Understanding Drug Use And Addiction Drugfacts
Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.
Rewarding The Brain: How Addictions Develop
The brain regulates temperature, emotion, decision-making, breathing, and coordination. This major organ of the body also impacts physical sensations in the body, cravings, compulsions, and habits. Under the influence of a powerful and harmful chemical, individuals abusing substances like Benzodiazepines or Heroin can alter the function of their brain.
Drugs interact with the limbic system in the brain to release strong feel-good emotions, affecting the individuals body and mind. Individuals continue taking drugs to support the intense feel-good emotions the brain releases this creates a cycle of drug use and intense highs. Eventually, they take the drug just to feel normal.
Why Do People Become Addicted To Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
Reflection essay on Addiction And Theories|Nursing
Ksir, C., Hart, C., Ray,O. Drugs, Society and Human Behavior, Twelfth Edition. McGraw Hill Publisher
Read Chapter 2 of the text, note the definitions and the major theories about how drug use leads to drug abuse/addiction.
What is your favorite theory of Addiction?
Why do people become addicted to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs ?
Write a definition of addiction/dependency:
Nature of addiction/dependency etiology: what happens to a person who is addicted/dependent on ATOD
Bio-Psycho-Social Model: write your favorite explanations of why someone might become addicted to AOD, based on specific theories in each of the following categories
Biological causes/factors of addiction/dependency
Social causes/factors of addiction/dependency
The Biopsychosocial Approach
Biological, psychological, and social factors exist along a continuum of natural systems, as depicted in the list here.
Systematic consideration of psychological and social factors requires application of relevant social sciences, just as consideration of biological factors requires application of relevant natural sciences. Therefore, both the natural and social sciences are basic to medical practice. In other words, psychological and social factors are not merely epiphenomena: they can be understood in scientific ways at their own levels as well as in regard to their biological correlates.
Recognize that relationships are central to providing health care
Don’t Miss: What Are Signs Of Addiction To Pain Pills
What Is Substance Use Disorder
SUDs can lead to a persons inability to control their use of substances, such as alcohol, drugs, or medications.2 Some people experience moderate to severe symptoms as a result of SUDs, with addiction being the most severe form.2
A person with SUDs may experience symptoms including:3
- Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended.
- Trying to cut down or control the use of the substance unsuccessfully.
- Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the substance.
- Experiencing strong cravings for the substance.
- Trouble fulfilling major obligations at home, school, or work.
- Engaging in risky behavior as a result of using the substance.
- Interference with the persons personal and social life as a result of using the substance.
- Giving up important activities to use the substance.
What Is Samhsas National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locators.
Read Also: How To Tell If Your Addicted To Alcohol
What Is Substance Abuse Disorder
Substance abuse disorder, or drug addiction, can be defined as a progressive disease that causes people to lose control of the use of some substance despite worsening consequences of that use. Substance use disorder can be life-threatening.
Addictions are not problems of willpower or morality. Addiction is a powerful and complex disease. People who have an addiction to drugs cannot simply quit, even if they want to. The drugs change the brain in a way that makes quitting physically and mentally difficult. Treating addiction often requires lifelong care and therapy.
Drugs Have Serious Side Effects Especially To Our Mind
Usually, when an individual thinks of something, the mind is extremely fast and information comes quickly. But when you take drugs, your memory becomes blurry. This eventually leads to blank spots. You cannot get information with this cloudy mess. Drugs will make you feel stupid or slow and will cause you to have disappointments in life. And as you have more failures and difficulty in life, you have the initiation to take more drugs due to the belief that it will lessen your problem or help you manage the challenges you are struggling with.
Don’t Miss: What To Do With An Addict Son
Do Genes Play A Role In Addiction
Some studies show that genes can account for as much as 50 percent of a persons risk for addiction, although the degree of genetic influence shifts in importance over time. For example, environmental factors such as family and social relationships are more strongly tied to use of alcohol and nicotine in adolescence than later in life. Nevertheless, there is no single gene for addiction nor even a group of genes.
