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Drug abuse is something which can be very easily misunderstood. Once someone's drug abuse turns into a full blown addiction, even the most strong-willed individuals can't stop it no matter how badly they want to. For someone on the outside looking in who doesn't understand how drugs can affect a person's will, it can be quite perplexing to witness how quickly a drug addicted individual will give up things of true worth in their life and choose drugs instead. It can be equally disheartening to witness drug addicted individuals continuing to abuse drugs despite the obvious negative consequences their drug abuse causes in their lives, and how these consequences affect many more people in the person's life in one way or another. The truth is, once someone is addicted to drugs this isn't something that willpower is able to control, and the only thing that will help is effective drug abuse treatment. And with millions of people struggling with addiction, the need for effective drug abuse treatment has never been greater.
To understand the reason why quality drug abuse treatment is key to helping resolve any type of drug abuse problem, you first have to understand the mechanics of addiction. Drugs, whether it is an illicit drug or prescription drug, change the way your brain works and in turn the way you feel and respond to things in your environment. In essence, drugs induce chemical changes and depending on which drug is taken, these changes and ultimately the effects of the drug on someone can vary based on which brain chemical is affected. For instance, someone might take a stimulant drug such as cocaine or methamphetamine and have a rush of energy and euphoria, while someone taking heroin or a prescription pain killer non-medically will have much more of a relaxed feeling because as opposed to stimulating the Central Nervous System opiates and opioid pain relievers suppress it.
In any case, drugs act in the reward centers of the brain and Central Nervous System, and no matter how else the individual is affected by a drug the action of taking it induces pleasure and reward. These feelings of pleasure and reward and the other effects caused by drugs are either caused by the drug blocking certain activities because of the particular brain chemicals being affected or by flooding the brain and central nervous system with certain brain chemicals which produce reward, pleasure, euphoria, etc. Either way, these feelings of reward and pleasure and obviously the high caused by drug abuse could never be replicated without drugs, because the chemical response is artificially induced at levels that are only possible through drug use.
So on the flip side, when someone has induced these highly euphoric experiences through drug use they will reversely experience a significant low when the effects of the drug or drugs subside. This is because of the fact that in many cases the same areas of the brain and CNS that were stimulated or suppressed through drug use experience a depletion of the same brain chemicals that drugs affected, to even lower levels than were present prior to drug use. This causes a person to be even more compelled to use more drugs, to experience the same feelings of reward and pleasure when they took drugs, as opposed to the low they experience when the effects fade. This low is actually called drug withdrawal, and the effects of withdrawal can also vary depending on what drug is being abused. So the person's drug abuse problem quickly turns into a constant cycle of efforts to avoid the effects of withdrawal, not necessarily just to get high. In most cases symptoms of withdrawal can be both physically and emotionally debilitating and many psychological effects are also experienced which prompt an individual to abuse drugs despite the consequences they know there are setting themselves up for.
So why is it that certain people may just be able to dabble with drugs recreationally and never pick up another drug again in their life, while others find themselves in the above mentioned cycle of addiction that they have no control over? Many years of studies and experience in the field of drug abuse treatment have shown us that there are many risk factors involved, and some individuals are more prone to addiction than others. There are different schools of thought on the subject, but there are certain things which are universally accepted. Traditional drug abuse treatment models suggest that addiction is a disease that individuals are predisposed to as a result of genetics and family history. Depending on how you approach drug abuse treatment in any given program, this may or may not hold true. For example, as a client in a drug abuse treatment program which treats addiction as a disease you are not being offered a permanent solution but efforts are made while in treatment to help you be able to better cope with your disease so that the chances of relapse decrease.
There are alternative drug abuse treatment options however which approach addiction more proactively, and instead of treating it as a disease it is treated as a choice and one which the individual can regain control over. Instead of being a genetic predisposition, a different approach is taken. While family history can have certain validity, this risk factor doesn't necessarily have to be a life sentence. It is very likely however that there are factors and people in the individual's life which predispose them to drug abuse. This points to the fact, and more current studies regarding the subject are now concluding, that addiction is often prompted by purely environmental factors which once identified and resolved can actually help give a person hope that their problems with drug abuse and addiction can be completely resolved without further maintenance, which is not going to be the case with disease model programs.
