Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

Posted on :  August 7th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Of all the health phenomena in the world, drug addiction is perhaps one of the most widely misunderstood.

Many view those suffering with drug addiction as lacking in willpower, irresponsible or actively self-destructive, and as a result, maintain a view that addicts are wholly responsible for their own actions and deserve little sympathy for an entirely self-imposed predicament.

While this viewpoint is obviously unhelpful when it comes to encouraging recovery, it is also an utterly mistaken belief, as drug addiction is entirely self-perpetuating. This means that some people may be more vulnerable to its lure than others, and once hooked, the addiction itself generates further dependencies. As a result, in many ways, the addiction takes control of the addict, and not the other way around.

What is drug addiction?

Drug addiction is best thought of as a disease.

It affects the brain and prompts uncontrollable and compulsive behaviors that encourage the subject to seek out substances irrespective of the potential negative consequences.

Because it is considered a disease of the brain, its treatment follows accordingly, and focuses on readdressing and transforming the direction of control between the addict and their addiction. This takes time, and impeccable commitment on the part of the addict, but with help, sympathy and patience, it is very possible to resolve.

How does drug abuse change your brain?

We’ve already learnt that drug addiction is a disease of the brain, but what exactly goes on?

Drug abuse changes the brain in two separate, but interconnected ways. Firstly, it imitates the brain’s natural chemicals, and interferes with the brain’s reward system by triggering rewarding sensations of pleasure in exchange for the drug use itself. Secondly, this reward system interference leads to overstimulation, which results in the need for increasing quantities of the drug in order to trigger a response that, earlier in the cycle, could have been triggered with less.

Are some people predisposed to suffer from drug addiction?

While the causes of addiction can vary largely from one person to another, and indeed, the likelihood of predisposition is not widely agreed on, there are around two discrete factors that can influence an individual’s tendency to addiction. They are as follows:

  • Biological: A person’s inherent genes can play a substantial part in determining their likelihood of future drug addiction. You may have heard people say “I have an addictive personality.” Well, some people do.
  • Environmental: Factors including upbringing, socioeconomic standing, peer influences and financial predicament can all contribute to the likelihood of drug abuse.

If you’d like to learn more about understanding drug abuse and addiction, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, you can make the first step by contacting Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey.

Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.

Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. (TRC) is an Ontario addiction treatment centre with the philosophy to help individuals take control of their addiction and help them rebuild their lives and careers.

Don’t hesitate to call us! We’ll be happy to help you.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.