Drug addiction (dependence) is compulsively using a substance, despite its negative and sometimes dangerous effects. Drug abuse is using a drug excessively, or for purposes for which it was not medically intended.
A physical dependence on a substance (needing the drug to function) is not always part of the definition of addiction. Some drugs (for example, some blood pressure medications) don't cause addiction but do cause physical dependence. Other drugs cause addiction without physical dependence (cocaine withdrawal, for example, doesn't have symptoms like vomiting and chills; it mainly involves depression).
Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction. People who use drugs for pain relief may become dependent, although this is rare in those who don't have a history of addiction.
The exact cause of drug abuse and dependence is not known. However, the person's genes, the action of the drug, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental stress all can be factors.
Peer pressure can lead to drug use or abuse, but at least half of those who become addicted have depression, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or another psychological problem.
If the person also has depression or another mood disorder, it should be treated. Very often, people start abusing drugs in their effort to self-treat mental illness.
More information can be obtained at:
I hope this information provides some information that is useful to you.
Are you writing about a particular group - age, ethnic, racial, etc.? Are you concentrating on street drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol or all of the three? You mentioned that you want "information that will support the theory that drug addiction cannot be addressed without proper mental health services". Are you going to use information from AA or similar groups to compare this with? There are also cultural ways of dealing with the issue (eg: Native American "healing" - sweats, doctoring ceremonies). Will you mention these? Will you be using human "subjects" and/or doing interviews of any kind? How do you define "mental health"?
IMHO, a Google search might be helpful but so much of that information is inaccurate, depending on the source. Searching different university libraries might help.
Sorry for all the questions. I went through the dissertation process a few years ago. My brain is still not working right = )
Have fun researching and writing.
My wife and I were hard core crack addicts for almost three years. We walked away from it without benefit of any mental health services whatsoever. We did have a young daughter depending on us, and we had reached rock bottom for the second time. When I say rock bottom I mean it.. digging edible roots to feed our daughter while dealers looked for Papa to take his kneecaps off. In my opinion, mental health services before it reached that point may have been a desirable thing. Anyway, there's my two dimes worth (inflation, you know, two cents doesn't get it any longer).
There is one thing that I have a hard time admitting when I talk with my GP. An entire summer, my daughter's first year, was a summer I spent with hang-overs. The psychological distress (which it so nice is called) was high. With alcohol in the blood, I felt guilty of failing on her every single day but I drank at night just to fall asleep. Better do I know now: It's not a good idea.
I think it solved very much when I finally talked with my GP about depression and being diagnosed. Drinking and taking antidepressants didn't match so I dropped the drinking.
After yet more distress of being attacked an evening I was jogging across a church yard 3 years ago, it was easy to try to numb out with painkillers.
This isn't anything I am proud of having done and without even having talked with my psychologist about the dependency, it has come very clear to me: I do it because I am tired of the mind constantly running. To keep on running is just not going to help.
As for now I am not dependant of alcohol nor pills and I know that I can't keep anything addictive in the house, even though I use sleeping aids every now and then. It is a choice the first time. The second time it isn't any longer a choice - it is a way to continue to escape. (Others might of course disagree).
I keep thinking that I won't get addicted to sleeping aids, but I know that at least 4 physicians have been careful about prescribing sleeping aids for one who has depression (even if it is affected by season). I do guess that mental health workers do their job: They really do look at family history. At least they have done so with me, and I am thankful for that.
Good luck with this!
There are many personal stories in this world :-)