It is very easy to become addicted to certain substances and to go on to abuse those substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as,
A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences as well as neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain.
Many of the addictive substances that surround us on a daily basis lead to serious disorders when used. Here is a look at three of the most common addictive substances to be found in society and what sort of disorders they cause.
Alcohol is one of the most dangerously addictive substances that is legal for consumption. Trying to pretend otherwise is simply lying to yourself. Originally, alcohol is consumed for the euphoric feeling it gives after heavy consumption. Along with this comes increased confidence and loss of inhibitions. It is because of these things that alcohol is consumed as a social lubricant. Once an individual becomes addicted to alcohol, withdrawal can be a messy scenario. Alcohol withdrawal is sometimes indistinguishable from major depression or an anxiety disorder. More serious withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to delusions, hallucinations, seizures ,and in some cases, severe instability in vital signs. The more serious mental maladies caused by alcohol consumption are directly related to brain damage that may prove irreversible, even if the subject stops drinking.
Nicotine is infamous for being the active ingredient in cigarettes and add to their overall addictiveness. It has been found that people who are addicted to nicotine tend to have an overall tendency towards depression. In many cases the individual uses nicotine as a means to regulate his or her mood and avoid the worst parts of his or her depression. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reminds us,
Tobacco smoking injures almost every organ in the body, causes many diseases, reduces health in general, and leads to reduced life span and death.
Although there is no link between the causation of depression from nicotine, many people who give up smoking suffer from both craving and mild to severe depression.
Although not legally available, hallucinogens are among the easiest illicit drugs to acquire on the market and because of their ease of acquisition, they make up a large portion of the drugs used for recreational purposes. These drugs produce hallucinations that are more visual in nature. These hallucinations differ from Schizophrenic hallucinations since the latter are more auditory in presentation. The negative fallout associated with hallucinogens range from flashbacks to exacerbated feelings of depression and paranoia. They can also cause existing mental conditions to burgeon and become unmanageable.
Although it may seem as though consumption of an addictive substance once or twice might not lead to addiction, the sad fact is that it doesn’t matter how often you consume these drugs. It may be your first time or it may be your fiftieth try, but you don’t know you’re addicted until you realize that the craving for the drug affects your ability to function socially. All of the aforementioned drugs have their own characteristic disorders and some of them, as in the case of brain damage due to alcohol consumption, are irreversible. In order to ensure that you don’t fall victim to these addictive substances, staying away from them is the only sure way. Consumption in moderation can also be considered, although it carries a much higher risk of addiction. At the end of the day, depending on how susceptible you are to the addictiveness of a certain drug will determine whether you develop an addiction for it and to what depth that addiction will occur.