The Science Of Addiction
Addiction is the condition that results when an individual uses a substance that can be pleasurable. However, using the drug becomes compulsive with continuous use and ultimately seriously interferes with that person’s life.
- It is considered a complex, progressive, chronic and treatable disease.
- The body and brain are adversely affected.
- The consistent inability to abstain from use.
- Like other chronic diseases, it involves cycles of relapse and remission.
- Without recovery, it leads to premature death.
People get addicted to various drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs.
Heroin can be smoked, snorted, or injected into the bloodstream. It rapidly induces a state of euphoria and relaxation. Heart rate and breathing slow down, and thinking becomes cloudy. Users go into a trance state that can last up to 6 hours. With regular use, the abuser develops tolerance.
Tolerance is a more significant amount of the drug to get the same intensity of feeling is required. Taking higher doses creates a physical dependency. The body gets used to the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms. They can be overwhelming and, in an attempt to overcome them, the addict uses more. With opiate use for pain relief, patients will develop tolerance and want more for the same effect.
- Some get addicted to the euphoria feeling and go to great lengths to get them, including doctor shopping.
Long-term effects of opiates include a weakened immune system, gastric problems, and reduced respiratory function. A high dose could cause a cardiac arrest and lead to death. Due to the tolerance, someone could take an increased amount trying to get the euphoria feeling.
Methamphetamine (meth) is an illegal stimulant people ingest by snorting, smoking, or injecting it into the bloodstream.
- It creates a false sense of happiness, a rush of confidence, energy, and hyperactivity.
- Meth is associated with severe health conditions such as heart and brain damage, psychotic behavior, and memory loss.
- The drug is highly addictive and creates dependence.
- There are 1.4 million Americans using meth.
Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is usually smoked to give the user a relaxed or euphoric effect. It is the most abused illegal drug in the United States. Pot is addictive and can cause adverse effects on one psychology and physic.
- Long-term use of cannabis can cause dependency.
- Cannabis can cause paranoia and anxiety, lead to depression, and reduce the brain’s ability to think clearly.
- Marijuana is a gateway drug. Meaning users are more likely to abuse other drugs.
NIH – Science of Addiction – .PDF