Substance abuse

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Get help for a drug addiction

On this page you can read about drug addiction. Find information on the symptoms and consequences of drug dependence.

You can also read about how to get treatment and get out of drug addiction.

How many people are drug users in Denmark?

According to the Danish Health Authority, there are about 20,000 high-risk users of opioids – such as heroin – in Denmark. The total number of people in Denmark with high-risk use of opioids and other illicit drugs (excluding cannabis) is estimated to be around 52,000.

In addition, it is estimated that there are around 32,600 people in Denmark with a high-risk use of cannabis. Drugs are therefore widespread among the Danish population, and this is problematic. Drugs create addiction – and drug addiction is not easy to get out of without help.

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If you need help to cope with an addiction or if you need help for a relative, please contact us anonymously.

Why do some people develop drug addiction?

Anyone can become a drug user – even those who seem stable and well-adjusted or come from well-functioning families. However, everyone is different and it is therefore difficult to give a clear answer as to why some people develop a drug addiction. In fact, both psychological factors and the biology of the individual’s nervous system play a role in developing drug dependence.

Unfortunately, there is also a tendency for people who are already vulnerable – for example, because they have a mental disorder or other personal problems – to be at increased risk of becoming drug users.

Indeed, many vulnerable people use drugs as a way of escaping from difficult or challenging daily lives. And when you use drugs in this way, you risk developing an addiction. When this has been done over and over again, and drugs have become the preferred “solution” to life’s problems, there is serious drug dependence.

Drugs are everywhere

Another factor in developing drug dependence is availability. Drugs are widely available in Danish society. So it’s not hard to keep using, and it’s not far from taking drugs on festive occasions to developing an addiction. Most drugs are highly addictive – and that makes it hard to stop once you’ve started.

Substance abuse usually develops at a relatively young age and the risk of developing an addiction seems to be lower when reaching adulthood. Young people often come together in groups with other young people who think like they do. Thus, being in a drug-abusing environment increases the likelihood of developing a drug addiction.

How do you detect a drug addiction?

When assessing whether a person has a substance use disorder, one typically looks at the problems the person’s substance use creates. For example, many people who take drugs experience:

  • Health problems
  • Problems attending school/work
  • Financial problems
  • Problems with relationships with family and friends

Drug dependence often manifests as changes in behaviour and thinking. Many people who use drugs experience mood swings, difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbances. It is also common to lose interest in the things and activities you used to enjoy, to lose interest in your own well-being and to stop looking after yourself.

As drug use grows, people typically spend more and more time and energy getting the drug and using it, while neglecting their daily responsibilities.

Drug dependence also causes many psychological and physical symptoms. You can read more about these below.

What is drug abuse?

When you have developed a drug addiction, you take the drug because you have a strong craving for it. The urge can be both mental and physical.

Psychological dependence on drugs typically manifests itself in strong cravings for the satisfaction and sense of well-being that the drug provides. When your brain is not affected by the drug, you will often experience mental instability in the form of:

  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Irritation
  • Peace

The brain is not the only thing that gets used to the drug: the body also gets used to its effects. Therefore, you may also experience physical symptoms of addiction. Among the physical symptoms you may experience:

  • Shaking
  • Fever cramp
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea

The physical symptoms in particular are signs of withdrawal.

What are the harms and consequences of drug use?

Withdrawal is an unpleasant part of drug use. But while the physical symptoms above are unpleasant, they are far from the only consequences you can expose yourself to when you have a drug addiction – nor are they the most serious.

In the long run, many drugs can contribute to psychiatric conditions such as acute and chronic psychosis. These conditions may include hallucinations, persecutory ideation and confusional states.

Unfortunately, there is also an increased incidence of suicide among drug users. This is due both to the disorders that accompany drug use – such as depression, anxiety and psychosis – but also often to the difficult social situation in which the addict finds himself.

Injecting drug users also run the risk of contracting HIV, AIDS, hepatitis and other infections.

Another consequence of drug addiction is the financial problems many people end up in as a result of their addiction. In the worst case, these problems can lead to crime and prostitution.

As mentioned above, many addicts find themselves in a difficult social situation. Therefore, addiction does not only affect the addict: Those around them – family, friends and work relationships – will also be badly affected by the drug. There are therefore many reasons why the best thing an addict can do for him or herself is to seek help to get off drugs.

How to get out of drug addiction?

The first step out of drug addiction is to realise that you are responsible for your own behaviour. However, as mentioned above, it is not easy to come out of addiction on your own, and as a drug user it is therefore important to get support and help to make the choice to stop using.

As a relative of a drug user, one of the best things you can do is talk to them about the problem. When the person is ready to come out of addiction, you can help them contact their doctor or a professional addiction centre that offers addiction treatment.

At Alfa-Fredensborg addiction centre and rehab clinic we offer residential treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Our professional therapists tailor each course of treatment to the individual. You are therefore always guaranteed detoxification and treatment that exactly suits your individual needs. You can read more about our residential treatment here.

Do you need help?

Are you a relative of a drug addict and need advice on treatment? Or are you addicted to drugs yourself and ready to find your way out of addiction and into a better life? Call us – whenever you need help.

You can also send us an email at to find out more about our treatment services. We look forward to helping you.