How Bad is Drug Addiction?

Addiction and denial go hand in hand. People who abuse drugs often convince themselves that they’re completely in control. They believe that they can stop using or limit their drug use whenever they want to. Sadly, the more in-control an addict feels; the less control they actually have. That’s because addiction is always a progressive issue. The more that a person uses a drug; the more dependent upon this substance they become. As tolerance develops, more of a drug is often needed just for users to feel normal. If any of this sounds familiar, now is the right time to seek help. There is no such thing as a small addiction. All drug addictions are bad, and all addictions grow increasingly more severe the longer that people wait to seek treatment. Using drugs or alcohol to alter your mood or state of mind has a progressive impact on the chemistry of your brain. In some instances, prolonged substance abuse even alters the brain’s size.

Over time, these changes make it difficult to stop using drugs, and eventually; impossible to stop without getting help. Whenever addicts abstain, their bodies send out severe distress signals. These are known as withdrawal symptoms. They mean that the brain and body no longer know how to function without drugs. Fortunately, professional addiction treatment programs are designed to make quitting both possible and safe. With the right help, people can abstain without sustaining lasting physical harm, and without relapsing.

Why Some People Respond Differently to Drug Use Than Others

Addiction is classified as a chronic disease. There isn’t currently a known cure for addiction, but there are a number of effective strategies for safely managing it. It may be difficult to recognize yourself as being addicted to a drug if you know people who are able to use the same substance in a purely recreational capacity, and who can suddenly quit using it without suffering any physical or psychological distress. Although addiction has many underlying causes, how the brain reacts to stimulating substances is an important factor. Drugs like cocaine, heroine, methamphetamine, and even prescription opioids and benzodiazepines all stimulate the brain’s reward center. Whenever drugs or alcohol are used, the brain releases a number of powerful chemicals known as neurotransmitters. These chemicals are designed to elevate a person’s mood so that they feel relaxed, happy, confident, and often downright euphoric.

Changes in Brain Chemistry and the Journey to Full-Blown Addiction

When most people use drugs, they get a moderate release of neurotransmitters. Thus, getting high only slightly elevates their mood. However, when people who are predisposed to addiction use drugs, their brains release a veritable flood of “feel good” chemicals. They feel far better than others around them, and the rewards of using drugs appear to far outweigh the risks. More importantly, when these individuals come down from their highs, the depression and sense of emptiness that awaits them is often overwhelming. A person who’s chemically predisposed to addiction is far more likely to return to substance use than is someone who only gets a modest release of neurotransmitters. For this individual, using drugs appears to have very high rewards, and not using them or coming down from them is exceedingly painful.

Unfortunately, when the brain floods the body with massive amounts of neurotransmitters, these “feel good” chemicals and the cells that produce them get worn out. When drugs are no longer used, an addict’s brain goes haywire. Some neurotransmitters are overproduced, and some are no longer produced at all. The journey to full-blown addiction is defined by these changes in brain chemistry. Although you might not feel as though your addiction is out of control, loss of control will eventually become undeniable. As your brain struggles to produce the neurotransmitters it needs for basic functioning, it will become increasingly reliant upon drugs to stimulate or trigger these chemicals. Soon, using drugs won’t make you feel better at all. Instead, you’ll be using them just to feel normal. This is how developing addictions cause people to start using more drugs than they initially needed. It sets the stage for overdose, and takes away the freedom of choice.

Getting Help Now Will Limit Your Losses

Although your addiction might not seem like a powerful and incredibly destructive force right now, it’s guaranteed to become that way. Once the brain and body become dependent upon a drug, acquiring that drug and using it becomes a person’s first and only priority. This is how addicts lose their jobs, their financial stability, their homes, and even their families. The sooner that addicts seek help; the more losses and hardship they can avoid. If you’re struggling with addiction and need help in finding a way out, we’re here to provide it. To find out more about your options in rehab and professional detox services, call 833-497-3808 now. Our counselors are always standing by.