There are other factors as well that have to be taken into consideration, and these concern pre-existing mental health issues which may have or have not been diagnosed in someone who is experiencing a co-occurring drug abuse problem. When someone has a mental health issue which hasn't been properly diagnosed, using drugs as a means to cope becomes an unfortunate outlet for relief of anxiety, stress, and other symptoms of mental health issues that are not being properly addressed and treated. Even when someone has been properly diagnosed, drugs are often the only solution offered, instead of trying to resolve what is prompting the stress, anxiety, and other problems for which the drug is meant to treat. Through continued use of prescription drugs even when legitimately prescribed however, individuals can become tolerant to prescribed doses and begin to take more in an effort to experience the desired effects. So this too can become a problem of drug abuse, even when someone has a legitimate prescription, and one which can very easily spin out of control like any other drug problem.
Drugs whether illicit or prescription fulfill a need and purpose at that moment. Self medicating with illicit or prescription drugs is often done in an effort to make you feel a certain way that you don't think you can feel without the drug, whether you are using a drug to feel more calm, less stressed in life, less anxious in social situations, more outgoing because you're shy, more energetic or to just cope your way through life in general when you feel you can't. The problem with using drugs for this purpose, even when you have a diagnosed mental health issue, is that drugs are not providing any real resolution they are only a temporary escape. In many cases, alternative drug-free methods of coping are available so that individuals don't have to self-medicate with any type of drugs, so that they can get out of the continuous unhealthy cycle that they are caught up in even when prescribed drugs legitimately.
So no matter how you look at it, whether you agree with the fact that addiction is a disease or prefer the alternative schools of thought on the subject, being addicted to drugs doesn't have to be a burden any longer. Instead of being hopeless, there are things that individuals can do to take their lives back and reverse the effects that addiction has caused in their lives physically, socially, and psychologically through effective drug abuse treatment. But when is the right time to treat someone? Many people believe that someone has to hit rock bottom, in other words the lowest of lowest points in their lives, before they are open to the idea that they need treatment. This of course could be the case if someone's addiction is allowed to persist without intervention, however the longer someone abuses drugs the more difficult it is to treat in many cases. The sooner someone receives drug abuse treatment the better, because there are so many consequences which can be avoided and when caught in the earlier stages the individual has a much better chance at being able to overcome it permanently.
While you can't force someone to want to get help, drug abuse treatment doesn't necessarily have to be voluntary in order for someone to reap the benefits of it. In many instances, individuals can be pressured successfully enough to make it to drug abuse treatment, either through legal measures or other avenues such as their employer or family who can enforce repercussions if they don't get help. The important thing is to get them there, and individuals who had previously resisted efforts to help them get to drug abuse treatment begin to experience the benefits of their newfound sobriety and have more clarity in regards to their addiction. Even though they may not have originally arrived in drug abuse treatment on their own accord, they experience the same outcomes as those who willingly agree to get help. One of the things which can prevent someone caught up in drug abuse from receiving quality drug abuse treatment is denial, and denial is something that even loved ones can find themselves caught up in because addressing a drug abuse problem can be overwhelming for everyone involved. But this reasonableness can only go on for so long, before it is clearly evident that a drug abuse problem exists and something effective must be done about it to preserve any quality of life the addicted individual could have hope for.
When the signs are clear, it is very often the burden and responsibility for loved ones and concerned friends to intervene and make sure the individual get help before it is too late. The signs are often very clear, and most addicted individuals will neglect important responsibilities, neglect their health, experience a deterioration in appearance & mood, have trouble concerning their relationships and family, experience financial problems because a drug habit can be very expensive, have legal problems, and display obvious signs of being under the influence of whatever drug it is that they are dependent on; the effects of which can of course vary. So instead of remaining in denial and even being a knowing or unknowing enabler of the person's drug habit, and intervention may just save the person's life when it is successful and the individual gets helps in a quality drug abuse treatment facility.
If you are concerned about someone and you know or suspect there is a drug abuse problem, the time to act is now and it is important to contact a treatment counselor at a drug abuse treatment facility who can tell you what the next step is and the best way to approach the addicted person and get them into treatment. If this requires an intervention, there are resources available including trained interventionists who can help with the process or at least guide loved ones step by step. The sooner someone gets help the sooner they can end the destructive lifestyle that their drug abuse caused and start a new life that is worth living.