drugs. People are often made to feel like criminals for their drug use problem and do not get the appropriate care that they need to help their problems.

It is important to know that being addicted to drugs or alcohol does not make you a criminal. If you suffer from drug addiction, you are suffering from a disease that affects your brain functionality and behavior. As such, you may commit acts that you would never normally do because of your addiction. Rather than being criminalized by the law and feeling like a criminal because of this, it is important that you get the appropriate care you need to help your addiction.

If you have been charged with a drug-related crime or committed a crime because of your alcohol or drug addiction, it is important that you contact a lawyer that understands your situation and can protect your rights. A Kane County criminal defense lawyer from Hirsch Law Group can represent you and ensure that you get the best result for your case. Without an attorney, you may be unable to get the help you need to battle your addiction.

What Causes Drug Addiction?

Substance use disorders can occur at any time of your life and be caused by a wide range of factors. There is a common myth that drug addiction can only happen to people of poorer incomes or that grew up with a difficult background, however, this is not true. Anybody can get addicted to alcohol or drugs and once you are addicted, the symptoms and treatment are universal.

There is no way of knowing exactly why drug addiction happens and the reasons can vary from person to person, however, some factors that can contribute to a drug use problem include:

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors are known to play a major role in drug addiction problems. These types of external factors can include your home environment, friends, school, and family. If you were brought up in a house of drug users or exposed to drug use from a young age, you are much more likely to use drugs. The same goes for alcohol addiction, as those exposed to alcohol use from a young age are more likely to consume alcohol themselves.

Many young teenagers and children begin to use drugs due to peer pressure from friends or the need to ‘fit in’ in order to feel accepted. This pressure can come from school, at home, or from young people in their local area. Additionally, if young people live in a neighborhood where they are exposed to drugs and alcohol more often, they are more likely to engage in substance abuse.

Development Factors

During the development phase of your life, research shows that you are extremely susceptible to external factors and these factors can play a huge role in how you develop. Some factors that can play a role in whether you suffer from drug addiction later in life include:

  • Adverse childhood experiences, including abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect
  • Negative school experience
  • Lack of community, including friends and family
  • Chaotic home situation

In addition to external factors affecting your development phase, abusing drugs from a young age can create huge problems later in life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, using drugs from an early age significantly increases the chances of becoming addicted. Your brain is more susceptible to change at a young age, and altering it by using substances can increase your chances of becoming addicted.

Genetic Factors

There is also some research to suggest that your genetics can play a role in whether you suffer from drug addiction. Research shows that those with a family history of drug abuse or whose family members suffer from mental disorders are more likely to suffer from drug addiction. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that those who have family members that suffer from addiction to drugs are 60% more likely to develop addiction problems later in life.

Getting Treatment For Drug Abuse

For many people with a substance abuse problem, the road to recovery can seem extremely long. Taking the first steps can often be the most difficult part of recovering from drug addiction, and there are often many different problems that await people after recovering. However, it is important to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and recovery is possible, for everyone who suffers from substance abuse problems.

Although some people are able to quit drugs on their own, for many people, it can be extremely difficult. It is highly encouraged that you seek help from a substance abuse treatment or drug addiction treatment center if you are beginning the road to recovery. There are many different ways in which you can seek help, including local support groups and addiction treatment programs, and it is important that you choose the right route for you.

Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Getting professional treatment can be one of the best ways to begin your road to recovery. There are many different types of treatment facilities and programs available, depending on your particular circumstances and the level of care that you need. Some types of treatment programs available for you can include:

  • Residential treatment or rehab – These programs involve entering a residential treatment facility for a specified amount of time or until you feel ready to leave.
  • Intensive outpatient programs – These programs provide day care for individuals ranging from 6 to 9 hours of treatment each week.
  • Therapeutic communities – Drug-free communities that are monitored and controlled highly.
  • Detoxification programs – These programs provide withdrawal management services which can include hospitalization.

In addition to these substance abuse programs, there are many support groups that can be extremely helpful for people who suffer from drug addiction. For many people, the big problem is trying to stay off drugs, as there are many behavioral addictions and triggers that may encourage you to take drugs again. Regularly attending meetings with a community of people who encourage sobriety and are going through the same situation as you can help aid your recovery process.

Drug Addiction and Crime

Drug use is a major cause of crime in the United States. As discussed above, drug use affects a person’s ability to act rationally and may cause an individual to behave in a way in which they would never normally behave. As such, many people who suffer from substance use disorder get caught up in crime as a result of their drug use.

Some of the main crimes that people addicted to drugs engage in include robbery, selling drugs, and trafficking drugs. Simply being found in possession of illicit drugs can result in a criminal conviction and time in prison. If you suffer from substance abuse disorder and need to take drugs throughout the day, you may carry around drugs in your bag or on your person, which can result in being charged with drug possession if caught.

Being convicted of a drug crime can result in serious penalties and a permanent criminal record. Police officers, prosecutors, and Judges do not care about whether a person suffers from a drug abuse problem and the system is aimed at punishing people rather than offering treatment. If you get caught up in the criminal system because of your drug misuse problem, it can be difficult to get out of it and turn your life around.

With a criminal conviction, you can face further negative consequences for your future, such as difficulty seeking employment, applying for education, applying for a bank loan, child custody, and more. As such, it is important that you seek help and try to attend an addiction treatment program if your drug problem is causing you to engage in criminal activities.

Court Ordered Addiction Treatment

In some cases, a Judge may order a person convicted of a drug crime to attend a rehabilitation or addiction treatment center instead of going to prison. Usually, the Judge does this to keep prison numbers down and to lessen the costs of sending people to jail. However, being sent to an addiction treatment center rather than going to jail is a good way to begin a new chapter and try to manage your addiction better.

If you are ordered to attend a drug addiction treatment center by a court, you will be required to obey court orders and attend all meetings and appointments scheduled for you. This means that you will usually be required to stay off drugs during this period of time, and if you do begin to use again you could face harsher penalties, such as going to jail.

We know that coming off of drugs is not that easy and that relapses are completely normal. If you do relapse during this court-ordered addiction program, a lawyer may be able to help prevent you from being sent to jail as a result. Call our law firm to speak with a Kane County criminal defense attorney regarding court-ordered rehab programs.

Is Drug Addiction a Disease?

Drug addiction can affect anyone, regardless of where you came from or your life situation, and can have serious adverse effects on your life. Addiction is classed as a disease by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and many other worldwide health organizations, and it should be treated like other chronic diseases. However, in many cases, people who are addicted to drugs are made to feel like criminals by the police, society, and the criminal court system.

If you suffer from drug addiction, it is important to know that there are many services available for you to receive care. The road to recovery can be difficult and long however it is completely possible with the right support and care that you deserve. If you have been criminalized because of your drug addiction, you should get legal help from a lawyer that understands your situation and can help guide you on a new path in life.

At Hirsch Law Group, we have helped many clients who suffer from addiction overcome their criminal charges and begin a new phase of recovery. Our lawyers will do everything we can to help your situation, whether it is providing legal help or guiding you towards addiction services. Although it may seem like everyone is against you and your options are limited, we want to assure you that with the right treatment and care, overcoming addiction is possible.

Our lawyers understand addiction and want to help you in any way that we can. Call us at 815-880-1134 to schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense attorney.