Drug 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 person’s 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" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug. Most drugs affect the brain's "reward circuit," causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. No single factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk of addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.
People use drugs for
- To feel good – wanting to experience feeling high or different and repeatedly seeking the same
- To feel better – to lessen anxiety, worries , fears ,depression , hopelessness
Signs and Symptoms
Addiction is an all-consuming disease, demanding all of the individual’s time, energy, and resources. One of the primary signs of drug addiction is an obsession with seeking and using drugs. At the same time, the user will neglect his or her job, relationships, hobbies, social activities, and financial obligations in order to satisfy the overwhelming cravings. Physical signs and symptoms include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Loss of sleep
- Skin problems (lesions, scratch marks, rashes, pimples, bruises, or needle marks at an intravenous injection site)
- Cool, unnaturally pale skin
- Bloodshot eyes
- Unusual odors (may be chemical smells or strong body odors)
- Tremors or loss of motor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Frequent nausea
- Irregular heart rate
- Shallow breathing
Physical health effects of addiction
Different drugs affect the body and brain in different ways; however, there are many similarities in the way drug addiction damages the body. Some of the most serious side effects of addiction include:
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- An abnormally slow or rapid heart rate
- Slow or rapid breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Respiratory distress
- Muscle spasms
- Increased risk of accidental injuries
Different Types of Drugs
A drug can be described as any substance that is capable of altering the body’s functions either psychologically or physically when taken into the body. Drugs can sometimes be categorized as soft, hard, legal, illegal, and psychoactive. For example, psychoactive drugs are those drugs that alter your behaviors, feelings, and perceptions. They work by altering a chemical reaction in the brain, thereby affecting feelings, behaviors, and thoughts.
Many of these drugs cause different types of dependence that have adverse effects on the users. These effects are evidenced by today’s visible results in the society such as tolerance, violence, crime, withdrawal symptoms, untimely death, and much more.
- Though relapses are common, good outcomes are Contingent on adequate treatment length
- Drugs bypass or effect brains functioning in relation to Motivation, Memory, Reward and Control over ones brain activities
The best way to prevent an addiction to a drug is not to take the drug at all. If your doctor prescribes a drug with the potential for addiction, use care when taking the drug.
- Communicate: Talk to your children about the risks of drug use and misuse.
- Listen: Be a good listener when your children talk about peer pressure, and be supportive of their efforts to resist it.
- Set a good example: Don't misuse alcohol or addictive drugs. Children of parents who misuse drugs are at greater risk of drug addiction.
- Strengthen the bond: Work on your relationship with your children. A strong, stable bond between you and your child will reduce your child's risk of using or misusing drugs.