For many people, it remains a puzzle why someone would become addicted to drugs. Many don’t understand how exactly you can become so much dependent on drugs. So much such that you can’t even control your urge to use them whenever a longing strikes. They simply think that you can easily use your willpower to resist such urges. In reality however, drug addiction is a much more complex problem. It’s not easy for a drug addict to simply quit or use their willpower to overcome an urge. The complexity of drug addiction can be explained by the manner in which drugs affect the body and mind. Drugs especially have a deeper effect on the mind. They influence the brain and induce certain feelings on a user’s mind, usually feelings of ecstasy and ‘highness’. As a result of this, a drug user is likely to use a drug repeatedly in order to experience these special feelings. This explains why one becomes addicted over time.
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction refers to uncontrollable and compulsive use of drugs. In a case where one is addicted to a drug, their usage of the said drug spirals out of control. They feel compelled to continuously use this drug and are generally powerless against its urges and cravings. Drug addicts also tend to take drugs in excessive quantities. An alcohol addict for example usually drinks more alcohol than is the normal case.
Drug addiction doesn’t only encompass compulsive usage of illegal drugs, one can also become dependent on totally legal drugs. We’ve heard cases where one cannot sleep or function unless they take Vicodin and OxyContin. These are totally legal prescription drugs yet they trigger addictions in many a user. There’s a large list of drugs and substances that usually cause addictions. Common drugs and substances that lead to addictions include: heroin, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine, meth, crack, ecstasy, PSP, ketamine, and alcohol among others. Most of these drugs are taken either orally or via injections. They can also be smoked or sniffed.
How do drugs affect the brain?
As explained earlier, drug addiction has a lot to do with a drug’s impact on one’s brain. Whenever one takes an addictive drug, there are chemical changes which occur within the brain. Addictive drugs cause the brain to overproduce dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that is normally associated with good or pleasurable feelings. It’s also usually produced during other activities like eating, sex, and even physical exercise. Addictive drugs however produce dopamine in excessive amounts than is normally the case. Once dopamine has been released, it in turn affects the brain’s limbic system. This is the part of the brain that controls anything pleasure related. Through it, we can sense what brings us pleasure and what gives us undesirable emotions.
Our human brain is wired to want to reinforce anything that is or feels pleasant. This is why drugs easily impact on the limbic system causing additional craving. Through this reward circuit involving the brain, first time drug usage soon morphs into an addiction.
What causes drug addiction?
Drug addiction is a combination of many factors. First and foremost, biology can play a part in addictions. There are people with a genetic makeup that’s more prone to drugs and alcohol. This might explain why there are families and lineages where people have a long history of drug and substance addiction.
Away from genetic factors, socioeconomic factors can also contribute to drug usage and dependence. Most people are for example compelled into drugs by reasons such as poverty, parental neglect, homelessness, sexual abuse and so on. In regards to socioeconomic impacts on drug abuse and addictions, there are two distinct ends of the spectrum. On one end, there are the majority who are driven to drugs because of poverty and hopelessness. On the other hand, there are the few who become addicted because they’re wealthy and can comfortably afford drugs. This cader of users however usually have some underlying reasons for their addictions. Their drug usage often goes deeper than just their possession of disposable income.
In addition to the other reasons, drug addiction can also be triggered by emotional and mental problems. Many drug addicts for example seek solace in drugs owing to problems such as stress and depression.
Why are some people more susceptible to drug addiction than others?
There are a number of reasons why some people are more prone to drug addictions than others. The reasons are more or less the same as the causes of addictions. Socioeconomic issues like poverty are for instance more likely to expose one to drugs compared to better living conditions. One’s environment also greatly influences their susceptibility to drug addiction. Youths and persons living in ghetto neighborhoods are for example more susceptible to addictions than those in better neighborhoods. The deplorable conditions within inner city locations are likely to cause one to turn to drugs as an escape route. Age is also a contributing factor to drug usage and susceptibility. There are certain ages where one is especially prone to drugs. Teenage in particular is one such age. As a teenager, there’s first of all the emotional problems associated with the adolescence stage plus the issue of peer influence. Teenagers have a strong desire to fit in, they may even turn to drugs to make them acceptable among peers.
There are many more reasons which can be attributed to susceptibility to drug addiction. These include illiteracy, broken families, early start of drug usage, domestic abuse, and crime among others.
Is it possible to treat drug addiction and how can it be done?
Yes, it is possible to treat drug addiction problems. The only issue however is that the treatment is a whole lot of process. Treatment of drug addictions can take up to several years. Given its pattern of occurrence, health professionals classify drug addiction as a chronic disease. Addiction is therefore viewed as an illness which needs to be dealt with just like any other. To be able to treat drug and substance addiction, you’ll need to focus on physiological as well as psychological remedies. Physiological treatment involves medication whereas psychological treatment involves counselling and behavior change therapies. Physiological treatment aims to help one recover from addictions using medication. Medication is first of all administered to flush out the abused drug from the addict’s system. Drugs contain toxins and chemicals whose continued presence in the body can harm a user.
The second and most important medical remedy for drug addiction is the treatment of tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Without this crucial step, all the treatment efforts are as good as not attempted. Recovering drug addicts experience strong withdrawal symptoms. These include intense cravings, palpitations, seizures, and even gastrointestinal problems. To treat these symptoms, medics can use ‘substitute drugs’. These are drugs which also produce a ‘high’ feeling but with less harmful effects. They are allowed by the FDA and are safe to use on patients.
Examples of the substitute drugs include methadone and buprenophine. These are opioid drugs which help to suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. Aside from pharmaceutical drugs, clinicians are also nowadays exploring the use of herbal remedies for drug withdrawal symptoms. An example of this is the use of KRATOM. Kratom is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia. Its leaves are usually dried and used for various medicinal purposes including drug addiction problems. Kratom is totally legal here in the US. You can easily buy kratom bulk usa in kratomnesia as well as certain herbal stores.
Aside from medicinal treatment, it’s also important that a drug addict be taken through psychological treatment. It’s advisable to enrol an addict at a drug rehabilitation center. Here, he or she will receive the psychological and emotional support necessary to overcome an addiction. With medicinal remedy and behavioral counselling and support, a drug addict can over time get past his or her addition. Remember though that the whole addiction treatment takes a process. Kin and caregivers should be supportive to addicts to help them in recovery.