However, there are a number of personality traits, each of which is partly genetically influenced, that contribute to the risk of addiction. These include impulsiveness, frustration tolerance, and sensitivity to rejection. Impulsivity is thought to play its strongest role in the early stages of addiction, driving the motivation for seeking drugs.
Whos Most Likely To Become Addicted
Each persons body and brain are different. People also react differently to drugs. Some love the feeling the first time they try it and want more. Others hate it and never try again.
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. But it can happen to anyone and at any age. Some things may raise your chances of addiction, including:
- Family history. Your genes are responsible for about half of your odds. If your parents or siblings have problems with alcohol or drugs, youre more likely as well. Women and men are equally likely to become addicted.
- Early drug use. Childrens brains are still growing, and drug use can change that. So taking drugs at an early age may make you more likely to get addicted when you get older.
- Mental disorders. If youre depressed, have trouble paying attention, or worry constantly, you have a higher chance of addiction. You may turn to drugs as a way to try to feel better. A history of trauma in your life also makes you more likely to have addiction.
- Troubled relationships. If you grew up with family troubles and arent close to your parents or siblings, it may raise your chances of addiction.
You may have one or more of these warning signs:
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.
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.
You May Like: How Do I Become An Addiction Counselor
Recognizing And Understanding Addiction
Identifying an SUD can be a complicated process. While some signs of addiction are obvious, others are more difficult to recognize. Many people who realize they have a problem will try to hide it from family and friends, making it harder to tell whether someone is struggling.
Television, media, and film often depict people with SUDs as criminals or individuals with moral shortcomings. The truth is, theres no single face of addiction. Anyone can develop patterns of abuse or risky behaviors, no matter their age, culture, or financial status.
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.
You May Like: What Is Drug Addiction Definition
The Link Between Mental Health Disorders And Addiction
Substance abuse and mental health issues often go hand-in-hand. About half of people with mental health disorders will have substance use issues in their lifetime. Mental health issues can lead to drug abuse and alcohol abuse. On the other hand, substance abuse can cause mental disorder symptoms. Similar environmental and genetic factors play a role in both conditions. Around 9.5 million Americans experience substance use disorders and mental health disorders together. This is known as co-occurring disorders. Either issue can predate the other. For instance, you may suffer from depression and repetitively take drugs to try and feel better, which can lead to addiction. Conversely, you may use drugs for years and then try to stop, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
Many of the same parts of the brain are involved in the onset of mental health disorders and addiction. Both involve issues with:
- Mood regulation
- Impulse control
- Reward processing
Environmental factors that impact drug use and addiction can also be similar, making you more vulnerable to mood and mental health disorders.
Regardless of which issue came first, addiction can complicate treatment for mental illness, and vice versa. The following mental health disorders commonly co-occur with addiction:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Factors That Contribute To Drug Addiction
Drug abuse is a severe problem that affects millions of Americans yearly, causing health, mental, and relationship problems. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that there were 24.5 million drug and alcohol addicts in the United States in 2013, and that those numbers are likely to expand by 8.5% yearly. While addiction affects men and women and even children in every age and economic group, some factors have been shown to increase the likelihood of drug use and addiction.
In this article, we will list the 7 factors that contribute to drug addiction for you. With that said, if someone is currently active in drug addiction, get them into treatment now! The why is nice to know, but getting them the help they need to be drug-free, is way more important than understanding why they became addicted to drugs in the first place.
Whether you are a drug user, are checking for a friend, or are researching for your own reasons, its important to understand that every drug user has their own motivations. Drug abuse is most often considered a disease and blaming someone for their use is never a solution. Instead, adopting a policy of taking responsibility for getting or staying clean and taking positive steps to improve mental and physical well being can help people to get clean and stay clean.
Now that you have reviewed the list of the 7 factors that contribute to drug addiction lets get help for the person in need.
Also Check: Do You Get Addicted To Antidepressants
Truth: Addiction Is Not A Choice That Someone Can Just Get Over Or Stop Doing
Many have fought back against the notion that people with addiction are deliberately and maliciously engaging in substance misuse. In truth, those with addiction disorders have an illness.
Misconceptions, stigma, and hurtful language often discourage those who need help from reaching out. As our understanding of SUDs improves, the myths and misconceptions will go away. As a result, more and more individuals will seek treatment.
