What is Addiction?
Drug addiction is physical dependence on a drug, medicinal or recreational, which means that withdrawal can often cause severe physical symptoms. People experiment with drugs for various reasons such as curiosity, peer pressure or as a coping mechanism. Some drugs are very addictive; people can suffer from withdrawal after just one use. Drug addiction can cause many serious problems in an addict’s life and can lead to a path of crime. The home and work life suffer, and dependence on drugs minimizes social inhibitions and the conscience which means addicts usually cannot sustain personal relationships.
Recreational drugs cause a rise in the levels of a chemical called dopamine in the brain which causes feelings of pleasure; this in turn can lead to interference with the ability to think and exercise control. The dependence on drugs can reach the level where it is similar to survival behaviors such as eating and drinking. Withdrawal symptoms for various drugs vary but can include hallucinations, tremors, nausea, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and depression among others. The most common addiction drugs include marijuana, heroin, stimulants like amphetamines and crystal meth, anti-depressants like Xanax and GHB, hallucinogens like LSD and inhalants like glue.
Drug addiction is like a brain disease and alters the way a person thinks and ultimately behaves. Many addicts start out by just experimenting, claiming they can stop whenever they want but end up dependent on drugs. Drug addicts often demonstrate obvious behaviors which can allow friends and family to get them help. Such behaviors include lying, excessive borrowing, being secretive and having legal troubles.
The longer an addict stays dependent on a drug, the more difficult it will be to recover. But addiction is still a disease that can be treated so addicts should not be given up on, instead they should be encouraged and maybe even forced to seek treatment.