The Effects Of Drug Addiction
The sad truth is that more deaths, illnesses, and disabilities are caused by substance abuse than by any other preventable health condition. Prolonged drug dependence interferes with just about every organ in the human body, and while different drugs have different damaging effects, these are some of the common conditions substance abuse can cause:
- Damaged immune system, which increases susceptibility to infection
- Cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and collapsed veins
- Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
- Liver overexertion or liver failure
- Seizures and strokes
- Widespread brain damage that can interfere with memory, attention, and decision-making, as well as permanent brain damage
Some of the worst effects of substance abuse arent even health related. Drug abuse can have a number of damaging consequences on an addicts social and emotional well-being, including:
- Loss of employment
- Risky sexual behavior
Many problems can be reversed or minimized by getting sober, but there may be some health and emotional issues that simply wont heal with time. The best way to prevent permanent damage is to seek professional drug addiction treatment ASAP to overcome the addiction.
Most Common Causes Of Drug Addiction
Drug abuse is a disease that devastates millions of lives each and every year. People who struggle with addiction cause pain not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.
There are plenty of causes of drug addiction. Everyone has their own story, and each story is as heartbreaking as the next.
In this article, we take a look at some of the leading reasons drug addiction occurs. Keep reading to learn how more and more people continue to fall into this trap.
What Environmental Factors Increase The Risk Of Addiction
Environmental factors are those related to the family, school, and neighborhood. Factors that can increase a person’s risk include the following:
- Home and Family. The home environment, especially during childhood, is a very important factor. Parents or older family members who use drugs or misuse alcohol, or who break the law, can increase children’s risk of future drug problems.29
- Peer and School. Friends and other peers can have an increasingly strong influence during the teen years. Teens who use drugs can sway even those without risk factors to try drugs for the first time. Struggling in school or having poor social skills can put a child at further risk for using or becoming addicted to drugs.30
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Common Types Of Drug Abuse
Drug abuse can lead to addiction, which occurs due to changes in the structures and functions of the brain related to substance abuse. Addiction is characterized by being unable to stop using drugs or alcohol compulsively even though theyre causing problems in your life.
The three main types of drug abuse are:
alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse, and legal and illegal drug abuse.
The most common form of alcohol abuse is binge drinking, which involves consuming enough alcohol in the space of two hours to bring your blood alcohol content up to .08 percent. For women, this is four drinks. For men, its five.
Prescription drug abuse involves using a prescription medicationsuch as prescription painkillers like OxyContin or stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, in a way other than as prescribed. This may mean taking more than prescribed or taking someone elses medications. While around half of all high school students believe that prescription drug abuse is safe because these drugs are prescribed by a doctor, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, more than 100 people die every day due to painkiller overdoses alone.
Legal and illegal drug abuse involves using drugs that are either illegal, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, or legal but dangerous, such as kratom and cough syrup. is the most commonly abused drug after alcohol, and marijuana abuse is expected to rise as the drug becomes legal in more states.
Neurotransmitters And Drug Addiction
Neurons communicate with each other by sending messages along axons and dendrites via electrical impulses. The axons turn these impulses into chemical signals, sending neurotransmitters across synapses. The receiving dendrite then converts neurotransmitters back into the right electrical signals, so we understand the message for example, that bite of pie was delicious, Ill take another one. These exchanges happen countless times in the brain, and they control mood, behavior, movement, and cognition.
Drugs are built to interfere with those messages, causing the release of too many neurotransmitters for the wrong behaviortaking drugs. This causes a huge spike in pleasure for a destructive activity that eclipses normally pleasant activities needed for survival. Drug use also prevents normal reuptake of these brain chemicals, throwing off the entire process and your natural balance, altering your mood. Soon, all that matters is to produce that flood of neurotransmitters againand due to the addiction, theres just one way to do that: drug use.
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The Brain And Drug Addiction
The brain is the human bodys most complex organ. Substance abuse and drug addiction affect the human brain in three central regions:
The limbic system functions with the help of neurotransmitters, and these play an important role in drug addiction.
Can Drug Addiction Be Cured Or Prevented
As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally isnt a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. Treatment approaches tailored to each patients drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.
