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Alcohol and Drug Addiction Affects Us All

Addiction is a biopsychosocial disease. That means the disease is biological, psychological and social. Alcohol and drug addiction are often described as a family illness.

This is due to the fact that they impact the addict’s family, friends, and anyone that comes into contact with the active addict.

Addiction is characterized by an overwhelming need to consume drugs or alcohol in order to “feel of normal” or “function” despite often very erratic behaviour and negative consequences.

It is the toxins created by certain substances, which produce feelings of well being or feeling “high” which lead to physical and psychological dependence.
The addict becomes convinced that he or she needs the drugs or alcohol to function. Neuroscience tells us that this is not far from the truth. When someone has become dependent on a mood-altering substance the chemistry of the brain does actually change, and the brain does in fact need that substance to function in a way that feels normal.

The aim of ‘drug rehab’ or ‘drug rehabilitation’ is to give men and women addicts some tools to enjoy life, to say no to drugs, and to live purposeful lives. Drug rehab is by no means a cure for addiction. However, quality treatment can stop the progression, and release the addict from it’s grip

Alcohol Abuse 

Healthcare professionals tend to differentiate between an ‘abuser’ and an ‘addict’ of a given substance. It is commonly understood that an ‘abuser’ still has some degree of control over their behaviour whilst the ‘addict’ does not.

Alcoholism 

Alcoholism combines all the behavioural symptoms of alcohol abuse with a physiological dependence. An alcoholic becomes physically dependent on alcohol. If someone needs alcohol to function or is physically compelled to drink then they could be described as being an alcoholic.

Other Drugs 

Marijuana 

It is the most widely used recreational drug. The UN (The United Nations) estimate that approximately 4% of adults worldwide used marijuana on an annual basis. This equates to approximately 180 million people. Marijuana is a mind and mood-altering drug; it interacts with the chemistry of the brain.

Cocaine/ Crack 

It is a “powerfully addictive stimulant” and a common drug of abuse. It takes its name from the coca plant which is native to South America and whose leaves contain the active substance.The basis of exposure therapy, which is a common strategy in the treatment of addiction, phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, is to cut the link between environmental cues and memories. In the case of addiction, the memories relate to drug use and the highs that it brings.

Heroin 

An estimated 23 percent of people who use heroin will become dependent on the substance. The brain has receptors that fit perfectly with this drug, and when users take a hit, changes are felt in the brain within minutes. When an addiction is in place, users need to develop skills that can help them to resist the urge to use heroin, despite the brain’s dependence on the drug. Intensive therapy, often provided in the context of inpatient rehab programs, can build those skills.

Crystal Meth 

A psychostimulant from the methamphetamine group that includes “speed” and MDMA, also called “Ecstasy” or “Molly.” These accelerate the release of the brain’s pleasure chemical dopamine.

LSD 

Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as “acid” or LSD, is a psychedelic hallucinogen that produces changes in perception, sense of time and space, and emotions. LSD is active at very small doses (around 20 micrograms). The drug is most commonly taken orally, in the form of tablets, droplets, or most commonly blotter paper that is absorbed on the tongue and swallowed.

Amphertamines 

Amphetamine is a central nervous stimulant. Its use results in an increase in certain types of brain activity, resulting in a feeling of higher energy, focus, confidence, and in a dose-dependent manner, can elicit a rewarding euphoria. Amphetamine abuse has become a major challenge facing the people of our nation. Prescription stimulants like Dyanavel and Dexedrine, along with illicit amphetamines like methamphetamine and ecstasy, are highly addictive and disruptive when used as recreational drug

Prescription Drugs 

When taken regularly, Pain Killers , Sedatives and Muscle Relaxants lead to physical dependence and tolerance, with increasingly larger doses needed to get the same anxiety relief as before. This happens quickly—usually within a couple of months, but sometimes in as little as a few weeks. If you abruptly stop taking your medication, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

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