Drug addiction in the U.S. is a very touchy subject for many people and there are always a lot of differing opinions floating around. I believe that those who are of the opinion that addiction is caused by a lack of willpower have a very limited understanding and as such are unable to speak objectively about it. I want to use this article as a platform for briefly helping further the education of these people on the subject.
Let’s start by discussing what addiction actually is. There are 2 types of addiction: physical and psychological. A physical addiction means that there will be adverse affects on the body upon stopping use of the drug such as nausea, stomach cramps, insomnia and sweating. A psychological one, however, has little to no physical affects on the body upon ceasing its use and it is literally a case of the mind controlling the thoughts and telling the person that they will not be able to quit the drug. This does not mean that quitting a psychological drug is any easier than a physical one though.
Addiction is a disease of the brain. It causes a compulsion to find and use drugs with little to no regard for personal safety, the affects on the body and the damage it can cause to personal relationships. Although first use of any drug, be it alcohol, cigarettes or illegal substances, is usually voluntary, repeated use quickly causes changes in the brain affecting the self control of the user, their ability to make decisions and their compulsion to take/use more.
There are many, many reasons why a person would choose to take drugs but it often goes hand in hand with many mental health problems. Certain personality disorders cause the impulse to be reckless and dangerous to oneself by using drugs and alcohol. Lots of sufferers of depression will use them to try and self medicate and block out any feelings of despair. In reality, using these drugs only serves to make problems worse but it is difficult to see clearly when under the influence of these drugs.
It sounds cheesy but the first step to getting over your addiction really does need to be admitting that you have a problem. Many users do have moments of clarity where they realize what they are doing is wrong but admitting it to anyone other than yourself is extremely difficult and can take a long time to come about. Once you have admitted the problem you can then work on getting the help that is needed. Self help groups are particularly popular and have proven to be very beneficial as addiction is a very lonely disease and finding others who are dealing with the same issues can only be a positive thing. In severe cases where self help groups are unable to reach out, a person may need to be admitted to a rehabilitation center where they can be isolated from their supply of drugs and monitored in a safe environment until they are ready to face the world again.
If your or someone you know suffers from addiction and needs more information on drug or alcohol rehabilitation please call (866) 434-2630 or click here for more information