Drug abuse and addiction have become a curse for many decades worldwide. There are concentrated efforts that involve various governments, agencies and sectors to address the problem of substance abuse. Yet, a lot of people still do not understand how and why a person becomes addicted to drugs.
The National institute on Drug Abuse describes addiction as a complex and chronic disease set apart by habitual use and physical dependence. Brain changes affect the individual’s self-restraint and hamper the capacity to refrain from taking different types of drugs. The changes are usually recurring. It is precisely the reason drug addiction is regarded as a degenerating malady. This means people who have stopped and are in the process of recovering can still revert to their old ways.
Effects of Drug Use
Repeated drug use disturbs the brain by swamping it with the chemical known as dopamine. It is a form of reward system that regulates the person’s capacity to feel contentment. At the same time, this chemical creates an urge to repeat actions like eating, engaging in leisure activities, and spending time with family members. Over-stimulation of said system can cause people to take drugs repeatedly.
Continuous drug-dependence affects the following brain functions:
- Making decisions
Regrettably, lots of people still use drugs notwithstanding harmful consequences which represent the very nature of drug addiction.
Causes of Addiction
The causes can be psychological, environmental, or hereditary. For some people, substance abuse and eventual addiction is the primary root of this age-old problem.
Psychological indicates a traumatic occurrence in life when the person was younger. Trauma comes in the form of physical maltreatment or sexual abuse, parental neglect, or broken homes. Troubled individuals commit the mistake of considering various types of drugs as “self-medications” that leads to their craving for illegal substances. Psychological grounds include depression or mental disorders; lack of acquaintances; failure to connect with other people; bad performance at school or workplace; and inability to cope with anxiety.
Environmental refers to the person’s surroundings. People who are reared in an environment or family of addicts are susceptible to substance abuse. Physical dependence normally begins during adolescent years. Early stages often involve experimenting with substances aggravated by the absence of parental guidance. Other environmental causes are peer pressure, socio-economic status, gender, and traditions.
The last category is genetics. Drug addiction has the tendency to carry on in the family which implies that heredity is a key factor. This may involve sequences of genes although there is no scientific proof to bolster this theory. However, genes involved in nicotinic receptors indicate that genetics really play a role in drug dependence.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Signs of dependence include tolerance for drugs and lack of control over the quantity of drug used; giving up activities you used to relish; and continued use of drugs even if you are aware of their harmful consequences. The user who experiences mild or acute withdrawal symptoms is possibly a drug dependent. Some of these warning indicators are:
- Severe headaches
- Fits of depression
- Nausea either with or without throwing up
- Excessive sweating
- Too much exhaustion
- Trembling of the body
- Insomnia or Restlessness
Abuse and Addiction
There is a distinction between repeated use, abuse, and addiction. Dependents fail to understand they have overstepped the limits or boundary. Bear in mind the rate of recurrence or the amount of consumption does not automatically signify abuse or addiction. Nevertheless, these could be the gauge for drug-related issues.
These are the facts: Drug abuse often starts with social connections. The person dares to go into drugs if this is the only way to be accepted into a group which is peer pressure. Drug use slowly escalates after a while. It may start with smoking a joint of marijuana or snorting cocaine at a party of teenagers. It progresses from one day to several days each week until this practice turns out daily. The routine becomes important to that person.
Dependence increases once the young man or woman sees the drug fulfilling a critical need. This may come in the form of a soothing or energizing effect. Prescription drugs typically mitigate chronic pain or panic fits. This casual drug use can result to substance abuse if the individual does not have self-control. As abuse shifts to addiction, the addict deviates from normal life and ends up neglecting family members, responsibilities, work, and school.
The positive news for people addicted to drugs is it is still possible to turn their backs on this misconduct by opting for effective treatment options. Initially, you must accept that you have a concern which is substance abuse. The National institute on Drug Abuse added that programs for prevention require cooperation among families, communities, schools, media, and local authorities (www.lapazchattanooga.org). This calls for the participation of healthcare practitioners, educators, and parents as well in outreach and information dissemination.
Scientific research conducted many years ago discovered valuable assumptions and standards that should establish the core of treatment options. One is to treat addiction as a convoluted but curable syndrome that adversely affects the brain and conduct. Dependents require prompt access to treatment even as there is no one treatment that fits all people.
Effective treatment does not only deal with drug abuse but other needs of the patient including mental disorders. All treatment plans require periodic review by specialists and customized to match the changing needs of the patient. Use of any types of drugs must be monitored from time to time.
Last but not least medications must be complemented with counseling as well as different therapies even if medical supported detoxification is just the first step for cure (www.ahealthyme.com). Prescription medicines help restrain withdrawal symptoms during the stage of detoxification. But, this is not treatment per se but only a preparatory procedure. Patients who are not treated following this process generally revert to substance abuse.