There are many reasons people get addicted to drugs, but you must gain insight into what draws you towards your substance of choice. Is it a means to cope with stress? Do drugs help numb you emotionally so you don’t have to feel emotional or physical pain? Are drugs a way to avoid responsibility, gain other’s approval or belong to a group? It’s important that you peel back the layers of your behavior to understand what is behind your drug habits.
Even now, many people assume that drug addiction is caused by a failure of willpower or by weak character. But the medical community now recognizes that addiction is a brain disease, not a character flaw. The repeated use of drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, or prescription opiates causes profound changes in the structure and function of the brain. These substances interfere with the way your brain processes and responds to neurotransmitters, chemicals that control emotion, energy levels, pain response, judgment, sleep patterns, and metabolism.
Because an alcohol use disorder can be a chronic relapsing disease, persistence is key. It is rare that someone would go to treatment once and then never drink again. More often, people must repeatedly try to quit or cut back, experience recurrences, learn from them, and then keep trying. For many, continued followup with a treatment provider is critical to overcoming problem drinking.
The legalization of marijuana in several states and the growing acceptance of this drug in the medical community correspond with a rise in use and abuse of this substance. Marijuana, or cannabis, is a plant-based substance that can be smoked, vaporized, or ingested in foods and liquids that contain the drug. When smoked or consumed, marijuana binds with receptor cells in the brain that respond to substances called cannabinoids. Many of these receptor cells are located in the same parts of the brain that control judgment, reasoning, motor coordination, and spatial perception.
^ Jump up to: a b "Substance use disorder". Pubmed Health. National Institutes of Health. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. Drug dependence means that a person needs a drug to function normally. Abruptly stopping the drug leads to withdrawal symptoms. Drug addiction is the compulsive use of a substance, despite its negative or dangerous effects Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers ► The Problem With Relapse
Research has identified differences in how the reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers. In either group, alcohol caused the release of naturally occurring feel-good endorphins in the two brain regions linked to reward processing. Once addicted, alcohol withdrawal presents dangerous physical and psychological issues.9
There are many factors that contribute to drug addiction: genetic makeup, family background, social influences, neurological factors, and environmental issues. Having a close family member who is addicted to drugs, or growing up in an environment where drug use is widely accepted, can increase your chances of dependence and drug addiction. A co-occurring mental illness makes you vulnerable to addictive drug use.
Nalmefene, an opiate antagonist that is similar in its chemical structure to naltrexone, is one of the most recent drugs being investigated for the treatment of alcoholism. Like naltrexone (sold as ReVia, Depade, or Vivitrol), nalmefene deprives the person struggling with substance use of the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. But nalmefene is less toxic to the liver than naltrexone. As of 2013, nalmefene was still undergoing clinical trials through the U.S. National Institutes of Health before receiving FDA approval. From Rehab to a Body Bag | Dying for Treatment: VICE Reports (Full Length)