Drug addiction is a complex brain disease characterized by compulsive or sometimes uncontrollable seeking and use that persists even when facing entirely negative consequences. Drug seeking becomes compulsive as a result of prolonged drug use on brain functioning and thus on behavior.
A brain disease
Drug addiction is a brain disease where initial drug use might be voluntary, but once addiction develops, the addict the control over his drug use is markedly disrupted and disturbed. Although the exact cause of drug addiction is unknown, there are some notable causes that lead to such addiction, especially amongst teenagers like peer pressure.
Children growing up in an environment of illicit drug use, may first see their parents use drugs and thus, this might put them under the threat of going for the same and hence become addicted to it. Easy access to drugs is also seen as a potential cause behind increasing number of drug addicts. Apart from these, emotional distress, anxiety, depression and environmental stress could be some of the factors.
Anxiety or depression
On a general basis, it is seen that addicts are generally people suffering from any kind of anxiety or facing depression, having a stressful lifestyle both - economically and socially. It has also come into notice that teenagers, who are drug addicts, generally fall prey to the vicious trap of addiction due to its easy accessibility to them.
With both the parents working, there is no one to look after these young ‘adults’ and thus with unwanted supply of money in their hands, drugs become an easy thing to access. Some of the commonly used drugs/ abused substances are opiates and narcotics, which are powerful painkillers, causing drowsiness, feeling of euphoria etc.
Substances like heroin, opium, codeine etc are considered opiates and people over time with continuous use become addicted to them. Another type of drug is known as Central Nervous System (CNS) simulator.
These include cocaine, dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate, which have a stimulating effect and people start needing higher quantities of the same thing over time to feel the similar effects. CNS depressants like alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, produce a sedative and anxiety reducing effect, also leading to dependence.
Drugs like LSD and mescaline cause hallucinations or makes people see things which are not actually present, called hallucinogens, also lead to addiction and other harms to the human body. Confusion, continuous drug use even when health, work and family are hampered, are some of the symptoms of addiction to drugs.
Signs of addiction
Acts of violence, missing school and office and not engaging in any physical work at all are also signs of addiction to drugs. Treatment to such addiction and abuse begins with recognising the problem. It involves stopping drug use either gradually or abruptly.
People with acute intoxication or drug overdose, may need emergency treatment. Sometimes, addicts lose consciousness and may need to be on a breathing machine. Sometimes another drug with similar action may be used to prevent the further damage to the body and reduce the effects and risks of withdrawal.
Residential treatment programmes are also used to promote and address the possible withdrawal symptoms and behaviour. These include counselling for both the patient and their family or the social group. Drug addicts require both physical and psychological treatment and support to get rid of their abuse and start a new life leaving behind the dreadful past.