Many believe that drug addiction is a choice. Many do not understand why? Even though, despite the harmful effects and consequences, not only to the individual themselves but to those around them, that the addict continues to use and abuse the drugs (any substance, other than water or food) of their choice, no matter what.
As stated by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), drug dependence is a compulsive need to use drugs in order to function normally. Therefore when someone abuses drugs, this leads to and results in changes to the structure and function of the brain. Drug addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease, that causes the compulsive drug seeking behaviour and use.
Characteristics of the state of periodic or chronic intoxication produced by the repeated consumption of a drug include:-
(i) an overpowering desire or need (compulsion) to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means;
(ii) a tendency to increase the dose;
(iii) a psychological and generally a physical dependence on the effects of the drug; and
(iv) detrimental effects on the individual and on society.
Drugs can be illegal (e.g. methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine) or legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine, tobacco), synthetic (e.g. bath salts) or natural (e.g. mushrooms).
|Type||Effects on the Body||Example|
|Depressant||Brain activity slows down||Valium, alcohol, solvents|
|Painkiller||Blocks nerve impulses||Aspirin, Heroin, OxyContin|
|Hallucinogen||Alters what we hear and see||Cannabis, LSD|
|Stimulant||Increases brain activity||Ecstasy, Caffeine, Nicotine, Cocaine, Methamphetamine|
|Performance enhancer||Improves muscle development||Anabolic steroids|
Some reasons why people take drugs are:- to relax, to forget about their problems, to gain confidence, to decrease inhibitions, to socialize, to have fun, to celebrate or commiserate, to relieve boredom, to feel less stressed, out of curiosity, peer pressure, to remove personal responsibility from decisions, as a form of escapism, and self-medicating.
Do you or someone you know need help?
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please contact me on 8448 1106.