Why Do People Become Addicted To Drugs
The idea of addiction for most people is fueled by what they watch on television, what they read in newspapers, and what they learn in school. But for a growing amount of people their concept of addiction has become frighteningly real. They see first hand the lies, manipulation, desperation, loneliness, and pain that is addiction. And inevitably, they wonder, Why do people become addicted to drugs? Finally there is an answer.
People abuse drugs and alcohol because they are attempting to solve a problem. Every day, every minute, we are faced with problems. For the most part we handle them and move onit is what makes life interesting. But for some, they just cannot see around a certain obstacle. And, whether they know it or not, resort to drugs and alcohol as a way to get around lifes barriers. Over time, they begin to amass more problems and more barriers, turning to drugs and alcohol each time. At that point they can no longer see the original problemonly a long list of things to avoid. So now that we know that someone abuses drugs and alcohol as a way to handle life, what do we do next?
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Lower Highs And Lower Lows
Added to the fact that the addicted person develops a tolerance to the highrequiring more to try to achieve the same level of euphoriais the fact that the person does not develop a tolerance to the emotional low they feel afterward. Rather than return to “normal,” the person reverts to a deeper state of dysphoria.
When becoming addicted, the person increases the amount of drugs, alcohol, or the frequency of the addictive behaviors in an effort to get back to that initial euphoric state. But the person ends up experiencing a deeper and deeper low as the brain’s reward circuitry reacts to the cycle of intoxication and withdrawal.
Who Is At Risk For Drug Addiction
Various risk factors can make you more likely to become addicted to drugs, including
- Your biology. People can react to drugs differently. Some people like the feeling the first time they try a drug and want more. Others hate how it feels and never try it again.
- Mental health problems. People who have untreated mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely to become addicted. This can happen because drug use and mental health problems affect the same parts of the brain. Also, people with these problems may use drugs to try to feel better.
- Trouble at home. If your home is an unhappy place or was when you were growing up, you might be more likely to have a drug problem.
- Trouble in school, at work, or with making friends. You might use drugs to get your mind off these problems.
- Hanging around other people who use drugs. They might encourage you to try drugs.
- Starting drug use when you’re young. When kids use drugs, it affects how their bodies and brains finish growing. This increases your chances of becoming addicted when you’re an adult.
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How Easy Is It To Get Addicted
Each individual is different. The amount and duration of drug use required to develop an addiction varies from person to person and is impacted by factors such as:
- Family history of substance abuse
- Traumatic experiences
- Mental health disorders like anxiety or depression
- Age at onset of drug use
- Administration method
These factors align in different ways to affect the development of addiction. A teen with depression who injects an opioid, for instance, will likely become addicted more quickly than an emotionally resilient adult who only swallows tablets.
Helping A Friend With Addiction
If you’re worried about a friend who has an addiction, you can use these tips to help him or her. For example, let your friend know that you are available to talk or offer your support. If you notice a friend backsliding, talk about it openly and ask what you can do to help.
If your friend is going back to drugs or drinking and won’t accept your help, don’t be afraid to talk to a nonthreatening, understanding adult, like your parent or school counselor. It may seem like you’re ratting your friend out, but it’s the best support you can offer.
Above all, offer a friend who’s battling an addiction lots of encouragement and praise. It may seem corny, but hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation your friend needs.
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Why Do Some People Become Addicted And Others Do Not
Millions of people around the world use drugs and/or alcohol on a daily basis. However, only a fraction of these people develop an addiction disorder.
In a recent study on UK drug addiction and abuse, it was found that approximately 3 million people aged 16 to 59 had taken illicit drugs in the previous year . On top of that, Britain is considered one of the world leaders in consumption of alcohol with only 16% of the population aged 18+ claiming to have never had a drink. This means that approximately 33 million people have used drugs or alcohol in the past year, in Britain and Wales alone. However, national statistics show that only 109,000 people received treatment for alcohol abuse in 2013-14, and approximately 200,000 people received treatment for drug abuse in the same year. And while there are likely a few hundred thousand more that need treatment but have not sought it yet, it is still only a small percentage of people who have developed addiction problems, compared to those who have not.
So what does this mean? It means that a very large number of people who drink and take drugs each year are capable of doing so recreationally and responsibly. Which of course, brings us back to the question why can some people use alcohol and drugs and not become addicted while others cannot?
How Should You Store And Dispose Of Opioids To Protect Family Members
If you are taking opioids, you are not the only one in your household who is in danger of misuse, addiction, and overdose. Other members of your household, including children, are also vulnerable. Hereâs how to protect them:
- Always store opioids in a safe and secure place. Do not leave prescription bottles in the medicine cabinet, and keep the medication away from others, particularly young children. Children sometimes confuse medications with candy and end up swallowing them, which can lead to overdose. Other family members and visitors could also find prescription medications in the house and use them inappropriately.
- Never share your prescriptions. More than half of people who misuse prescribed opioids get them from a friend or relative, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Donât throw unused opioids in the trash. Improper disposal of prescription medicines can lead to other people finding and taking them.
If you have leftover or expired prescription medications, follow these drug disposal tips:
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Why Do People Get Addicted To Drugs The Causes Of Drug Addiction
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?
Addiction As A Result Of A Medical Issue
Frequent or long-term prescription drug use could increase dependency to certain drugs.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that in 2010, nearly 2.5 million people in the U.S. started using prescription drugs non-medically. This often leads to drug abuse later. Dependence usually comes as a result of a prolonged illness or treatment of a disease that requires addictive prescription drugs. These could be painkillers and that can turn into a serious addiction.
