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An in depth and objective explanation on drug addiction
Drug addiction is one of the most misunderstood of all diseases affecting human beings. Until a non-addict has had a long and personal history with an addict, he rarely understands the nature of addiction, or why addicts behave as they do. The non-addict naively assumes the addict’s problem is one of lack of self-control, or of unwillingness to stop using. He doesn’t grasp the subtle complexities involved, or understand that the typical addict is ensnared on a multitude of fronts: physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically and socially.
Nobody ever sets out to become an addict. They wake up one day and are addicted. It isn’t uncommon for an addict to be unaware that he has an addiction until he is in rehab. The path leading to addiction is a deceptive one, lined as it is with snares and hidden perils. The unwary traveler rarely recognizes these dangers until he is trapped and seemingly unable to escape. It’s little wonder so much of the literature devoted to the discussion of addictions makes reference to getting “free!” Some people are genetically more predisposed to addictions than others. Drug addiction symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia and behavioural changes to name a few.
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Causes of Drug Addiction: Addiction’s Deceptive Social Beginning
The majority of causes of drug addiction begin in adolescence or young adulthood. This is a time when people are discovering themselves as individuals, apart from their parents and families. It’s a time when they are prone to try new behaviours, and to experiment. Peer pressure factors into the equation in a big way. Everyone wants to be “cool,” right? Of course they do! Thus it is that kids who would not have thought to do so on their own, find themselves downing a shot, toking a joint, or popping a pill. The next thing you know? Everything’s right with the world! They feel utterly trouble-free, confident; perhaps better than they’ve ever felt in their lives. Life is good!
Not really, for therein lies the terrible deception of addiction. Life is only good when the addict is using. Addictions come at a cost, financially, and otherwise. Few addicts can afford the financial cost of their habit, which frequently outstrips their income, causing the addict to lie, cheat and steal, even from those people who are dear to him. With the aid of their drug-induced nirvana, they’re able to justify their behavior when they are using. When not using, their original insecurity, combined with the guilt and self-loathing attached to their addicted behaviors typically fuels their desire to use even more often. A negative and self-destructive cycle has begun.
Drug Addiction Symptoms: The effects of drug addiction on an Addict’s Brain
Nearly all highly addictive substances overwhelm the brain’s reward center with the brain chemical dopamine, which gives the user a strong sense of euphoria. The sensation is so pleasurable that it replaces everything the person was feeling previously, such as uncertainty, insecurity, fearfulness, anxiety, worry, guilt, etc. Not only does the user experience relief from these troubled feelings, but also, such pleasure that when the sensation eventually subsides, he wants to feel that way again.
Physiologically, drugs alter how the brain functions. The human brain contains upwards of 100 million neurons. When a person learns something, a connection is generated between neurons. When this action is repeated, the connection travels the same pathway again, causing it to become stronger and larger. With enough repetition, these thought pathways become habitual, and become what is commonly thought of as subconscious thinking. It becomes difficult for a person to not follow that thought process. This is how behaviors that begin as an experiment, or which are undertaken to help someone fit in with the crowd turn into perceived “needs.”
Years of rewarding these addictive thought processes create patterns of thought and behavior that become so ingrained that they often appear impossible to overcome. The brain adjusts to the surge of dopamine, which causes the addict to use greater amounts of a drug to achieve the same effect. Unfortunately, this can lead to life-threatening overdoses with some drugs. Generally speaking, the longer a person has been a drug user, the more difficult successful drug treatment can be.
Using drug addiction treatment Programs to Overcome Addiction
Fortunately, it is not impossible to break an addiction. It will require a substantial amount of concerted effort to redirect these thoughts, and it almost always requires professional help. A comprehensive drug treatment program seeks to battle addictions on the same five fronts from which they attack a person: physical, emotional, mental, psychological and social. Generally speaking, residential rehabilitation is best. One’s treatment often must begin with a period of detox, of physically getting off drugs before the real work of dealing with habitual patterns of behavior can begin. Many people are addicted to multiple substances, and their detoxification as well as their drug treatment will be tailored to their specific needs.
Addiction is considered a chronic disease, as the potential for relapse is high. Many individuals have achieved decades long freedom from addictions and would argue that they are cured. Even if this is so, a cure for all addicts is not likely, and addicts who have achieved sobriety are wise to approach the use of consciousness-altering substances with extreme caution. Successful drug treatment helps addicts gain insight into the various factors that cause them to look to drugs for relief, to recognize triggers, and to develop alternate thought processes and plans of action that they can implement as needed. Stress in its many guises, for example, is a common trigger for addicts, and is one that can be readily identified, often predicted, and methodically met with successful coping mechanisms.
Drug Treatment: Key Things to Remember
Until one is truly intimate with them, addictions are mystifying to both other people and to addicts, who repeatedly find themselves compelled to do things they don’t want to do. From the observer’s point of view, it appears the drugs overpower a person’s will, and indeed, it can be argued that they do. Few people can stop using drugs cold turkey, on their own. Drug addiction is a complex illness, and recovery nearly always needs drug treatment that is sensitive, specific, up-to-date, and compassionate.
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Timing matters. It’s important to get help
while a person is open to change
Timing matters. It’s important to get help while a person is open to change.
So ask any questions or reserve a place at ARC now. TODAY!
So ask any questions or reserve
a place at ARC now. TODAY!
ARC clients make it!
“If I didn’t come here and do this treatment, I don’t think I’d be on this earth now.” - Johnathon
With the RIGHT HELP you or your loved one CAN move on to create a full, normal life. A life with meaning, purpose, hope & happiness as real options.
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ARC clients make it!
“If I didn’t come here & do this treatment, I don’t think I’d be on this earth now.”
– John, free from alcohol & drugs for 3 years at time of review
Addiction Recovery Centre – ARC – Drug & Alcohol Rehab Center in Portsmouth
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