Many people are confused about why there are others who become dependent on drugs. There are people who mistakenly generalize and judge drug addicts as people with no willpower or lack moral principles. Drug addicts are often seen as lowlifes who cannot control their urges. Oftentimes, addiction can lead to criminal activity. Possessing even the smallest amounts can lead to drug possession charges.
It has to be noted that anyone having a small quantity of a controlled substance will be eligible to be scrutinized by the law under drug possession charges. The harsh reality of drug addiction is more complex. It is a disease that needs more than just a strong will to cure the problem. Drugs, especially those under controlled substances, can change the brain in many ways that make quitting difficult even for those who have strong willpower. Researchers have made it possible to learn more about the effects of drugs on the brain. The advancement of the research in drug addiction has allowed the formulation of treatment plans that aid people to recover from drug addiction and be able to live a productive life.
Facts About Drug Addiction
Addiction is considered a chronic disease that is characterized by a difficulty to control urges and compulsive desire for a substance, despite harmful repercussions. Some of the consequences can lead to drug possession charges and drug felony charges which may lead to a long time in prison. In retrospect, the initial decision to try out or intake a substance is voluntary for many people. The repeated drug usage will lead to changes in the brain that will affect the person’s self-control and interfere in an individual’s resistance to intense urges. The changes in the brain can continue to evolve with many chemical imbalances occurring. This is the reason why drug addiction is referred to as a relapsing disease. People recovering from drug abuse are still at high risk of going back to their old years even after a long time of not taking the substance.
It is common for a person suffering from drug addiction to relapse. A patient’s relapse does not mean that the rehabilitation did not work. Just like how other chronic ailments work, the treatment for drug addiction is continuous and should be adjusted depending on the recovery of the patient. The treatment must be often evaluated to be able to modify it and make it fit with the patient’s response to the rehabilitation.
What occurs in the brain of a person taking drugs?
There are a lot of substances that would have an effect on the reward circuit of the brain. This will cause euphoria to the person. The chemical response to the brain causes dopamine to overflow. A normal reward circuit of a person will motivate the person to repeat actions and behaviors that are needed to thrive. This includes spending time with loved ones, eating, or doing enjoyable activities. The surge of dopamine of a reward circuit in the brain will cause a reinforcement action of an activity that has unhealthy behaviors such as taking drugs. This will lead people to repeat the behavior again which could lead to addiction. In some cases, people have to possess the substance all the time which can lead them into trouble and face drug possession charges.
As a person increases the intake of the drugs, the brain will adapt to the changing chemical activity in the brain. The brain will reduce the ability of certain cells within the reward circuit to respond to certain actions. The reduction of the cell's ability decreases the feeling of euphoria compared to what the person felt when he or she first took the drug. This effect is called tolerance.
When tolerance kicks in, the person might try to take in more dosage of the drug to get the same “high” that was felt during his or her first time. The brain’s adaptation and changes lead the individual into getting lesser pleasure from other things such as delicious food, social activities, vacations with loved ones, and many more.
The long-term dependency will cause certain changes in the brain’s other parts and chemical balance. It will have an effect on a person’s behavior, stress levels, memory, decision-making, learning, and judgment. Despite knowing the consequences, people who derive pleasure from drugs will continue to take harmful substances. Drug addiction is destructive as it will not only lead to criminal activity, taking high doses to combat the tolerance build-up can lead to a drug overdose that can be fatal and kill the patient.