Having a drug addiction does more than just deplete your funds. It affects all aspects of your life. The use of drugs will weigh heavily on your overall health, both mentally and physically.
Addiction is a lot like other diseases, such as heart disease. Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of essential organs in the body, have serious harmful effects, and are – in many cases – preventable and treatable. If left untreated, they can last a lifetime and may lead to death.
Drug addiction severely strains personal relationships, which often are lost altogether. Work-life suffers, leaving a high risk for termination. In order to begin the path to treatment, it’s important to understand what drug addiction is first.
What Is Drug Addiction?
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), “Addiction refers to the problematic use of a substance.” Those who struggle with drug addiction experience compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite the harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long-lasting.
Drugs affect the reward center of the brain by releasing large amounts of dopamine, which is involved in helping people to feel pleasure. This is produced at the base of the brain by neurons in a two-step process. First, the amino acid tyrosine is converted into another amino acid called L-dopa. Then L-dopa undergoes another change, as enzymes turn it into dopamine.
The pleasure aspect brought on by dopamine makes drugs highly addictive. Over time, your body becomes desensitized to the effects, thus requiring more of the drug. This desensitization causes changes in the brain that can lead to harmful behaviours that are seen in people who use drugs. Due to this nature of change, it is important to reach out for help as soon as you notice reoccurring drug abuse.
What Substances Can Lead to Drug Addiction?
There is a vast array of drugs available today. Some are more addictive than others. Among the most common substances that lead to addiction are opioids, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription. These may include medications such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and more.
Crack and cocaine are “powerful stimulants and highly addictive.” Cocaine that can be smoked is known as crack. Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant that is also highly addictive.
It is also important to consider other addictive substances that lead to health issues and can develop into heavier drug addiction. Nicotine is one of the most common drugs that is legal to obtain and use.
Another legal and very addictive substance is alcohol, which leads to a large number of health issues and other consequences. Addiction to any substance can often be a gateway to other drugs.
Why Do People Use Drugs?
Often, individuals partake in drug use because of its aforementioned pleasure boost. Alcohol and other mood-altering drugs artificially create the pleasure effect more efficiently and intensely than the brain’s natural reward process. This intense pleasure is among the most common reasons people pursue drug use.
People often seek out this pleasure due to their environment. For example, someone who struggles with a mental health disorder may start using drugs to find relief from their symptoms. Other people may use drugs as a way to cope with past trauma.
Another very common reason starts out innocently. Prescription pain pills are highly addictive and are legal to obtain from your healthcare provider. It may start out with severe back pain that is treated with pills. However, as tolerance and dependence build, it can lead to drug addiction over time.
Genetics also plays an important role in the likelihood of addiction. Family studies that include identical twins, fraternal twins, adoptees, and siblings suggest that as much as half of a person’s risk of becoming addicted depends on their genetic makeup. Regardless of the reasons that may lead to drug addiction, it is treatable. Recovery is an option available to anyone, no matter the addiction severity level.
Treatment Options for Drug Addiction
There are many options available in the treatment of drug addiction. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered among the most successful treatments. This therapy occurs over an extended period of time and is designed to help achieve recovery every step of the way.
Medication is another very beneficial aspect of drug addiction treatment and is often used as part of CBT in a recovery program. Long-term follow-up relapse prevention plans are also an important treatment option for drug addiction. Recovery isn’t a one-and-done process. It’s a stage that lasts a lifetime. However, it is a wonderful and beautiful stage. It takes a lot of courage to begin this change, and you will not regret it. This change is the first step to the rest of your life.
Drug addiction can take over every aspect of your life. It can make you feel like there’s no escape. However, there is a way out, and it all starts with one phone call. You don’t have to keep going down this path. At BeWell, we want to be the support system you need to change your path. Start reclaiming your life back, one step at a time. Choose the path of wellness, the path that’s free of addiction, free of these struggles you’re going through. We see your pain, and we understand you. You don’t have to do this alone. Call BeWell today to learn more about our treatment options at (647) 715-3900.