Drug Addiction; This is the addiction that most people think of when they think of addiction. Drugs, which are a catchall term for various psychoactive, narcotic, or stimulating substances, are often illegal or frowned upon due to their highly addictive nature.

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                Depending on the part of the world, the most common drug addictions can vary. One consistent one throughout the developed world is an addiction to pharmaceutical narcotics, or painkillers as they are more commonly called. This often happens with patients prescribed these medications who become irreparably addicted to them. Please do know, right here and now, that this can be prevented when used according to instructions, and under the guidance of a physician. So, if you’re in excruciating pain and a doctor recommends painkillers to you, don’t let this way you from seeking the help they offer; use them the way they’re supposed to be used!

                Illicit street drugs vary widely depending on subculture and what part of the world you’re looking at. In North America, these include methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, and possibly the most insidious of all, crack cocaine. However, other things can also be considered drug addictions, such as addictions to nicotine and alcohol, as they are all well within that same umbrella of psychoactive substances.

                In the case of cannabis, there’s a lot of debate. Many will state that physical addiction to marijuana is impossible, while psychological dependence is quite possible.

                The problem with drug addictions is that they are very much both mental and physical. Mental dependency can be addressed by therapy, but physical dependency can be another challenge. In the case of harder street drugs and pharmaceutical painkillers, severe withdrawal can often occur.

How Drug Addiction Works

How Drug Addiction Works

                Drug addiction is often brought on by something traumatic, with the exception of patients becoming addicted to prescription drugs. This trauma can be the result of environmental factors, such as an excessively bad or abusive childhood, poverty, or one’s life simply being turned inside out at some point. In a desperate search for escape, many will try various drugs and become dependent on them for an artificial escape moving forward.

                Still, others will become addicted due to peer pressure forcing them into trying them in the first place. Some drugs can become addictive within the first one to three times they are used, depending on the individual.

                These drugs have psychoactive effects that vary depending on the particular compound, but they also stimulate the pleasure center of the brain either directly or indirectly. This will result in a psychological dependency on these drugs, which can be very hard to overcome.

                What’s worse, in most cases, physical dependency isn’t far behind mental. The human body adapts to the cause introduction of these stimuli, and these changes to the body are very painful, or at the very least distressing, when the substance there adapted to isn’t present. This is what’s known as withdrawal. This can have an overbearing effect on the psyche, especially if other disorders are present.

                At some point, just as our reaction to feeling smothered is to gasp for air, or reaction to thirst is to gulp down water, addicts will develop a reflex to use their drug of choice when ever they are feeling particularly upset, displeased or in pain. At this point, when it’s become absolute reflex, the addiction is in full swing, and many of these can be deadly.

Dangers of Drug Addiction

Dangers of Drug Addiction

                Drugs can be deadly. Of course, the biggest danger is overdose. When consumed in too high of a dose, certain drugs can kill someone almost instantly. Many illicit street drugs are very easy to overdose on, especially the likes of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. Similarly, painkillers are very easy to overdose on and are often used for suicide as a result.

                Even in cases where users have enough self-control, not to overdose, long-term use of many of these drugs can have deleterious effects on the body. They can damage just about every system in the body, depending on the drug of choice. They also tend to addle the mind, worsening existing neuroses and introducing new ones.

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                Drugs are also dangerous when procured illicitly. Many drugs may be impure, absolutely not what they are claimed to be, or be laced with something far nastier than the buyer expects. Many people have died due to drugs being cut with Drano or other toxic chemicals. Of course, dealing with the manufacturers and dealers of street drugs is its own form of danger, as these are criminals who can and will kill if they feel the need.

                On top of the physical danger, drug addiction can ruin the lives of people and those they love. An addict will often not be the same person they were before they began using. Paranoid, aggressive, or even abusive behavior can become common, and addicts to various drugs. Adopting criminal behaviors such as theft or unethical behavior such as lying and deceit is also very common with addicts.

                This can destroy relationships with one’s spouse, family, friends, colleagues and utterly end someone’s career. Even though people still love these individuals, their behavior and unwillingness to change can often result in people simply having to walk away at some point. This is painful for these people; they want to help, they want to save the individual they are losing, but at some point, they will have to give up if an addict doesn’t want to change.

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                If suspect, even slightly, that you or someone you love is suffering from substance addiction, the answer is now is the time to get help. Even if the seeming addiction is mild and possibly not entirely established yet, even the slightest hint that a dependency is forming is a sign that intervention is necessary.

                Now, by intervention, we don’t necessarily mean the stereotypical intervention where loved ones and friends confront an addict. Depending on the individual, this may be a good idea, but that’s not the point. It’s time to seek help from a physician as well as a psychotherapist. A physician will determine how strong the physical dependency has become and possibly use medication to prevent potentially severe withdrawal and other physical difficulties while reaching sobriety.

                However, a psychotherapist is necessary to deal with the crux of the addiction, which is psychological. In most cases, this is through cognitive behavioral therapy. As it’s commonly known, CBT is all about open discourse in a dialogue between a patient and a psychotherapist. This is a casual, open, and frank discussion in a safe place.

                With a therapist’s guidance, a patient will be able to discover why they are addicted to a drug in the first place. What pushes them into this, and why have they continued to let the addiction control them beyond the basic physical urge they’ve developed? Why haven’t they wanted help in the past? Why do they feel like this is helping them? With these problems isolated, now comes the real challenge.

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                A patient may not be able to do something about the problem that’s driving them into this addiction in the first place. There are problems in life that I can’t do anything about them. Constructive and healthy coping mechanisms have to be developed for issues like these. For many, these may be strengthening their existing faith if they’re religious or adopting something such as meditation if they prefer a secular option.

                Channeling energies into creative activities such as arts, music, or physical activities such as sports, exercise, or simply going out and enjoying nature can also be quite helpful. Strengthening relationships and bonds with loved ones and friends can also be great medicine for those going through addiction recovery; simply knowing that the people who love you have your back can be a powerful, powerful thing.

                Ultimately, you have to want to defeat this addiction. You must see this drug is your enemy, not your friend. It’s the devil on your shoulder, certainly not the angel. But, don’t be ashamed to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to suggest that others get the help they need. Humans are perfect, and drug addiction could happen to anybody; it just takes a couple of bad decisions on a terrible day for the small to get rolling. The only shame isn’t doing anything about it. Help is out there, don’t be afraid, don’t be alone. Edmonton Counselling Services, located at 2923 66 Street NW, Edmonton, T6K 4C1, offer Addition therapy.