People with addiction have problems in controlling their drug taking behavior. They yearn and seek out drugs, alcohol, or other substances at any cost— regardless of its consequences that comprises; damaging friendships, hurting family, or losing jobs. At this point, we must stop and ask ourselves why addiction makes people behave in such ruinous ways. And why is it so hard to quit?
Many things influence the development of an addiction. While we do not yet know how these different influences combine to develop an addiction, we do know there are two basic types. One type of influence is biological forces, such a person’s genetics. The second type is environmental influences. This includes people’s life experiences. Early life experiences, interpersonal relationships, and culture can heavily influence us.
The fact is, every drug user starts out as an occasional user, and that first use is a voluntary and controllable decision. But as time passes and drug use continues, a person turns from being a voluntary to an obsessive drug user. This change occurs because over time, use of addictive drugs changes the brain in destructive ways that can result in compulsive and even uncontrollable drug use.
When they first use a drug, people may perceive what seem to be positive effects; they also may believe that they can control their use. However, drugs can quickly take over a person’s life. Over time, if drug use continues, other pleasurable activities become less pleasurable, and taking the drug becomes necessary for the user just to feel “normal.” They may then compulsively seek and take drugs even though it causes tremendous problems for themselves and their loved ones. Some people may start to feel the need to take higher or more frequent doses, even in the early stages of their drug use. These are the telltale signs of an addiction.
Addiction is unlike many medical diseases where we spot certain germ or defect that caused the disease. By understanding the cause of the disease, we can develop treatments or even a cure. And similarly by understanding the causes of addiction, we can help someone recover from addiction by developing and testing these models. This leads to effective treatments
Even relatively moderate drug use poses a threat. Consider how a normal drug user can become intoxicated, get behind the wheel of a car, and quickly turn a enjoyable activity into a disaster that affects many lives.
It is important not to walk the deadly path of drugs; however if you stepped in try quickly move out. Help and guidance is available, and cure and recovery are achievable.
Prof. Ahmed A. El Missiry, MSc. DPP, MD, MRCPsych, MISAM