Heroin Addiction And Abuse
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What Does Current Research Tell Us
There are many unknowns as to why some people are adversely impacted by their drinking or drug use and become addicted while others do not. However, 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 dysregulated brains and social capacities are most vulnerable to this condition.
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.
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Today More Doctors Policymakers And Everyday Americans Are Embracing The Science Of Addiction
Thats good news. But its important to remember that addiction has always been an illnesseven when our health care systems were most hostile to the idea, and even when the people American culture primarily associated with drugs and addiction were Black or Latinx Americans. Learn about the social impact of addiction in America.
Is Addiction A Disease
Addiction, clinically referred to as a substance use disorder, is a complex disease of the brain and body that involves compulsive use of one or more substances despite serious health and social consequences. Addiction disrupts regions of the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment and memory.
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Why Do Some People Become Addicted To Drugs While Others Do Not
No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs.
A combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.
Environmental, genetic, and developmental factors may include:
Can drug addiction be cured or prevented?
The good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from the National Institute on Drug Abuse -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, health care providers, and prevention specialists have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.
As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally is not 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. When a person relapses, this is an indication that more or a different treatment is needed.
The Disease Model Of Addiction
Addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, psychological, environmental and biological factors. Genetic risk factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction.
Addiction involves changes in the functioning of the brain and body due to persistent use of nicotine, alcohol and/or other substances.
The consequences of untreated addiction often include other physical and mental health disorders that require medical attention. If left untreated over time, addiction becomes more severe, disabling and life-threatening.
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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.
Why Do People Become Drug Addicts
Most people who become addicted to drugs do so for various reasons. In different circumstances, some people may have used drugs purely out of boredom, and others may have done so as a means of getting high. It is difficult for an addict to say why they became addicted to drugs. Some may say that they began using drugs to get high, while others say that they became addicted because of the stress associated with their job.
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Why Do Some People Become Addicted To Drugs While Others Don’t
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:
- Biology. The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person’s risk for addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
- Environment. A persons environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a persons likelihood of drug use and addiction.
- Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a persons life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.
Why Do Some People Become Addicted To Drugs And Alcohol While Others Dont
Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is the best way to prevent addiction because no one knows for sure whether or not a person will become addicted to these substances. That being said, there are some factors that influence a persons risk of addiction.
Factors that lead to someone becoming addicted:
- Genetics and biology
We dive deeper into each category below:
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Are People With Addiction Responsible For Their Actions
People do not choose how their brain and body respond to substances, which is why people with addiction cannot control their use while others can. People with addiction can still stop using substances its just much harder than it is for someone who has not become addicted. People with addiction should not be blamed for having a disease, but rather be able to get quality, evidence-based care to address it.
With the help and support of family, friends and peers to stay in treatment, they increase their chances of recovery and survival.
Are Certain Drugs More Addictive Than Others
Certain chemical substances, like methamphetamine and heroin, for example, are highly addictive regardless of who you are and how many risk factors you personally possess. If you have been struggling with a drug abuse disorder or a drug addiction, the most important step you can take is reaching out for professional help. In a professional treatment center like Evoke Wellness, a team of addiction specialists, therapeutic practitioners, and mental health professionals work together to uncover the underlying cause of the substance use disorder. This allows them to develop a personalized treatment plan which helps treat the root cause of addiction. It is important to keep in mind the fact that addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease without professional help, the symptoms associated with addiction will only get worse over time. Contact Evoke Wellness to begin your own personal journey of drug addiction recovery.
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What Does Alcohol Do To Us When We Drink It
Alcohol is a very simple chemical that can bring about big changes in the complex functions of the human brain. When we drink alcohol, it triggers the release of other chemicals in the body that make us feel more content and less sensitive to pain. So, it is no surprise that once we start drinking, we often want to carry on.
For some of us, alcohol becomes something we carry on consuming even though the negative consequences are plain to see.
Why Do People Become Addicts
Gabor Mate M.D. has been for over ten years the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, North Americas only supervised safe-injection site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, home to one of the worlds densest areas of drug users. Mate advocates for and practices a holistic view of reality, its challenges and potential solutions. Mates books include When the Body Says No: Understanding The Stress-Disease Connection Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It, and his latest, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
McNally: Can you tell us a bit about your path to the work that you do today?
Mate: Im a medical doctor. Ive worked for 20 years in family practice in Vancouver, BC. For seven years I worked in palliative care looking after old people and for 12 years Ive worked in the downtown eastside.
My own journey involves not just my observations and experiences as a physician, but also dealing with my own mental health issues and emotional problems and imbalances. In the process of coming to terms with my own issues, I began to understand that the medical training Id received, although valuable and a great benefit in many ways, was also hopelessly too narrow and shallow in its approach to human beings.
