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Understanding Drug Addiction

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I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” 
 Edgar Allan Poe

If you ask any former abuser what was the hardest thing they had ever done, the answer will always be the same: beating their addiction. The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “surrender” and “yield”, and everyone who has ever fought an addiction will clearly understand the meaning of these words. This complex biomedical and social issue is costly on so many levels. It influences the drug addicts, their families and society as a whole. Many individuals first try drugs out of curiosity, because of friends, to have a good time at a party, or to ease another problem such as stress, depression and anxiety. Causing troubles at your workplace, school and at home, beating drug addiction takes more than just a good will.

There are plenty of deep-rooted emotional instabilities that aren’t visible to the human eye. These suffocating feelings of sadness, low energy and helplessness crawl skin-deep and make you emotionally broken and mentally troubled. Personal and profound, it is a serious mental disability named depression. Sometimes due to the heartless and merciless society, and in other cases because of failed intimate relationships with others or with ourselves, these instabilities have a great influence on drug addiction. Drug addiction studies show that reaching for drugs is a way to lift up the spirits and to numb the painful thoughts. Consequently, drug abuse and depression feed of each other, making the condition worse on daily basis. Posing a risk of self-harm and suicide, this combination of depression and drug abuse will eventually weaken the immune system, exhaust the body, and make you more susceptible to chronic diseases. The warning signs of heavy addiction include feeling guilty after taking the drug, cravings, nausea and cold sweats when reducing your intake, and a high tolerance of the drug.

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Modern life comes with frustrations, disappointments, and deadlines that can lead to emotional and mental pressure which turns into anxiety. A serious addiction has a harmful impact on an individual’s ability to lead a normal life. Sometimes waning but often lingering, addiction affects people of all ages, genders and circumstances. Common symptoms of anxiety include dizziness, feelings of worry, fear, nervousness, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, and racing thoughts. But as scientists continue to do their research, it is becoming clear that these anxiety disorders are not the result of personal weakness, a character flaw or poor upbringing. Rather, they are caused by various factors including brain chemistry and environmental stress. Panic disorder is a distinctive type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by the presence of panic attacks. Described as sudden feelings of extreme fear, panic attacks can be frightening for most people. Feeling trapped and unable to escape, many of these individuals reach to drugs. This use of substance enhances the development of the anxiety disorder symptoms and makes pre-existing symptoms worse. This combination of a panic disorder and drug abuse leads to impairment on the individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. In the United States, anxiety disorders and drug addiction disorders are among the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric conditions.

In order to understand addiction, we first have to understand the functioning of the human brain. Drug addiction and the brain are closely connected. The heavy use of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain. Drugs can alter important brain areas that are responsible for life-sustaining functions such as the brain stem, the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. The brain stem controls the heart rate, breathing and sleeping, the cerebral cortex processes information from our senses and enables us to see, feel and hear, while the limbic system is responsible for linking several brain structures that control the ability to feel pleasure. Consisting of billions of nerve cells, these networks of neurons pass messages between different structures within the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that carry the messages, while a receptor is the receiving neuron. Consequently, drugs interfere with the way neurons send and receive information. Drug chemicals attach to and activate neurons which results into abnormal messages being transmitted through the brain. Flooding the brain with dopamine, the drugs also target the brain’s reward system. Overstimulating the system with drugs produces euphoric effects that will reinforce the behavior of drug use. The brain then notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered and teaches us to do it again and again. Releasing 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine than eating or sex, the effects of drugs last much longer than those produced by natural rewards.  Soon, the brain grows accustomed to these overwhelming surges and starts producing less dopamine and reduces the number of receptors that can receive signals. And that is exactly why a person who abuses drugs constantly feels lifeless, depressed, and unable to enjoy life.

 

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When the patient suffers from both a mental health and substance abuse disorder, it is important they enroll in a treatment program that addresses both of these issues – know as dual diagnosis program. The untreated symptoms of drug abuse can make the mental health treatment unsuccessful and vice versa, the untreated symptoms of mental health disorder can cause the patient to be unable to stay clean. There are many different types of facilities, some of which specialized in helping patients with a specific drug addiction, some are gender and age-related, and others offer a broader range of services. Drug addiction centers vary from basic facilities to luxury treatment centers that depend on the patient’s budget and medical insurance.

Before entering into rehab, the patient must undergo a detox treatment, a process in which the abuser gets rid of the addictive substance. Once the patient completes detox, he or she is ready for rehab. These drug rehab centers offer frequent individual counseling to patients that can even take place on daily basis. With the help of these sessions, drug addiction counselors can help patients discover any emotional or psychological factors that may have influenced their addictions. Addressing these psychological factors is of great importance if the patient wants to make a full recovery. Apart from individual counseling, these rehab facilities also offer group therapies where people with similar addictions meet together under the guidance of a counselor. Joining a group of strangers can be intimidating at first, but talking and listening to others can help the patient put his or her problems in perspective. It can also be a great relief to hear others discuss what they’re going through and realize that you’re not alone. Furthermore, by observing how different people tackle problems and make positive changes, the patient can discover new set of strategies for facing his/her own troubles. Many of these drug addiction programs also include various leisure activities that can teach patients how to get out of their comfort zone and learn to rely on others for support. Such activities include rock climbing, team sports, music therapy, arts and crafts, and nature activities. Researches show that physical activities and exercise can play an important role in recovering from drug abuse and can improve the overall health and wellness of the patient.

If you or a loved one suffer from drug abuse, just remember that for every person’s unique addiction situation there is a recovery program tailored to help you overcome it. Seeking help is the first step toward recovery and the rejuvenated life you once had.

For more information please call this Toll Free 24/7 Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a completely confidential call. If you have health insurance it often covers 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now!

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