What Is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease. Many people try to define it as a choice, but it isn’t. The brain is altered by substances, leaving it desperate for drugs. It can cause an uncontrollable craving.
Mind altering substances like drugs alter brain chemistry. This changes how they perceive things. This can convince the body that it needs the substance that has been taken. As addiction continues, tolerance builds up.
Tolerance is the body’s response to consistent substance abuse. It means that over time they need more to get the response desired. This is because the body grows tolerant.
Addicts will seek out drugs even when it has become negative. Their lives could be falling apart around them, and they’d only care about their next fix. Addiction means they feel they cannot live without it.
This is a hard way to live and hurts the user and everyone around them.
What Are The Signs Of Addiction?
There are many signs and symptoms of addiction. But the main five as listed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) are:
- Being unable to abstain from a substance or rewarding experience. These can include gambling, sex, or even routine things like shopping.
- Intense craving or need for a substance that they cannot control.
- Improper emotional responses. This is such as extreme anger or sadness in inappropriate situations.
- Unable to control behavior usually. This can mean things like outbursts, or even sleep patterns or normal routines.
- Lessened ability to realize problems, such as the negative impact of their addiction. Especially in lives, employment, and relationships.
These five features can’t always be the deciding factors in defining addiction. A person who life and biology need to come into account as well.
Continual drug use is shown to make it impossible for a user to abstain. So if they have to use drugs beyond all reason, then they are most likely an addict. They will show an irrational response to the suggestion to quit using. That is never a good sign.
How Does It Start?
Addiction starts easily enough. It is usually just for fun. Drugs are taken to help a person relax, wind down, or party easier. This is because most drugs have a euphoric effect.
Euphoria is a release of dopamine or similar chemical that helps the user reach a high. These highs are what make drugs addictive. It is generally a reward or a relief. The brain tricks the user into thinking these harmful substances are good for them when they are not.
After the euphoria, there is a rebound. The rebound means that the user experiences an extreme low after, once the high has worn off. This makes the high seem even more desirable to a user. This can lead to the user wanting to feel it again even sooner.
This is how the tolerance builds up in the body. The tolerance builds and the addiction begins.