The Sad truth about Chronic Addiction
It's probably very hard for most people to grasp how anyone could let themselves become dependent on alcohol or drugs if they have never experienced drug addiction personally or through someone they know.
Many people who have never experienced addiction first hand don't understand how someone could let this happen to them self. It's hard for some people to feel sympathy for someone who chooses to abuse prescription drugs, alcohol or substances that are illegal because they knowingly chose to do so.
I agree that using alcohol or drugs is a personal choice but I really don't believe anyone sets out to become chronically addicted to any substance. Poor choices, lack of education associated with substance abuse and dependency, chronic legitimate pain, depression, mental disorders, bullying or child abuse, low self-esteem and environmental influences are some of the reasons behind addiction.
Addiction is described as a brain disease because drugs change the way your brain functions and works. It's agreed that many people start out experimenting with substances or alcohol just to get high, buzzed or to escape reality. Fitting in with friends is a big part of growing up and unfortunately today partying and substance use is a part of socializing. Many young people have no clue that chronic addiction may be in their future. What may have started out a couple of years ago for some people as recreational fun getting high has now turned into a chronic debilitating addiction, that's just how fast it can happen.
When an individual develops a chronic addiction to an illegal drug or a legitimate prescribed medication the dependency takes place over time and use. Some drugs have more addiction potential than others but illegal street drugs like methamphetamines or crack cocaine with continued use can cause dependency rather quickly. Prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin are extremely addictive as well and when misused or abused dependency takes place.
Once an individual develops a dependency to a drug they are no longer abusing the substance for an intense seeking 'rush', they're using it to feel better. When an individual starts out experimenting with drugs the rush that's experienced is due to chemical changes in the brain. Large surges of dopamine are flooded throughout the brain which creates an intense rush or high.
All drugs are different, some create long intense surges of euphoria and others are short intense surges. The intense surge then begins to decrease in intensity and many times the user will repeat the abuse again. Over time larger doses are needed as tolerance takes place and dependency begins to develop.
After a while your brain stops producing the once natural dopamine levels needed and begins to depend on the substance used to create it. When the 'rush' begins to wear off the levels of dopamine drop and the user begins to 'crash'. If use isn't repeated chronically addicted individuals become emotionally, psychologically, and physically ill. For this reason the individual becomes compulsive searching for more of the drug in order to feel somewhat normal again. This vicious cycle continues to repeat itself if the individual doesn't receive professional help and treatment for their addiction.
Some chronic drug users will abuse anything they can get their hands on by this time just to feel better. Not only have they lost their health and sanity but by this time many have lost their jobs, families, their spirit and will to live. Some people have the misconception that chronic addiction happens to lazy, unmotivated, lower class people but that can't be further from the truth. Chronic addiction affects people in every walk of life. Many people have formed chronic addictions to painkillers legitimately prescribed for the treatment of severe chronic pain.
Depression disorders, mental illness and other mental disorders especially when gone undiagnosed are all reasons people have used drugs, alcohol and medications attempting to find a way to feel better. Unfortunately when tolerance and addiction takes hold professional help is needed to regain control.
Some of the people suffering from chronic addiction are doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, teachers, mom, dads and young people who either made a poor choice or legitimately became dependent on drugs. These people had everything to live for but now are just trying to exist. This vicious cycle of abuse will continue unless treatment is received, but much too often this isn't the case.
Many chronically addicted individuals have overdosed and some have lost their life. You never know for sure that it couldn't happen to you or someone you love and care about some day. The legitimate use of prescription drugs could lead to a chronic addiction someday without knowledge and professional help.
Chronic addiction to any substance can be successfully treated if the individual seeks help. Sometimes it takes an intervention by family and friends who love and care about the addict in order for them to get the help they need. Interventions usually aren't successful for long term recovery unless they're done professionally by an experienced Interventionist.
This is a very delicate issue and most of the time the user becomes defensive with the ones they love, this is normal. They may still become defensive with a professional but they are much more willing to listen without feeling blame or guilt. After all deep inside they know they're in trouble, they're hurting and they know they need help but they're afraid. A professional interventionist understands that and knows how to handle the situation without causing shame or embarrassment.
Individuals suffering from chronic addiction many times have health problems that need medical attention also. An interventionist makes sure your loved one gets the proper care needed during this crucial time. If you know someone that's suffering from a chronic addiction to alcohol or drugs don't be afraid to make that call. 1-800-559-9503 anytime day or night, you'll be glad you did!