Several people do not understand why or how other people transform or get addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or resolution and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be positively treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives. Drug abuse and addiction have undesirable consequences for individuals and for society.
There are at least two ways that drugs cause this disruption: one- by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and two-by over stimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain. Some drugs like marijuana and heroin have a similar construction to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. This similarity allows the drugs to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to direct abnormal messages.
Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters mainly dopamine or to prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signaling between neuron. The overstimulation of this reward system, which normally responds to natural behaviors linked to survival eating, spending time with loved ones produces euphoric effects in response to psychoactive drugs. This reaction sets in motion a reinforcing pattern that “teaches” people to repeat the rewarding behavior of abusing drugs.
As a person lingers to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. The result is a lessening of dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit, which reduces the abuser’s ability to enjoy not only the drugs but also other events in life that beforehand brought pleasure. This decrease compels the addicted person to keep abusing drugs in an attempt to bring the dopamine function back to normal, but now larger amounts of the drug are required to achieve the same dopamine high an effect known as open-mindedness.
Long-term abuse causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that influences the reward circuit and the ability to learn. When the optimal concentration of glutamate is altered by drug abuse, the brain attempts to compensate, which can impair cognitive function. Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Together, these changes can drive an abuser to seek out and take drugs compulsively despite opposing, even devastating penalties—that is the nature of addiction.
Addiction is a complex sickness characterized by compulsive drug use. While each drug harvests different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common: repeated use can alter the way the brain looks and functions. Taking a recreational drug causes a surge in levels of dopamine in your brain, which trigger spirits of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated, If you become habituated, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking, Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behavior, and feel normal without drugs, Whether you’re addicted to inhalants, heroin, Xanax, speed, and caffeine the uncontrollable craving to use grows more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness, The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the addiction. You may drastically underestimate the amount of drugs you’re taking, how much it impacts your life, and the level of control you have over your drug use.
Adjust Your Thinking…
People with addiction problems are not weak, they are ill, addiction is an illness, with symptoms that may be difficult to control (just the way someone with bronchitis may have an uncontrollable cough, the behaviors you see are symptoms of the illness. The person with addiction does not have the same clear selections about their addictive behavior as does someone without addiction, Denial and lying about the addictive behavior are symptoms of addiction, Consequences at work can provide the employee with meaningful incentive to work towards recovery, addiction and mental illness often co-occur. Retrieval for both is possible, and takes a lot of hard work. Relapse is also part of the illness and may occur at any time, but particularly when stressors increase, the addictive behavior may be an attempt to cover up feelings, thoughts and memories that are too painful to deal with. It may be an attempt to self-medicate to cope with the symptoms of mental illness, an old adage: it takes twenty nine times for help to be offered before a person with addiction can accept. Experts at the New Frontier Medicine Academy are ready to help you to restore your soul, heart, mind and body. You don’t know where you are in that scheme, but your offer of help does register!