Addiction To Recovery
Drug Addiction Alcohol Abuse Recovery
Addiction To Recovery
…is committed to the rapid response of seeking knowledge to those who are addicted to drugs and abuse of alcohol.
Understanding Drug Addiction
Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. People who are addicted feel an overwhelming, uncontrollable need for drugs or alcohol, even in the face of negative consequences. This self-destructive behavior can be hard to understand. Why continue doing something that’s hurting you? Why is it so hard to stop?
The answer lies in the brain. Repeated drug use alters the brain—causing long-lasting changes to the way it looks and functions. These brain changes interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behavior, and feel normal without drugs. These changes are also responsible, in large part, for the drug cravings and compulsion to use that make addiction so powerful.
How Addiction Develops
The path to drug addiction starts with experimentation. You or your loved one may have tried drugs out of curiosity, because friends were doing it, or in an effort to erase another problem. At first, the substance seems to solve the problem or make life better, so you use the drug more and more.
But as the addiction progresses, getting and using the drug becomes more and more important and your ability to stop using is compromised. What begins as a voluntary choice turns into a physical and psychological need. The good news is that drug addiction is treatable. With treatment and support, you can counteract the disruptive effects of addiction and regain control of your life.
The Effects of Drug Use and Drug Addiction
While each drug of abuse produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common. They hijack the brain’s normal “reward” pathways and alter the areas of the brain responsible for self-control, judgment, emotional regulation, motivation, memory, and learning.
Whether you’re addicted to nicotine, alcohol, heroin, Xanax, speed, or Vicodin, the effect on the brain is the same: an uncontrollable craving to use that is more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness.
Using Drugs to Escape Realities of Life
Many people use drugs in order to escape physical and emotional discomfort. Maybe you started drinking to numb feelings of depression, smoking pot to deal with stress at home or school, relying on cocaine to boost your energy and confidence, using sleeping pills to cope with panic attacks, or taking prescription painkillers to relieve chronic back pain.
But while drugs might make you feel better in the short-term, attempts to self-medicate ultimately backfire. Instead of treating the underlying problem, drug use simply masks the symptoms. Take the drug away and the problem is still there, whether it be low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, or an unhappy family life. Furthermore, prolonged drug use eventually brings its own host of problems, including major disruptions to normal, daily functioning. Unfortunately, the psychological, physical, and social consequences of drug abuse and addiction become worse than the original problem you were trying to cope with or avoid.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse Addiction
Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of addiction are the same no matter the substance. The more drugs begin to affect and control your life, the more likely it is that you’ve crossed the line from drug use to abuse and drug addiction. Unfortunately, when you’re in the middle of it, you may be in denial about the magnitude of the problem or the negative impact it’s had on your life. See if you recognize yourself in the following signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. If so, consider talking to someone about your drug use. You’re on a dangerous road, and the sooner you get help, the better.