More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.
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Why Do Only Some People Become Addicted To Drugs
Some people are more vulnerable to drug addiction than others, just as some people are more vulnerable to cancer or diabetes than others. There is no single factor that controls whether you will become addicted. Overall, though, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of drug addiction is on the other hand, the more protective factors you have the less risk of addiction you face.
Risk factors and protective factors both can be biological or environmental.
Mental Illness And Addiction
Does mental illness directly cause addiction? No. Does it make someone more likely to become addicted? Yes. Around 29 percent of all people living with a mental health disorder are also engaging in substance abuse, HelpGuide reports. Many people who suffer from mental illness are taking treatment medications. These drugs often carry addictive potential, such as benzodiazepines, a class of drugs the Drug Enforcement Administration notes as being prescribed over 127 million times in 2011.
Others might engage in the abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs as an escape from mental health symptoms. Sometimes individuals dont even know that is what theyre doing. People who spend years of their lives feeling depressed, anxious, or otherwise unstable might not know that they can feel any different. That is life as they know it, so it isnt abnormal to them. Its just hard, and they look for an escape via alcohol and drugs.
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Causes Of Addiction And How It Can Affect You
Addiction means not being able to control doing, taking or using something. This can be to a point where it is harmful to you.
It can mean continuing to use a substance or continuing with a certain behaviour. Even if it is having a negative impact for you or those around you.
Addiction can be to a substance or behaviour.
You can have an addiction to:
- drugs – illegal and prescription drugs
Causes & Risk Factors Of Addiction
There is no single cause of addiction people begin using substances for many reasons and one persons path to addiction may look drastically different from that of another.
Apart from the case of beginning drug use via a prescription from a doctor, there are 4 main reasons people may try substances, according to NIDA:1
- To feel good. Drugs may lure people with the appeal of:
- A euphoric high.
People who have an intensely good experience their first time using begin to learn that drugs can make them feel great, and the foundations of addiction are set. Not everyone responds the same way to drugs and alcohol, however.
For years, experts have debated if it was nature or nurture that determined whether someone will become addicted. Now, the prevailing view is that there is no one thing we can look at to predict someones risk of developing an SUDrather, the interaction of the persons unique biology and environment BOTH influence how the drug will impact a persons susceptibility to becoming addicted.1
- Home environment.
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Genetic Factors Of Addiction
The link between genetics and addiction is strong. Studies show heritability of the disease at 30% to 70% based on the substance abused. If your parent or an immediate family member struggles with addiction, you may be twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than someone who doesnt have the same genetic link.
While scientists havent found one specific addiction gene, a large body of research points to genetic influences in people who abuse alcohol and drugs. By comparing DNA of family members with substance abuse, scientists have pinpointed groups of similar genes and similar ways proteins bind to genes in relatives, not found in people without substance abuse issues.
Genes can influence the way drugs interact in your brain and body. This may make you more or less susceptible to addiction. For example, if you have lower levels of natural opioids in your brain and you try heroin, it may impact you more. You may feel more of a pull to continue using it because of the high it produces. Genes also influence how your brain regulates moods and impulse control. While environmental factors may be more influential for trying drugs as a teenager, genetic factors can impact repetitive drug misuse in adulthood. Drugs and alcohol can be a form of self-medication, and if you have problems regulating your mood and impulses on your own, substance abuse may provide temporary relief.
Effects Of Cocaine Addiction
When you use cocaine, you look forward to the instant pleasurable side effects, which include euphoria, confidence, and alertness. This is due to the dopamine thats sent to your brain within minutes. But as with any drug, cocaine comes with some side effects that arent pleasant and can even be dangerous.
The psychological side effects of cocaine addiction often include the following:
- Heart attack
These are just the side effects that youre likely to feel as you use cocaine. There are additional long-term effects that could be lifelong problems. These problems can include permanent damage to your heart, stomach, brain and lungs. And of course, overdosewhich can lead to coma or deathis another big concern when youre addicted to cocaine.
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What Are Drugs Of Abuse
Drugs that are commonly misused include:
- Synthetic cannabinoids .
- Synthetic cathinones .
- Tobacco/nicotine and electronic cigarettes .
