Drug Addiction

Introduction

Drug addiction is defined as a situation whereby a person uses illicit drugs compulsively notwithstanding its harmful effects on that person. There are many drugs that are addictive and they have become increasingly popular in recent times. Drugs that are addictive are rewarding as well as reinforcing. By rewarding, it means that the drug produces stimuli which gives the user a sense of either pleasure or satisfaction whereas reinforcing means that the stimuli increases the likelihood of repeated engagement in the stimuli-producing activity. Some of the drugs which people abuse commonly include cocaine (coke), opium, heroine, barbiturates, alcohol, cannabis (Indian hemp), amphetamine, tobacco, and benzodiazepines. Most countries have legislations which controls the production, importation, use and administration of drugs that are addictive. However, such drugs are supplied by drug dealers who most times are involved in organized crimes. Drug abuse is a very costly phenomenon. In the United States, drug abuse accounts for more than 600 billion U.S., dollars annually in terms of illness, loss of productivity, and crime.

Why Drug Addicts stay fixated on Drugs and the Evil of Drug Addiction

Most drug addicts experience withdrawal symptoms if they do not use the drug to which they are addicted to for some time. That means that physiological processes of the body which depend on the use of that drug will be affected leading to physical and mental stress. There may be hormonal imbalances as well. The factors that predispose a particular drug to induce dependency and consequently abuse vary from individual to individual and also on the pharmacokinetics of the drug, that is, the way it is administered, and the regular dosage as well as how long the user has been taking the drugs. The transcription factor ΔFosB is a factor responsible for the transcription of genes and it has been identified as the biological chemical involved in the process of becoming addictive either to a drug or behaviour. The addiction of an individual to a particular drug enables the producers of the illicit drugs to sell them at premium prices even though the cost of production is low, thereby pushing most drug addicts into crime in order to support their habit.

Is there any Cure for Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a disease which is rather complex but can be treated. Drug addiction can sometimes become chronic in some people so that effective treatment will require controlling the time between lapses as well as the intensity of a relapse. Some users may recover fully whereas others may need continual support in order to lead useful lives. Treatment of drug abusers is essentially all about helping the patient to manage his/her drug use. This means achieving a reduction in their use of the substance, improving their ability to function, and curtailing the medical and social complications that arise from substance abuse. The ultimate aim is to help them achieve abstinence. Treatment for drug abuse varies depending on the degree of abuse, the amounts of substances involved, the duration of the addiction and the social needs of the individual. A recovery program has to be designed for any particular individual bearing in mind a host of personal factors concerning that person. Such factors include the individual’s personality, his religious or spiritual beliefs and how affordable or available that program is locally. Attitudes to drug addiction and their treatment vary from country to country. In some countries like the U.S., the goal is total abstinence while in some parts of Europe the aim is to reduce substance abuse to a point where it no longer disturbs the individual’s daily routine.

Treatment programs may be done based on residential or non-residential pattern. Behavioural programming is another technique used in the treatment of drug addiction. This is applied psychology used to recondition the behaviour of drug addicts such that they find it easier to overcome their substance abuse. Some people advocate alternative therapy such as acupuncture, but there is a little or no evidence as to its safety or efficacy in the treatment of drug abuse.

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