McNally: What does it mean to say that yours is the only legal injection site in North America?
Your latest book has a provocative title, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts. What does it refer to?
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Can Prescription Drugs Be Addictive
The straightforward answer is Yes, and we will tell you why. Prescription drugs are usually strong medications. Furthermore, some prescription drugs are similar to controlled substances in that they can affect how your brain works over time. Such drugs influence the brains neurotransmitters and can affect its reward system. So, if you continue the inappropriate use of such medication, your self-control will decline in the long run. This will lead to further dependence and, of course, an addiction to the prescription drug.
Furthermore, by choosing to use the wrong dosage of prescription drugs, your body may develop a tolerance. In this case, to feel the same effect that you are used to, you will have to up your drug intake. For instance, if you abuse prescription pain medication, as time progresses, you may have to take more to achieve the same level of pain relief. This tolerance can then lead to dependency.
More often than not, drug abuse is how people get addicted to prescription drugs. Let us look at why addiction to prescription drugs is more rampant in recent times.
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How Substance Use Changes The Brain
People feel pleasure when basic needs such as hunger, thirst and sex are satisfied. In most cases, these feelings of pleasure are caused by the release of certain chemicals in the brain, which reinforce these life-sustaining functions by incentivizing the individual to repeat the behaviors that produce those rewarding feelings . Most addictive substances cause the brain to release high levels of these same chemicals that are associated with natural pleasure or reward.
Over time, continued release of these chemicals causes changes in the brain systems involved in reward, motivation and memory. The brain tries to get back to a balanced state by minimizing its reaction to those rewarding chemicals or releasing stress hormones. As a result, a person may need to use increasing amounts of the substance just to feel closer to normal. The individual may experience intense desires or cravings for the substance and will continue to use it despite harmful or dangerous consequences. The person may also prefer the substance to other healthy pleasures and may lose interest in normal life activities. In the most chronic form of the disease, a severe substance use disorder can cause a person to stop caring about their own or others well-being or survival.
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Are There Risk Factors For Addiction
There are many risk factors for addiction, from individual factors such as stress tolerance and personality makeup to social factors such as friendships and educational and job opportunities. They interact in dynamic ways unique to each person. But what addiction may come down to for everyone is the emotional and physical appeal of a substance at a particular moment in a persons life. The effects of drugs are pleasurable and rewarding only in relation to how a person feels emotionally and physically in the context of his or her relationships and social life and other opportunities for development and reward.
Is It A Chronic Disease
A chronic disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured.
Most people who engage in substance use do not develop addiction. And many people who do so to a problematic extent, such as young people during their high school or college years, tend to reduce their use once they take on more adult responsibilities. Still, about 25-50% of people with a substance use problem develop a severe, chronic disorder. For them, addiction is a progressive, relapsing disease that requires intensive treatments and continuing aftercare, monitoring and family or peer support to manage their recovery.
The good news is that even the most severe, chronic form of the disorder can be manageable, usually with long-term treatment and continued monitoring and support for recovery.
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The Top Reasons Why People Become Alcoholics
Although nobody purposefully becomes an alcoholic, millions of people battle alcohol use disorder. When someone abuses alcohol, they might drink in excess. This eventually has negative impacts on brain chemistry leading to addiction. The chemical changes from long term alcohol abuse result in a person developing both physical and psychological dependence. As a result, virtually anyone can become an alcoholic if they continue to abuse it over long periods of time.
However, in addition to chronic drinking, there are many components that make one person more likely to abuse alcohol than another. While having one or more of these risk factors puts an individual at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder, being aware of them can help prevent engaging in unhealthy behaviors that lead to alcoholism. Here are the most common reasons why people become alcoholics.
How Does Addiction Affect The Body
It has a lot to do with brain chemistry.
The human brain is wired to reward us when we do something pleasurable. Exercising, eating, and other behaviors that are directly linked to our survival trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
This not only makes us feel good, but it encourages us to keep doing what were doing. It teaches our brains to repeat the behavior.
Drugs trigger that same part of the brain: the reward system. When someone uses a substancebe it marijuana, opioids, cocaine, or other drugstheir brain releases lots of dopamine. This process tells the brain that this is a behavior that should be remembered and repeated.
Not everyone who uses substances becomes addicted by this process, but if youre already at risk, this is where the cycle of addiction can begin. Thats because, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse , large surges of dopamine teach the brain to seek drugs at the expense of other, healthier goals and activities.
Once someone is addicted, theyre not using drugs to feel good theyre using drugs to feel normal.
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