If somebody was to tell you that you are addicted to certain drug would you agree with him? And if you would what would be your facts in other words how do you know that you are addicted to drugs? These are some of the questions we want to address even as we focus on our topic of the day “understanding the three stages of drug addiction”. From the experts and psychologist point of view drug addiction is a disease characterized by both physical and psychological health impairments. It can also be defined as a pattern of substance use leading to significant impairment in physical and mental functioning. In whichever way you look at it there will be some level of physical and psychological impairment in the process a factor which doctor Dalal Akoury concurs that is the most significant problem in addiction. For our understanding of the problem, doctor Dalal Akoury is going to share with us the three stages of drug addiction as follows:
At the introduction levels of addiction the psychological dependence on the drugs (stage of Preoccupation or Anticipation), is characterized by the following symptoms:
The constant craving for the drug – An overwhelming desire to use the drug of choice to relieve the state of psycho-emotional stress preoccupies the user despite the other responsibilities and events in his/her life.
Is the stage of intoxication? – This stage is characterized by the further worsening the above mentioned symptoms of drug addiction and appearing the new ones
The growing tolerance – The longer the drugs are introduced into the body the larger amounts of drugs are necessary to continue experiencing the same euphoric effects. The increased doses of the drug (binging) push the effects of intoxication to a dangerous level.
The emergence of withdrawal syndrome – Uncomfortable, very disruptive, physical and mental condition that happen when the body is sharply deprived of the psychoactive substances that it is used to getting. The clinical picture of withdrawal syndrome varies and mostly depends on the type of the using substance. The most common symptoms of drug addiction and opioid withdrawal include the constant, deep, exhausting pain in muscles and bones all over the body, sensation of almost unbearable inner cold, frequent cold-and-hot flashes, shivering, sneezing, watery eyes, sweating, cramps in stomach area, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, restless legs, increased nervousness and irritability, sleep disorders, insomnia, and many more.
The negative and persistent changes in personality – It will interest you to note that at this stage there will be increased emotional sensitivity, explosiveness, frequent mood swings, narrowing of vital interests, aggressiveness, apathy, impaired memory and intelligence, tendency to depression, dishonesty, permanent conflicts at work and home, problems with the law.
Third stage of drug dependence is the stage of Physical, Mental and Social Degradation.
- Presence of irreversible pathological changes in the internal organs and systems of the body (liver failure due to toxicity and viral hepatitis, toxic encephalopathy, immune system disorders, AIDS, etc.).
- Development of dementia and other drug related mental disorders. The chronic use of certain drugs
- Currently available evidence indicates that heavy, long-term drug consumption is likely to have a negative impact on cognitive function. Longer-term smoking of marijuana is associated with increased risk of intellectual deterioration and possibly schizophrenia and dementia.
- The chronic use of benzodiazepines and psycho-stimulants also leads to increased risk of cognitive impairment. For example, 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, (MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy), produces the long-term deficit in serotonin function in the brain, resulting in mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Chronic drug abuse by adolescents during formative years is a particular concern because it interferes with normal socialization and cognitive development and thus frequently contributes to the development of mental disorders.
- Social degradation by drug dependence: Like for instance the loss of marriage, family; spoiled interpersonal relationships; degradation in professional skills and activities and as a result the problems with employment and financial issues; problems with law-abiding.
Understanding the three stages of drug addiction: Consequences and effects of drug addiction and alcoholism
Consequences and effects of drug addiction and alcoholism have both medical and social effects.
Health effects of drug addiction and alcohol abuse – The most obvious negative effects of drug addiction or alcohol abuse is deterioration in physical and mental state of an addict.
It will interest you to note that different type of drugs causes particular and quite specific effects of chronic drug intoxication:
Effects of drug abuse on the brain in case of untreated drug and alcohol abuse is irreversible condition that leads to progressive deterioration of personality. Degradation begins with memory loss, inability to concentrate and further shows up in reduced physical and mental activity, in a tendency to fruitless fantasies, excessive irritability and sleep disorders. The normal human emotions, desires, interests, work skills gradually fade and meaning of life gets limited to searching for drugs. Untreated addiction undoubtedly ends up in irreversible dementia.
Mental disorders in case of a drug abuse are varied and accompany all its forms. The most common characteristic of mental disorder is psychosis, which may occur either shortly after using the drug or during the withdrawal. Acute psychosis is characterized by a pronounce anxiety, kind of panic attack, paranoia, consciousness disorders up to the visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations and delusions. Often such states result in committing suicide. Use of improvised and counterfeit drugs presents particular danger to life and health of a drug addict. Chronic drug users look physically exhausted. They have distinctive appearance: pallor, poor skin elasticity, feverish bright eyes, dry nails, hair loss, they are underweight. Addicts look much older than their physiological age. All male drug addicts sooner or later develop impotence, as well as female addicts develop frigidity. Negatively affected by drugs and alcohol germ cells often result in the birth of weak and sick children with different congenital defects. Pregnancy in case of active drug use runs hard, with complications and high chances of miscarriage and preterm birth. After birth such children are growing poorly, lagging behind in their physical and mental development. They often get sick. Children whose mothers were on drugs during pregnancy are already born addicted to drugs with all ensuing consequences.
Finally take note that all drugs without any exception destroy the brain in the first place and you need not to get to the second one so long as you are using a drug the first one is sufficient. Doctor Akoury concludes that even if you smoke marijuana which is considered the weakest of all drugs occasionally, you are already initiating the irreversible effects of drug abuse on the brain which manifest in weakening attention, reduced memory capacity, in forming the typical for the drug addicts thinking and behavior patterns, which are very well shown in numerous drug addicts jokes and “freaky films” with their peculiar flat sense of humor. The stronger the drug the worse their effects therefore for the purpose of your good health understanding the three stages of drug addiction is very important. And with that done if you are suffering from any form of addiction, you now have an opportunity to correct it by scheduling for an appointment with doctor Dalal Akoury today for the commencement of your recovery process today.