While these drugs are very different from each other, they all strongly activate the addiction center of the brain. That is what makes these substances habit-forming, while others are not.
Treatment For Cocaine Addiction
Fortunately, there are several types of treatment for addiction to this drug. Some of the most common ones to expect are one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step therapy in a group setting.
If youre ready to get treatment for your cocaine addiction, come to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. Located in Quincy, MA, were considered the leading drug rehab in the state due to our high quality of care from a trusted team. We offer many evidence-based treatments that we can customize to suit your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you at our outpatient treatment center!
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Is Treatment For Drug Addiction Inpatient Or Outpatient
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment plans are available, depending on your needs. Treatment typically involves group therapy sessions that occur weekly for three months to a year.
Inpatient therapy can include:
- Therapeutic communities or sober houses, which are tightly controlled, drug-free environments.
Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help you on the path to recovery. Self-help groups are also available for family members, including Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Family Groups. Participation in 12-step based recovery work has been proven to improve outcomes.
What Causes Drug Abuse Or Dependence
Cultural and societal factors determine what are acceptable or allowable forms of drug or alcohol use. Public laws determine what kind of drug use is legal or illegal. The question of what type of substance use can be considered normal or acceptable remains controversial. Substance abuse and dependence are caused by multiple factors, including genetic vulnerability, environmental stressors, social pressures, individual personality characteristics, and psychiatric problems. But which of these factors has the biggest influence in any one person cannot be determined in all cases.
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Drug Addiction And Changes In The Brain
Drug addiction often causes actual physical changes in the brain. Specifically, addiction alters the way the brain experiences pleasure, modifying certain nerve cells . Neurons communicate with each other and create moods and other sensations using chemicals called neurotransmitters, and drug addiction can change the way neurotransmitters work in the brain.
Historically, drug addiction and those suffering with it were maligned as morally weak people who made bad choices. This pure behavioral model, however, fails to account for the biological changes that addiction triggers in the body and brain. Furthermore, it overlooks the issue of comorbidity many people who are addicted to drugs also suffer from mental health problems and use drugs to self-medicate for those problems.
Although the idea of drug addiction being a failure of will and sign of bad character is waning in most progressive areas of society, the idea does persist in many circles.
Comprehensive Drug And Alcohol Rehab In Pennsylvania
Overcoming substance abuse is a challenging and life-long process. When you want to get to the underlying causes of your addiction, DreamLife Recovery is here to help. We offer customized rehab programs in Pennsylvania to help you learn what caused your addiction.
We also treat co-occurring disorders and provide treatment options for your addiction and mental health disorder. Please feel free to call us at 402-3592 with any questions or to start your drug and alcohol rehab program today!
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Consequences Of Drug Addiction
The consequences of drug addiction are devastating for the individual and for their social and family environment, and include:
- Inability to lead a normal life. Eventually the drug takes over the life of the consumer, who begins to sacrifice more and more things to have it: he pays more and more money , sells personal items, etc.
- Physical and psychological damage. Beyond the emotional damage that the cycle of guilt and despair that destroys their life produces in the individual, uncontrolled consumption can lead to physical damage or even neuronal damage .
- Isolation. Given the destructiveness of the cycle, drug addicts tend to isolate themselves and be rejected by their emotional environments: partners, family and friends, who may be victims of their needs.
- Death. Due to overdose, derived complications or street violence, since the addict usually operates in illicit environments.
How Addiction Develops
For most people, the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary. But as they are swept up into the cycle of addiction, the neural pathways in their brain change so they are less able to control their behavior and resist their intense impulses.
It works like this: the brain rewards pleasurable experiences with surges of feel-good chemicals like dopamine. But using drugs triggers the release of much more dopamine than chocolate or cuddling does, and the rush of euphoria compels them to repeat the experience. The more someone uses drugs, the more they condition their brain to anticipate the same substance-fueled pleasant sensations.
Thats why its so difficult to stop. The brain becomes wired for addiction. Eventually, ones tolerance may build so much that addictive behavior no longer provides any pleasure, and using drugs simply becomes a way to avoid withdrawal. They need drugs just to keep feeling normal.
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