Addiction To Prescription Drugs
Many people associate drug abuse with illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin. But addiction is far more common with prescription medications such as sleeping pills and tranquilizers. Drug dependence, which can be psychological or physical, is an uncontrollable desire to experience the pleasurable effects of a drug or to prevent the unpleasant effects of withdrawal.
Your body can build up a tolerance to a drug so that the dose must be increased to achieve the same results. This effect is called drug tolerance. It is characteristic of most commonly abused drugs, including alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Commonly abused prescription and over-the-counter medicines include opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone , sleep medicines such as zolpidem and eszopiclone , and stimulants such as methylphenidate .
When a person becomes physically dependent on a prescription medicine, the body has adapted to the drug’s effects so much that stopping it causes withdrawal symptoms. The only way to get free of it is to slowly use less and less, under a doctor’s supervision, to prevent severe symptoms of withdrawal.
In a small number of people , addictive behavior can develop during treatment with narcotics or tranquilizers. In these circumstances, supportive counseling combined with careful monitoring of prescribed dosages may be necessary to prevent addiction.
You May Like: How To Get An Addict To Seek Help
How Do People Get Addicted To Drugs
Science has helped explain exactly how drug abuse affects people, and how addiction comes to be, over time. Through imaging and other advancing technologies, researchers have been able to actually see how substance addiction works in the brain.
It all starts with prolonged drug use. When a person uses drug repeatedly, it changes how the brain functions. Over time, the drug use becomes compulsive, not recreational or voluntary. It is no longer a choice to use drugs it is no longer in their control. How is this, exactly?
When a person uses drugs, the brain releases a pleasure chemical, called dopamine. This results in a euphoric bodily response and mental state, in which the user feels good or high. When the brain experiences this repeatedly, it becomes reliant on that feel-good behavior. And so, it hardwires those euphoric, drug-using experiences into its circuitry and using the drugs becomes its highest priority.
These are physical changes that take place. The brains reward system gets hardwired to prioritize drug use above all else eating, sleeping, family, academics. Even when the drugs stop producing pleasure for a user , the brain continues pushing this need. It produces intense cravings, which occur in the same part of the brain as ones survival instinct. Thus, acting on these cravings becomes an overwhelming and dire need the brain thinks it needs the drugs to function and survive.
Why Do People With Substance Use Disorder Need More And More Drugs Over Time
People feel intoxicated after using drugs of abuse. Over time, the brain is changed by drugs of abuse. The brain becomes desensitized to the drug of abuse so that more of the drug must be used to produce the same effect.
As the person consumes more, drugs start to take over the persons life. One may stop enjoying other aspects of life. For many people, social, family and work obligations fall to the side. The person with SUD starts to feel like somethings wrong if he or she isnt under the influence of the substance. They may become consumed with the need to recapture that original feeling.
Also Check: Can Drug Addicts Donate Organs
Genes And Substance Abuse
is the process of parents passing on traits to their children at birth.4 Children receive 46 chromosomes containing thousands of genes from their parents. Genes determine the specific traits that a child will have, such as:5
- Physical traits: determine a persons outer appearance, such as eye and hair color.
- Behavioral traits: influence the way a person acts, such as how shy or outgoing a person is.
- Predisposition to medical conditions: can also be impacted by traits and may increase a persons risk of getting a disease, such as cancer.
Although genes play a role in defining a persons traits, environmental factors can also impact traits.5 Environmental influences can even alter a trait.5
Addiction is considered moderately to highly heritable, meaning that genetics play a significant role in addiction.6 In other words, people who have relatives with addiction problems have an increased risk of developing an addiction themselves.
The influence of genetics on addiction varies from drug to drug. Below is the breakdown of heritability of dependence on or abuse of specific drugs.6
- Cocaine: .72 heritability or 72%
- Opiates: .70 heritability or 70%
- Alcohol: .55 heritability or 55%
- Sedatives: .50 heritability or 50%
- Hallucinogens: .39 heritability of 39%
Specific genes that have been linked to addiction include:7