For many people drug addiction is a difficult thing to understand, especially if you are someone who does not have an addiction problem. Many individuals view drug addicts as people who have no morals or will to stop using drugs. The assumption that addicts can simply cease use and change their behavior or attitude is untrue, yet many do not realize this. In actuality, drug addiction is more complex than most can imagine. Rarely can addiction be ended with only a change of attitude or intentions. The truth is that drugs ultimately change the way a person’s brain functions on a daily basis. This makes quitting difficult even if the addict has the desire to stop using. These changes in the brain cause continuous thoughts about the drug. The effort to quit becomes a minute to minute battle under these conditions. Even with all the scientific studies and research regarding the topic of drug abuse, the exact causes of addiction elude most. This makes recovery a difficult process, for each person has their own reasons for abusing drugs and requires different types of attention in order to fully recover.
Drug Addiction is Everyone’s Problem
Drug addiction and abuse affects more than just the addict: The issues spread and affect a vast majority of society that must deal with addicts in their homes or on the streets. Society definitely suffers as a consequence of drug addiction. It has been estimated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that in the United States the cost of substance abuse exceeds $600 billion annually. This includes lost productivity, health costs and crime related costs. About $193 billion is spent on illegal drugs, $193 billion on tobacco products and $235 billion on alcohol. These numbers cannot even begin to describe the true destructiveness drug addiction causes to families, employers, schools and children. All of these areas in an addict’s life experience turmoil and can become distraught over the actions an addict takes to continue destructive patterns.
What is Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is something that causes the brain to tell the addict to continually seek drugs and abuse them. The addict makes the first decision to use drugs on their own without the brain really assisting in the decision. Over time though, when drugs have been used for an extended period of time the brain begins to transform and need the drugs just to get by. This is partly due to the drugs replacing the natural hormones the addict’s body produces. This replacement of natural hormones with synthetic ones causes the brain to challenge a person’s self control and their ability to not go out and use drugs. The brain stops even attempting to create the hormones naturally and expects you to give in to the cravings, so it can have more powerful substances to replace the natural hormones; drugs.
In the process of an addict’s brain reshaping the way it functions, the addict begins to make poor decisions that affect many areas of their life. The behavior most think of when the word drug addict is brought up are attributes such as, poor decision making, lack of morals and many other negative connotations. These behaviors are carried out by drug addicts partly due to the brain insisting that drugs are necessary to survive. This is when one’s drug abuse has become a problem in a person’s life and self control and respect have completely disappeared.
Fortunately there are ways for addicts to recover from drug addiction, if one is willing. There are various methods of treatment for drug addiction if one has the willingness to obtain sobriety. A treatment facility that focuses on both the addict’s drug abuse and areas of their life affected by the addiction usually have a lasting effect. Regrettably, relapse is always a possibility. If relapse happens it does not mean that the person is doomed to a life of drug addiction forever. It simply means that there was something during the recovery process that was not fully worked through and needs to be worked on some more. Sometimes individuals will need to seek different methods of treatment or take a closer look at what in their life or mind is causing continued drug abuse.
Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs and Others Do Not
Drug addiction does not have a specific type of person that it threatens more than another. This is one reason it is difficult to prevent before it has already happened. Most of the time there are a number of factors that affect someone and result in a drug addiction. The risk for drug addiction can be influenced by a number of factors such as environment, age or stage of development along with many other factors that can contribute. For example:
- Environmental Factors: The environment in which one operates can have many different influences such as loved ones, peer group and social status. Factors such as peer pressure, neighborhood activity, mental or physical abuse, stress or familial demands can all influence whether someone will try to find solace in drugs. These factors can cause one to want to escape from life and eventually escalate to addiction.
- Developmental Factors: While drug addiction can occur at any age, being introduced to drugs at an early age has lasting effects. The earlier one tries drugs for the first time, the more likely they are to progress into drug addiction. This is due to the brain not being fully developed in areas such as decision making, self control or good judgment. The lack of development and use of drugs mixed together usually always have a negative effect on an individual.
Drug Prevention is Imperative
While drug addiction is not 100% preventable, prevention programs that involve families, communities and peers have been proven effective by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These programs help youth see that drugs are dangerous and deter youth from using drugs, or reduce the amount of their drug taking. Therefore, drug education and community outreach are imperative in assisting the youth of America along with the general public to understand the effects and risks of drug abuse. The message that the drugs hold more risk than reward needs to be continually spread to the younger generation to assist in preventing drug addiction from occurring.
[Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse]