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What Makes Drugs So Addictive

When Does Use Become Abuse And Addiction

What causes opioid addiction, and why is it so tough to combat? – Mike Davis
  • Drug Abuse means to use a drug or substance in a way that was not intended. This term describes the activity of taking prescription or illicit drugs at dangerous doses or for long periods of time. Tolerance begins to build up, meaning larger doses are needed to achieve the desired effect, while the negative health effects continue to increase.
  • Dependence is a physical condition where the body has become used to the presence of the drug. The body changes in response to regular doses and adjusts its own chemical production accordingly until it cannot function without the substance. Non-addictive drugs such as prednisone may also cause physical dependence. A cold-turkey withdrawal might be physically dangerous, so detox usually takes place in rehab facilities. A substitute substance may be used to allow the body to slowly adjust back to normal function.
  • Addiction is a psychological condition where a person compulsively seeks a substance or activity despite being aware of the harmful effects. Addictive drugs and behaviors trigger the pleasure centers of the brain and this creates a self-rewarding cycle of behavior for the addict. Even health, job, or legal consequences may not be enough to break this cycle once it is established.

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:

  • Hospitalization.
  • 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 Is Drug Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted persons self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” diseasepeople in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

It’s common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean that treatment doesnt work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patients changing needs.

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What Makes Cocaine Addictive

Cocaine is a powerful and dangerous stimulant drug that is usually snorted as a white powder. It can cause a wide range of effects as well as a very intense high, which can make people want to take cocaine over and over again until they develop a harmful addiction.

In this blog, we outline the effects of taking cocaine, explore why cocaine is so addictive and provide information on the specialist cocaine addiction rehab we can provide at Priory.

Brain Therapies For Addiction

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When someone battling addiction enters a facility, they receive medication and have access to innovative treatments. A common treatment to stabilize and soothe the brain after addiction is biofeedback therapy. This allows a professional to monitor the brain. They can figure out how to improve brain activity, reducing the effects of addiction and unhealthy impulses.

Biofeedback uses electroencephalograms . EEGs are typically used to help individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and can be helpful to individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder and other brain disorders. Biofeedback reduces stress and reduces involuntary functions. This therapy can also include meditation, guided imagery, and muscle relaxation.

When this is combined with therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy , biofeedback improves the individuals involuntary functions, like heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle contraction. Neurofeedback, or EEQ therapy, is a type of biofeedback. This therapy is a brain-training treatment. In the case of addiction, this therapy monitors the brains activity. It helps patients to reduce stress and anxiety and can treat compulsions. The end result of both therapies is the administrator rewarding the brain to recover how it functions.

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How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Heroin

Most people dont become addicted to heroin after one use. But using the drug once may lead to repeated use that escalates to addiction. Depending on how often you use heroin, how you use the drug and the purity of the drug, you can get addicted to heroin in less than a week.

Those who use heroin usually do not experience physical or psychological cravings after their first use. But the drugs desirable effects often motivate people to try it again. This can start a dangerous cycle of compulsive use.

As heroin use escalates, the brain begins to build a tolerance to the drug, requiring higher doses to feel the same effects. Over time, people become physically dependent on the drug and need it to function normally. Many individuals dont realize they have a problem until theyve developed a full-blown heroin addiction. The longer they wait to enter heroin treatment, the more addicted they become.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Easy Access To Heroin Enables Use

Prescription opioids are more expensive and harder to access than heroin. Many people who become addicted to prescription opioids switch to heroin because its cheaper and easier to find on the street, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About 80 percent of people who are addicted to heroin started by taking prescription opioid pills. Dr. Stephen Mudra, Chief, Primary Pain Management, North Florida/South Georgia Veteran Health System

For example, heroin usually costs between $5 and $10, but one OxyContin tablet can cost about $80 on the street.

Heroin availability has drastically increased in the past decade, according to the 2017 Drug Enforcement Administration National Drug Threat Assessment. The drugs availability also keeps the cost down.

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Beating Addiction Is Merely About Willpower

The causes of addiction are far more than just not being able to say no. Many people develop a dependence on painkiller medications and take them as prescribed but still are led to addiction because of the addictive properties of the drug. Many people who struggle with addiction want nothing more than to never use again in their lives.

Addictive substances alter the chemistry in our bodies and brains, making addiction far more than a yes or no impulse. Dependency, withdrawal and physical ailments can all be contributing factors that make it difficult for an addict to quit.

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Why Do People Get Addicted To Drugs

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People start using addictive substances for different reasons. These can include:

  • To feel feelings of pleasure, relaxation or satisfaction
  • To self-medicate mental health symptoms
  • To improve their focus or abilities temporarily
  • Social pressure

While the initial decision may be voluntary, ongoing drug use can impair a persons self-control and compel them to keep using drugs despite negative consequences.

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The Biochemistry Of Addiction

The brain responds to addiction based on a number of factors, such as the type and number of drugs used, the frequency of use, and the stage of addiction that has developed. If someone uses Cocaine, for example, they will notice a feeling of euphoria. This occurs because Cocaine is Psychoactive and impacts the area of the brain that controls pleasure and motivation. There is a short and powerful burst of dopamine, the chemical that causes many to feel euphoric. This feeling can be so intense that a strong desire to continue using may form.

