Addiction is characterized as an uncontrolled need to use drugs, alcohol, or other substances. The most frequent kinds of addiction are to drugs and alcohol. People have been known to suffer from addiction to various drugs and activities such as gambling, sex, and even job.
Many people wrongly believe addiction is a habit of those lacking moral values and the strength to control themselves. Addiction, in truth, is much more than an uncontrolled habit. It is a condition that demands significant comprehension.
Let us remove the stigma of addiction and learn everything we can about it as an illness.
It’s Not a Choice
First and foremost, drug addiction is not a choice. The misuse of drugs can cause brain chemistry disruptions. Here’s a breakdown from Haven House Recovery:
The brain’s reward center releases dopamine when opioids are in action, increasing feelings of pleasure. These feelings are similar to those we feel when we eat chocolate, hold a loved one’s hands, or engage in other activities that make our bodies happy.
Dopamine stimulates the midbrain’s ability to create a long-lasting memory that links these positive feelings with the environment and circumstances they experienced. These memories are conditioned associations and can cause a substance abuser to crave drugs when they re-encounter those people, places, or things. For example, a cigarette smoker might say, “When I’m in a bar, I must have a smoke.”
When the base of the brain, the locus ceruleus or LC (the locus cereus), undergoes changes, withdrawal and dependence on opioids can occur. The LC is where neurons are activated to promote wakefulness, breathing, and general alertness. The opioid molecules in the LC can cause drowsiness and slowed breathing. These signs of respiratory suppression indicate that a person’s heart rate and depth of breath are lower than expected.
The LC responds to opioids by increasing its production of neurotransmitters when it is repeatedly exposed. The opioid user will feel more normal because the increased production counters opioid suppression. However, withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, jitters, and muscle cramps.
This creates a vicious circle that leads to increased tolerance and, eventually dependence. This is the beginning of drug-addicted behaviors.
Is Addiction a Medical Condition?
Addiction is considered a chronic condition. It alters the brain’s normal functioning and interferes with the body’s capacity to manage itself. In severe circumstances, it leaves a person entirely dysfunctional, weakening one’s desire and drive to accomplish everyday chores and placing them in a mental realm where all that counts is the drug or activity to which they are addicted.
What Effect Does Addiction Have on Your Brain?
Dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter connected with pleasant feelings are released by addictive drugs and plays a vital role in the brain’s reward system.
Dopamine allows you to keep motivated in everyday settings. However, when you use addictive narcotics like heroin or cocaine, your dopamine levels rise, causing you to feel “high.” This tampers with your incentive system and affects your capacity to make sensible decisions.
Addiction has now taken control of your mind by altering your perception of pleasure. Because of the degree of the stimulus, your body seeks the “prize” provided by drug usage. You only perceive happiness when you consume it and feel empty without it.
Is It Possible for Anyone to Develop an Addiction?
Yes. Addiction may affect anyone from any background or socioeconomic category. Despite a 50% increased risk, not everyone born into a family with a history of addiction acquires one. No one element adds significantly to the probability of developing an addiction. Other factors to consider include stress, trauma, sexual abuse, melancholy, anxiety, and peer pressure.
Individuals struggling are also observed to have post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar illness, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.
Is Addiction Preventable?
Yes. Education and open communication are two of the most successful approaches to keeping your loved ones from sliding into addiction’s deep hole. Parents, family, and instructors all play crucial roles in maintaining open communication channels. Educating youngsters about the dangers of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, as well as guiding them on how to deal with peer pressure, will go a long way toward avoiding the development of addiction.
Is Addiction Treatable?
Absolutely. Addictions of all kinds are controllable and curable. Individualized addiction treatment focuses on assisting the afflicted in managing their drug-seeking behavior through psychotherapy, medical treatments, and support groups.
How Do You Handle Withdrawal Symptoms?
Uneasiness, exhaustion, tremors, nausea, puking, muscular soreness, shivering, congestion, and changes in mood and appetite are all withdrawal symptoms. It produces hallucinations, delirium, seizures, and depression in severe instances.
While symptoms vary, dealing usually includes taking drugs, maintaining healthy habits, and seeking help. Here are some ways you can handle withdrawal symptoms:
- Medications: Medically aided withdrawal is a safe technique to reduce symptoms, particularly for individuals experiencing severe symptoms. A doctor may prescribe medication to treat anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. It all depends on where you are right now.
- Healthy habits: Keeping a regular sleep pattern, eating nutritious foods, keeping hydrated, exercising, and practicing mindfulness meditation all aid in the withdrawal process.
- Support groups through rehab centers: Getting outside aid can help with withdrawal symptoms. Rehab clinics assist men and women who are addicted by offering a caring, nurturing atmosphere.
Misconceptions and stigma will fade as people have a better understanding of addiction. Addiction, once again, is a chronic condition that is very curable. People suffering from addiction want assistance now more than ever. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, consider visiting rehabilitation clinics that take comprehensive approaches to addiction treatment.