Drug addiction is a state of being that is characterised by the compulsive intake and intoxication of a drug. It is the compulsion to consume the drug, regardless of the negative consequences. It can be either a physical or psychological addiction or even a combination of both of these.
It is more appropriate to say that it is a behavioural problem where the use of a mind altering substance dominates the person's motivation and where it appears that normal controls no longer work. Addiction is actually a complicated brain disorder but it can be treated.
This is one of the most common illnesses in the Western world with an estimated nine million Americans needing treatment for an addiction. This makes the condition more prevalent than heart disease. There are also thousands of drug-related deaths every year and around a quarter of AIDS cases are from injecting drugs.
Not every drug affects every user in the same way. It is believed that some people are more predisposed to addiction than others. This may be psychological or genetic in nature. Also, some drugs require more exposure than others before addiction sets in.
Often, substance abuse is confused with addiction. However, substance abuse which is any use of a harmful substance can occur with or without addiction. These drugs affect the neurological impulses affecting motivation and reward. They also inhibit further learning, therefore meaning that further use ceases to make learning important to the user.
It has long been known that Glutamate, Dopamine, and Serotonin, chemicals in the brain, are associated with drug addiction and the compulsive behaviours related to cocaine and amphetamine use.
There are two components to drug addiction and these are physical dependency and psychological dependency. With physical dependency, the person has used the drug so often that it is now habit and he or she must continue to use the drug in order to feel that they are able to function normally. To stop using the drug would bring on severe and highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Psychological dependency, on the other hand, happens when the drug has been used regularly to obtain pleasure or alleviate pain and the person has become emotionally dependent on the effect. As with physical dependency, to stop the drug makes the person feel incapable of normal functioning and produces intense cravings. It is common for addicts to have both physical and psychological dependency.
There are treatments available to help the addict. These can include cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, counselling, medications and combinations of any of these. The success of treatment is just as effective as it is for other chronic disorders such as asthma and high blood pressure and the treatment is cost effective.
It has also been noted that there is a marked reduction in drug related crime among those under treatment. Additionally, those on Methadone treatment are less likely to contract AIDS than those not in treatment.
Recovery from addiction varies depending on the drugs involved and the amount used, how long the person has been addicted, and social networks. It is just as important that the significant people in the person's life, such as family and close friends, receive treatment. The traumatic nature of supporting a drug addict, either physically or emotionally, is brutal on those who love him or her.
Drug addiction, like any other chronic disorder, needs treatment and understanding. This is a condition that destroys lives as well as families and costs millions to combat. However, if this epidemic can be curbed, then it is worth every dollar spent.
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Anne is the owner of www.softwaremegastore.net and www.annabellescheapies.com and www.travellintunes.com and has been involved in internet marketing for several years. She is both a mother and a doting grandmother. She has a wide variety of interests and loves to write.
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