Often times, people view drug addiction as a social problem and that the addict can simply wake up one day and stop using as long as he is willing. What many fail to understand is that drug addiction is a chronic and compulsive disorder that makes an individual rely on drugs to achieve a certain level of satisfaction. Drug addiction is a brain disease that makes it heavily rely on substance and hence stopping is not determined by willpower but a lot of help. A person who is trying to stop drug abuse goes through a tough withdrawal stage and such a person doesn’t receive enough help might end up relapsing.
What happens when your brain gets used to drugs?
When you start using drugs, they release chemicals that either imitate the functionality of your brain communication system or overstimulate the system. As a result, you start failing to send, receive, and process information in a normal way. For example, drugs such as heroin and marijuana produce the same transmitters as the brain cells. However, unlike the brain cells, these transmitters activate the brain cells to send wrong messages. Cocaine, on the other hand, causes the brain nerve system to produce a high amount of neurotransmitters which end up shutting off the signal between the neurons.
Reason why some people are addicted to drugs while others are not
Millions of people around the globe abuse drugs on a daily basis. However, only a small percentage become addicted to their use. Unfortunately, you cannot tell whether you are going to become an addict in the long run or not. However, whether a person becomes addicted to drugs or not depends on the following factors;
- An underlying mental disorder– if someone starts using drugs as a way to cope with a psychiatric disorder such depression, anxiety, stress or mood swings, there are high chances the person is going to become addicted. This is because the condition is already making the person have overwhelming feelings which drive him to rely on drugs to calm himself down. In the process, the person ends up becoming a daily user.
- Genetics– a persona can inherit drug addiction behaviors from his parents. For instance, if a child has parents who heavily use drugs, he is more likely to become addicted than a child whose parents never used drugs.
- Social environment– the kind of environment a person grows up in or the type of people he associates with can greatly influence his behavior. This happens due to peer pressure, social norms, and ease to access drugs and alcohol.
- Going through a traumatic event– if a person goes through a traumatic event such as rape, abusive childhood or loss of loved ones, he turns to drugs to help wipe away the memories. In the process of feeling high, he might get deeper into drug use that he initially intended.
Although having one or more of the above factors increase your chances of becoming an addict, there is no guarantee that a person how doesn’t have any of them won’t be addicted too. In addition, not everyone who has experienced the above can become an addict, some people come back to their senses before it’s too late.
Other drug abuse risk factors
In addition to the above factors, there are other drug abuse risk factors and these include;
- Poor parenting- if parents are not concerned about what happens in their kid’s life, he might end up joining the wrong company that will introduce him to drug abuse. By the time the parents come to realize that the child is abusing, it might be too late.
- Lenient attitude toward drug abuse– if parents show their kids that they have no problem with drug abuse or don’t take stern action if the kid is caught with drugs, that kid will indulge deeper in drugs as he feels his parents have no problem with him using.
- Poor relationship with the parents– sometimes when there develop a poor relationship between parents and kids, the kids try to confide in older friends who are willing to listen to them. Unfortunately, most “friends” who give a hearing ear are the ones that end up introducing kids to drugs.
- Peer pressure– if your kid hangs out with people who use drugs, there are high chances he is going to be introduced to the behavior. Unless you are very stern on the kind of people he associates with, he might end up becoming an addict no matter how careful you have been.
- Approval of drug use in the community– if you kid attends a school that has no strict rules against drug abuse, he might end up in the wrong crowd that will introduce him.
Signs of drug addiction
If a close family member or friend is abusing drugs, he needs immediate professional help before the problem deteriorates. You can tell if someone is using drugs from the following symptoms:
- Cravings– as someone becomes addicted, he starts to develop cravings for the drug and is willing to do anything in order to get it.
- Drug tolerance– as a person continues to use the drug, it reaches a point where he needs to use more in order to feel its effect.
- Irresponsible behavior– as the person becomes addicted, he can do anything to acquire the drug and that includes stealing, lying or even selling household items.
- Withdrawal signs– it might reach a point that the individual tries to wean himself from drug abuse. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms which may include persistent headaches, nausea, and anxiety among others. The person may also start skipping his job or even leaving office before closing hours in order to go seek for drugs.
- Negligence– if the person has a family, he starts ignoring them and their needs and al his focus is on getting drugs. He can do anything without caring whether he is hurting other people or not as long as his carvings are met.
- Isolation– when the addiction becomes too much, the person starts to isolate himself as he tries to hide his drug use from his friends and family.