To be addicted means to be unable to abstain from taking a substance or indulging in a behaviour, despite the fact that doing so causes both psychological and bodily suffering.
The term “addiction” can refer to a dependence on a variety of substances. Nevertheless, there are additional forms of addiction that entail an inability to refrain from participating in activities such as gambling, eating, or working.
The addiction of drugs is also the abuse of drugs as it involves use of illegal substances or the use of prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals for purposes other than those for which they are supposed to be used, or in excessive amounts.
Thus, drug abuse is a chronic, recurrent condition that is characterised by obsessive drug seeking and use in spite of undesirable effects, as stated in the definition of addiction.
Because it causes functional alterations in brain circuits that are involved in reward, stress, and self-control, neuropsychologists believe it to be a disorder of the brain. These alterations may persist for a significant amount of time after the individual has ceased using medicines.
Addiction to drugs shares many similarities with other disorders such as heart disease. Both conditions interfere with the regular, healthy functioning of an organ in the body; both are associated with substantial adverse effects; and both may, in many instances, be avoided or treated. They have the potential to last a lifetime and even cause death if they are not addressed.
Addiction to drugs is a complex neurological disorder that needs treatment that addresses the patient’s mind, body, and spirit all at the same time. Because medications alter both the structure and function of the brain, this condition is classified as a disease of the brain.
It is common for those who are battling drug addiction to believe they would be unable to function regularly without their preferred drug. This can result in a wide variety of problems, some of which might have an effect on one’s professional aspirations, personal relationships, and general health. These potentially life-threatening adverse effects might worsen with time and can be fatal if they are not managed.
How does one become addicted to drugs?
A behaviour that is performed once as an experiment in a social setting can quickly turn into a habit if it is repeated often enough. An example of this would be drinking alcohol for the first time at a party while you were in college.
Alcohol and nicotine are two examples of substances that have the potential to alter how a person feels. Some people seek out the mental and physical stimulation that these substances provide in order to fulfil their needs.
In the vast majority of cases, it is extremely likely that the individual will get fixated with such feelings. As a result of this condition, the individual will likely progress to a point where they are dependent on that particular substance. Some people are able to become dependent on even more than one drug at a time. On the other hand, this kind of way of life frequently results in a number of mental, bodily, and social disadvantages.
Why are drugs abused?
People use drugs for a variety of reasons, including the following in general:
- To feel pleasant: The extreme pleasure that can be produced by drugs is well documented. This first feeling of euphoria is then followed by various effects, which vary depending on the medication that was taken. For instance, once the high from stimulants like cocaine wears off, the user will experience sensations of strength, enhanced self-confidence, and increased vitality. Opioid-induced euphoria, on the other hand, is typically followed by a sense of calm and contentment, which is why heroin is considered an opioid.
- To feel better: Those who struggle with conditions such as social anxiety, stress, and depression may turn to substance abuse in an effort to feel less nervous. Patients who are in the process of recovering from addiction are at an increased risk of relapsing, which is defined as returning to drug use, if they are under significant amounts of stress.
- To do better in certain activities: Several individuals report feeling pressured to increase their ability to concentrate, whether it is at school, on the job, or in sports. This can be a factor in starting or continuing to take drugs such as cocaine or prescription stimulants, and it can also be a factor in both situations.
- Curiosity and the pressures of social interaction: Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to this kind of danger since the pressure from their peers can be quite intense. Adolescence is a stage of development in which the existence of risk variables, such as having friends who use drugs, may increase the likelihood that a person may start using substances themselves.
Illegal drugs commonly used
- Cocaine or crack cocaine
- Bath salts
Common prescription drugs that are abused
- Opioid painkillers
- Stimulants such as those used to treat ADHD
- Anti-obsessive agents
- Mood stabilizers
Treatment for drug addiction
The individual receiving treatment and their loved ones are the primary beneficiaries of this effort, which is designed to improve their situation overall. When the condition has been identified, the treating physician or specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
Detoxification and withdrawal therapy: In many instances, the combination treatment of detoxification and withdrawal therapy has shown to have encouraging effects. It is highly recommended that this treatment be carried out by trained medical personnel.
Chemical dependency treatment programmes: Treatment programmes for chemical dependencies include many types of therapy in order to shed light on the perils of drug addiction. In most cases, the treatment specialist is the one who makes the decision regarding which therapeutic facets are included in the programme.
Behaviour therapy: Behaviour therapy is an additional component of a combined treatment programme that can be administered by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a certified alcohol and drug counsellor.
Addiction to drugs is a significant problem in the modern world that we currently live in. You or your loved ones may be struggling with this condition. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for drug addiction, there is a good chance of beating this addiction and regaining control of one’s life with the assistance of heart-to-heart conversations and treatment plans supported by evidence that are carried out under the supervision of trained professionals.
 Adam Felman. “What Is Addiction?” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465. Accessed March 18, 2023.
 National Cancer Institute. “Drug Abuse.” https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/drug-abuse. Accessed March 18, 2023.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction Drug Misuse and Addiction.” https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-misuse-addiction#:~:text=What%20is%20drug%20addiction%3F,stress%2C%20and%20self%2Dcontrol. Accessed March 18, 2023.
 Origins Behavioral Healthcare. “What Is Drug Addiction?” https://www.originsrecovery.com/what-is-drug-addiction/. Accessed March 18, 2023.
 Pinnacle Treatment Centers. “What Is Drug Addiction?” https://pinnacletreatment.com/blog/what-is-drug-addiction/. Accessed March 18, 2023.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction Drug Misuse and Addiction.” https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-misuse-addiction#:~:text=What%20is%20drug%20addiction%3F,stress%2C%20and%20self%2Dcontrol. Accessed March, 18 2023.