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New Insights Into A Common Problem
Nobody starts out intending to develop an addiction, but many people get caught in its snare. Consider the latest government statistics:
- Nearly 23 million Americansalmost one in 10are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
- More than two-thirds of people with addiction abuse alcohol.
- The top three drugs causing addiction are marijuana, opioid pain relievers, and cocaine.
In the 1930s, when researchers first began to investigate what caused addictive behavior, they believed that people who developed addictions were somehow morally flawed or lacking in willpower. Overcoming addiction, they thought, involved punishing miscreants or, alternately, encouraging them to muster the will to break a habit.
The scientific consensus has changed since then. Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behavior.
Can Addiction To Drugs And Alcohol Be Prevented Or Cured
As with other chronic ailments such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes, addiction treatment is generally not a cure. But, addiction is curable and can be managed in a successful manner. Those who recover from alcohol or drug addiction, will be vulnerable to revert for years and potentially for their entire lives. According to a research, the best chance for addiction recovery can be guaranteed when behavioral therapy is combined with addiction treatment medicines.
Other good news is that drug addiction and use is preventable. Prevention programs including schools, families, media and communities play integral, effective roles to reduce or prevent drug/alcohol use and addiction. This is why you will see various schools, organizations and communities implementing programs with regard to prevention and treatment of addiction. This is helpful especially to people who cannot afford consulting a professional.
Outreach and education are major assistances in helping people, particularly teens, to understand potential risks of alcohol and drug use. Health care providers, teachers and parents have integral roles in teaching young people for their healthy, successful future.
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New Insights Into The Causes Of Addiction
Addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation. Although breaking an addiction is tough, it can be done.
How Addiction Gets Started
The reason that people engage in activity that can become addictive in the first place is to experiment, because of the social environment, or achieve a feeling of euphoria or to relieve an emotional state of dysphoria.
When people drink, take drugs, or participate in other reward-seeking behavior they experience a “high” that gives them the reward or relief they are seeking.
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What Does Current Research Tell Us
While there are many unknowns when looking at why some people become addicted while others are not adversely impacted by their drinking or drug use, what we do know is this: some people have a greater likelihood of developing substance use disorders than others. The most cutting-edge theory finds that individuals with unhealthy dysregulated brains, minds, and social capacities are most vulnerable to this condition.
Genetics are still the number one predictor of addiction, followed by early onset of first use. Data findings have demonstrated the validity of these factors, but there are others that treatment professionals must also consider when diagnosing substance use disorders. They have to look at the complex interaction between a combination of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual determinants. Aside from family history of addiction and the age a person began using drugs or alcohol, these include:
It is important to note that nobody is fully immune to addiction, though a persons addictive tendencies may vary in terms of intensity and pervasiveness based on the risk factors mentioned above. Like many other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, some will be more at-risk than others, but there is no definitive way of knowing who will be impacted. Therefore, it is critical for everyone to examine their individual risk factors and take precautions to prevent the onset or development of substance use disorders.
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Are All Addictions The Same
Is addiction to shopping or texting the same as being hooked on drugs or alcohol? We know these things can affect your brain in many of the same ways. But experts don’t yet agree about how far those similarities go. If you feel you have a habit that’s out of control, talk to your doctor or a therapist.
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What Are The Treatments For Drug Addiction
Treatments for drug addiction include counseling, medicines, or both. Research shows that combining medicines with counseling gives most people the best chance of success.
The counseling may be individual, family, and/or group therapy. It can help you
- Understand why you got addicted
- See how drugs changed your behavior
- Learn how to deal with your problems so you won’t go back to using drugs
- Learn to avoid places, people, and situations where you might be tempted to use drugs
Medicines can help with the symptoms of withdrawal. For addiction to certain drugs, there are also medicines that can help you re-establish normal brain function and decrease your cravings.
If you have a mental disorder along with an addiction, it is known as a dual diagnosis. It is important to treat both problems. This will increase your chance of success.
If you have a severe addiction, you may need hospital-based or residential treatment. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services.
What Are Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms And How Can You Alleviate Them
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can but wonât necessarily include some of the following:
- Drug cravings
- Feeling cold
Opioid withdrawal symptoms generally last between three and five days, although they can last up to 10 days, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine .
Withdrawal from opioids can be difficult and even dangerous. Trying to quit âcold turkeyâ is not recommended, ASAM advises, because it can lead to stronger cravings and continued use. The safest way to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms is through medically supervised treatment that generally includes medicines, counseling, and support. Some medications used to relieve withdrawal symptoms are methadone and buprenorphine . These medications can also be used as long-term maintenance medicine for opioid dependence. In addition, a medication called clonidine can be used during withdrawal to help reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping. It does not help reduce cravings. The addiction medicine physician may also prescribe medication to treat vomiting and diarrhea and help with insomnia.
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Alcoholism And Addiction: Who Are The Real Victims
Addiction doesnt only take a toll on the addict it hurts every person in the life of the addict. Families, coworkers, friends and anyone with a connection to the addict can likely experience harmful side effects. But, who are the real victims of alcoholism and addiction?
Though the father, wife, grandparents or distant relatives often experience immense pain from drugs and alcohol addictive behavior, it is the children who grieve the most. A child who is being neglected by substance abuse is one of the saddest things you will ever see. Adults are given various options to handle a drug addict or an active alcoholic. They can defend themselves if attacked, call the authorities or even kick out an alcoholic if the case warrants.
Children are lacking all of these choices. They are totally innocent. They are unprotected and the addictive parent or alcoholic can do massive damage through terrible choices and bad parenting. Why is this happening? We cannot just easily conclude because there are many reasons as to why these children are suffering from substance addiction.
Good thing, the communities are doing programs to prevent more children from suffering this kind of traumatic event.