As casual as it sounds, addiction is a very complex disorder that can have several harmful effects on an individual’s life. Addiction is a Substance Use Disorder SUD which happens when a person cannot control the usage of a substance, despite knowing its repercussions.
The world today has a huge market for illicit drugs. About 165 million or 60.2% of Americans aged 12 years or older currently abuse drugs. These consumers have huge potential of being addicts, which endangers their mental and physical health and puts their entire lives at stake in short.
Addictions are not easy to be treated. As complex as the phenomenon is, the people who are addicted require to be treated very subtly. The visible changes in the behavior of an addict can be observed easily. More alarming is that extreme biological changes happen inside an addict’s body. Constant substance use brings about several changes in the brain. Therefore, addicts should be taken care of with a lot of care. If you or your loved one is addicted to a substance, you can contact Serenity at Summit for expert help and guidance.
There are different ways in which drug overuse can be identified. The major ones include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Unsteady gait.
- Violent or aggressive behavior.
If your loved one is showing any of the above-stated symptoms, they require immediate medical care.
Stages of Addiction:
There are five major stages of addiction. If you identify any of these stages in a person you know, you should immediately prescribe them to a specialist in the field.
- Initiation: During this phase, the individual tries the substance the first time to experience its effects. Though addiction doesn’t kick in yet, it’s evident that the individual chooses and intends at this stage. As per the National Institute of Drug Abuse, most people set their intention to try a substance between 18 to 20. This is where their habit is formed.
- Experimentation: During this phase, the individual tries out the substance in multiple settings and experience its impact. It’s common for individuals to connect the habit with certain social triggers and actions. For instance, school kids usually experience substances to enhance their relaxation, while some students indulge in this substance abuse to cope with stress.
- Regular Usage: At this stage, the individual starts normalizing the usage of certain substances and frequents the usage of the substance. At this point, the habit is usually formed, and the individual is under the effect of this substance to cope with feelings like loneliness, boredom, or stress.
- Risky Usage: The individual is using this substance at an alarming rate and is likely to take large risks to consume the drug. They may resort to borrowing or stealing money, neglecting responsibilities, changing peer groups, or changing their doctors not to be caught.
- Dependence: At this stage, the individual no longer consumes this drug for recreational or medicinal purposes and relies heavily on it. It’s debatable whether the individual had developed a certain level of tolerance regarding the substance or has their tolerance towards the drug increased.
- Addiction: Often, the terms addiction, and dependency are used interchangeably. The difference between the previous stage and the current stage is that the individual is unaware of how dependent they are on the drug until the stage of addiction. Thus, at this addiction, the individual accepts that they are dependent on the substance.
- Crisis Treatment: At this stage, the individual understands that they no longer control the habit. They rely heavily on the substance and need a strong intervention to kick out the habit. This often comprises healthcare treatment like rehab and therapy sessions with a psychologist.
No stage is more alarming than the other. As soon as the person identifies with any of the stages mentioned above, they should immediately be taken care of. It is recommended not to wait for rock bottom and things to worsen. The disorder should be treated from the very start.
Facts about Addictions:
Drugs can alter the lives of human beings. They are affecting human beings individually and affecting us as a society. The usage of drugs has been increasing for a considerable period. Despite the vast negative implications of the drugs, people prefer to enjoy the short-term pleasure that they bring. There are several facts about addiction that every person must be aware of:
- Substance Use rewires the brain: The brain of an addict makes it compulsory for that person to consume the drug. The intake of a drug induces a rush of dopamine (the feel-good chemical) in a person’s body. But with time, the rush level with a certain amount of drug decreases, making the person crave more and more. As a result, the resulting system in the brain stops functioning properly. In addition, the parts of the brain that manage self-control wear away.
- Quitting Drugs at once is Unachievable: An addict can’t just wake up one day and decide that they will not use drugs anymore. It is a painstakingly time-consuming process. Most people require proper rehab and physiatrist services to recover properly.
- Addictions bring Co-occurring Problems with themselves: Usually, the people who are addicted face several mental health problems as well. The most common problems include:
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Relapse: It is common to relapse during or after the recovery phase. Its relapse style is like relapse in other chronic diseases, like asthma, hypertension, and type I diabetes. Nevertheless, a relapse does not mean that a person can’t recover anymore.
- Role of Genes in Addiction: According to scientists, genes are 50% responsible for drug behavior. A specialist named Dr. Yngvild Olsen once quoted, Addiction is an “interplay between genetics, environment, and childhood trauma.”
- Addiction Costs Billions of Dollars to the Economy: Annually, illegal drug abuse costs approximately 740 billion dollars to the American economy. The major contributors to this amount are alcohol, tobacco, prescribed and illegal drugs.
Drug addiction is a widely recognized problem. It happens in multiple stages and can badly affect the one going through it. It not only destroys the person emotionally, mentally, and psychologically, but it also becomes a hindrance in their social life.
Furthermore, drug addiction is harming our society as a whole. The prevalence of drug treatment is quite low. Statistics say that only 10% of people receive proper addiction treatment. In addition, the trend of drug addiction is increasing exponentially. Since the 1990s, the drug addiction level has tripled.
Putting the entire situation in retrospect, we as individuals are responsible for looking after people exposed to such abuse and saving ourselves from such a problem. As everyone says, prevention is always better than the cure itself.