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Information Regarding Drug Addiction[]

Drug addiction is a serious problem plaguing a large number of people in our society today. It is a progressive and serious medical condition that affects not only the patient but the people around him as well. When people hear of someone being a drug addict, negative connotations usually spring to mind. There are persons who think that stopping drug addiction is just a matter of exercising free will, that if a drug addict wants to stop, he can do it on his own. This, however, is a misconception. Drug addiction is a disorder, and being classified as such means that there are also biological factors aside from social factors.

Brain Changes In Drug Addicts[]

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Having a drug-addicted parent puts a kid at high risk for drug addiction.

Percent of Students Reporting Drug Use, 2001–2005
Drug Type 2001 2003 2005
Lifetime marijuana 42.4% 40.2% 38.4%
Current marijuana 23.9 22.4 20.2
Lifetime cocaine 9.4 8.7 7.6
Current cocaine 4.2 4.1 3.4
Lifetime inhalant 14.7 12.1 12.4
Current inhalant 4.7 3.9 n/a
Lifetime heroin 3.1 3.3 2.4

The brain of a drug addict differs from that of a non-addict because of the changes done by the intake of drugs. These changes are apparent in the brain's receptor availability, metabolic activity, responsiveness to environmental cues, and gene expression. Drugs also cause surges in a brain's pleasure messengers. Not only that; it also affects some neurobiological mechanisms that are affiliated with memory and learning. This is probably why there are drugs that are able to make a person continue to use it despite instances wherein the user has already developed a tolerance to the drug and no longer feels euphoria upon taking it.

Due to all the researches that have been done to decipher drug addiction and its effects on someone's brain, one can see why drug addiction is deduced as a disorder. It happens to be a condition that can ruin an individual's life. Due to the intake of drugs, the individual's brain is altered to accept large amounts of dopamine neurotransmitters, but as soon as these large amounts dwindle, the individual suffers from symptoms of withdrawal. Drug rehabilitation centers use techniques such as classical conditioning that enables drug users to link drugs with adverse attributes.

The Biomedical Basis[]

Drug abuse is further powered by the emotional and motivational aspects of our nature. In trying to understand what makes a drug user an addict, one must first know the nature of the person. Tracing back family history and childhood experiences may be able to give light on why a person chose to do drugs in the first place. There have also been studies that show that broken family ties or having a bad relationship with parents increases one's chances of being lured into taking drugs.

Antoher important consideration is the mutual relationship of the endocrine system and the central nervous system because hormones and neurotransmitters direct all things emotional and motivational in the human unconscious and conscious experience.

Effects Of Drug Addiction[]

Drug users may find themselves having difficulties dealing with their daily lives. Their job performance or academics will most likely suffer, health-related problems are likely to occur, and committing offenses against the justice system will always remains a possibility. In addition, consequences are bound to spring up for family members and friends, the community, and even the entire society.

Substance dependent individuals are also at high risk for incurring of psychological problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and other dysfunctions. When this happens, they will have a condition called dual diagnosis, a combination of having both substance abuse disorder and a mental health problem.

Drug Addiction Treatment[]

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Establishing close family ties can help in preventing an individual from turning to drugs.

Fortunately, though drug addiction is something that cannot be cured, it can be treated. It takes a lot of time, possibly longer than the time the person was an addict, but it can be done. There will always be a possibility of falling into relapse, but the individual will at least have the chance to gain back his sober life. Drug addiction treatment programs will have to start off with detoxification, in order to cleanse the body of traces of the drug and bring back the body's natural healthy state. Then, the patient will have to undergo therapy, counseling, and medication. This could go on for a few months, or for some, even years. During this time, it is especially important for the patient to have the support, comfort, and understanding of his family members and friends as these will be such a big help.

References:[]

http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/juveniles/index.html URL Accessed 29 June 2007 http://www.csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/students/drugs.htm URL Accessed 29 June 2007 http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web1/npietras.html URL Accessed 28 June 2007

See Also[]

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