The more someone abuses a drug, the more they may continue using it unless they get help overcoming a life-threatening addiction. Once the chemical has affected the brain, individuals can feel physical symptoms as well as the impact of the chemical throughout their nervous system. Symptoms can include a rapid heartbeat, paranoia, nausea, hallucinations, and other disturbing sensations the individual has little control over. He or she may become consumed with abusing the substance to maintain their habit no matter the cost. As a result of this powerful grip of substance abuse, individuals can begin acting in unrecognizable ways this may concern friends and family.

Common Questions About Rehab

Can I Prevent Substance Use Disorder

Yes. Preventing drug addiction starts with education. Education in schools, communities and families helps prevent misusing a substance for the first time. Other ways to prevent substance use disorder:

  • Dont try illegal drugs, even one time.
  • Follow instructions for prescription medications. Don’t ever take more than instructed. Opioid addiction, for instance, can start after just five days.
  • Dispose of unused prescriptions promptly to reduce risks of misuse by others.

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What Makes Synthetic Drugs So Addictive

Different types of synthetic drugs are so addictive because the manufacturers of these psychoactive substances can adjust their chemical makeup, resulting in a severe addiction. Although these drugs are designed to mimic the effects of their traditional drug counterparts, the reality is that the chemical makeup alteration can cause not only short and long-term physical and psychological issues but could ultimately cause death.

Its important to note that its possible to develop an addiction to these drugs after taking them just once. Your brains reaction can begin to change, which triggers a craving and desire for these highly addictive substances. Throughout your time in treatment, you will learn more about addiction and what may have led to your substance abuse issues. This process is primarily done through participating in different forms of addiction therapy and being open and honest regarding your substance abuse.

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The National Survey on Drug Use and Health said that there are 19.7 million American adults who battled substance use disorder in 2017. The latest count states that the number of Americans with at least one addiction has risen to 21 million, but only 10% of them get treatment.

Drug addiction is not something to be taken lightly. Millions have died of overdose and abuse of harmful substances. If you fear that a loved one may be suffering from addiction, it will pay to know more about the most addictive drugs, the symptoms of use, and the consequences of getting addicted to them.

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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.

How Addictive Is Heroin

Its difficult to measure or compare types of drug addiction. In a 2007 study published in the Lancet, a survey of doctors and psychiatrists concluded that heroin was the most addictive drug because of its effects on pleasure, psychological dependence and physical dependence. It also had the highest risk of physical harm and social harm.

Physical dependence refers to changes in the brain that cause increased tolerance to the drug and trigger withdrawal symptoms when the drug isnt present.

Psychological dependence refers to changes in motivation, self-control and judgment that make a person crave heroin. People who are addicted to heroin will do almost anything to obtain the drug because their brains arent properly weighing the consequences of their actions.

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Cocaine Tolerance Can Increase Quickly Leading To Use Of Higher Amounts

With regular cocaine use, tolerance builds over time. The result can be someone using more cocaine in each instance to achieve the same high. They may even begin using the drug more frequently during the week.

Tolerance to any drug is pivotal in the development of a substance use disorder. With cocaine, the dependence can be both physical and psychological. The body and brain seem to crave the substance. Also, a person may feel compelled to use the drug to deal with social situations or other stressful circumstances.

Why Do People Get Addicted To Drugs The Causes Of Drug Addiction

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Drug addiction is a very misunderstood disease. Oftentimes, we do not understand how or why other people get addicted to drugs. Many of us mistakenly think that drug addicts lack good morals, and choose to continue using drugs despite the negative consequences. Some believe that drugs are easy to quit, and that people who are addicted simply lack the willpower or motivation to stop. These views could not be farther from the truth, and are exactly what contribute to the stigma of substance abuse.

In reality, drug addiction is a very complex disease. And typically, it takes more than strong will or good intentions to stop. Many, if not most, addicted individuals want to stop using. However, the neurological changes that drugs induce in their brains make it very hard to quit. Drugs change the brain so that users physically feel as though they need drugs to function normally. They prioritize drug use above all else, as drugs are the only way they feel they can make it through the day, without the pain of withdrawal.

You may be here now, wondering, Why do people get addicted to drugs? or more significantly, Why did this happen to my loved one? Maybe you are wondering what causes drug addiction at all. You are not alone. Many family members particularly parents will have these questions top of mind, questioning whether they themselves are to blame for their loved ones choices to use.

Drug Addiction Risk Factors

Why Do People Use Drugs to Begin With?

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How Do Drugs Affect The Brain

Most addictive substances affect the brain by causing a sudden increase in the chemical dopamine.2 Dopamine triggers the brainâs reward center, causing a feeling of pleasure and euphoria. This is an overload of the natural reward triggers, resulting in the feeling of being âhigh.â

The process works like this:

  • The brain quickly adapts to the higher levels of dopamine and other feel-good brain chemicals.
  • It takes more and more dopamine to get the same effect from the brain, which is becoming dependent on the drug, causing higher doses to be used.
  • Natural production of dopamine from healthy activities like exercise is reduced.
  • Eventually, only drug use can produce feelings of pleasure or normalcy.
  • Stopping the substance leaves the brain in a state of chemically induced depression until balance is restored.

The chemical balance in our brain is a key component of how we perceive reality. Addiction filters our perception to the exclusion of all other interests in the constant pursuit of its toxic cycle. Everything is perceived through the fog of a brain which is out of balance and in distress.

What Happens To The Brain When A Person Takes Drugs

Most drugs affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.

As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drugan effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.

Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:

Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction.

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