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Drug Addiction

Individuals who struggle with drug addiction do not set out to destroy themselves, everyone and everything in their path; rather, these disastrous consequences are the effect of the vicious cycle of drug addiction. For many, drugs seem to be a means of avoiding emotional and/or physical pain by providing the user with a temporary and illusionary escape from or way to cope with life's realities. Example, an individual tries drugs or alcohol. The drugs APPEAR to solve his problem. He feels better. Because he now SEEMS better able to deal with life, the drugs become valuable to him. The person looks on drugs or alcohol as a cure for unwanted feelings. The painkilling effects of drugs or alcohol become a solution to their discomfort. Inadvertently the drug now becomes valuable because it helped them feel better. This apparent release is the main reason a person uses drugs a second and third time. It can be just a matter of time before an individual becomes addicted and loses the ability to control his drug use. Drug addiction, then, results from excessive or continued use of physiologically habit-forming drugs in an attempt to resolve the underlying symptoms of discomfort or unhappiness.

Essentially, an addictive drug is a pain killer. They may seem to avert emotional and physical pain by providing the user with a temporary and illusionary escape. But in fact, more problems--serious ones--are created by using and abusing drugs and alcohol.

Over time, a person's ability to choose not to take drugs can become compromised--soon enough the person rationalizes the need to use consistently and will do almost anything to get them. They are now caught in the hopeless cycle of using drugs to alleviate pain and creating more pain by using...They now display the physiological symptoms of drug addiction. They become difficult to communicate with, are withdrawn, and begin to exhibit other strange behaviors associated with drug addiction.

In addition to the mental stress created by their unethical behavior, the addict's body has also adapted to the presence of the drugs. They will experience an overwhelming obsession with getting and using drugs, and will do anything to avoid the pain of withdrawing from them. This is when the newly-created addict begins to experience drug cravings.

They now seek drugs both for the reward of the "pleasure" they give him, and also to avoid the mental and physical horrors of withdrawal. Ironically, the addict's ability to get "high" from alcohol or drugs gradually decreases as his body adapts to the presence of foreign chemicals. They must take more and more drugs or alcohol, not just to get an effect but often just to function at all.

At this point, the addict is stuck in the dwindling spiral of drug addiction. The drugs the addict abuses has changed them both physically and mentally. They have crossed an invisible and intangible line.

The compulsion to use drugs can take over the individual's life. Drug addiction often involves not only compulsive drug taking but also a wide range of dysfunctional behaviors that can interfere with normal functioning in the family, the workplace, and the broader community. Drug addiction also can place people at increased risk for a wide variety of other illnesses. These illnesses can be brought on by behaviors, such as poor living and health habits, that often accompany life as a drug addict, or because of toxic effects of the drugs themselves.

Results from a 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Addiction revealed that, while millions of Americans habitually smoke pot, drink alcohol, snort cocaine and swallow prescription drugs, too many drug users who meet the criteria for needing treatment do not recognize that they have a drug addiction problem. The figure of those "in denial" of their drug addiction is estimated at more than 4.6 million--a significantly higher number of individuals in need of professional help than had been previously thought.


Did You Know? ...
Interesting Facts and Statistics:

The number of past year initiates of methamphetamine among persons aged 12 or older was 95,000 in 2008. This estimate was significantly lower than the estimate in 2007 (157,000) and was less than one third of the number estimated in 2004 (318,000).

The District of Columbia had a somewhat different relationship for these two measures among persons aged 26 or older. It ranked in the highest fifth for perception of great risk of binge drinking among persons aged 26 or older (47.2 percent) as well as in the highest fifth for actual binge use of alcohol in the same age group (24.4 percent).

SMI in the past year was associated with past year substance dependence or abuse in 2008. Among adults aged 18 or older with SMI, 25.2 percent (2.5 million) were dependent on or abused illegal drugs or alcohol. The rate among adults without SMI was 8.3 percent (17.9 million).

Some users of Ativan have experienced acting inappropriately or being out of control; others have reported a lack of recall and in some cases full blown amnesia.

For boys, current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutics declined from 3.2 percent in 2007 to 2.6 percent in 2008, driven in part by a decline in pain reliever misuse from 2.6 to 2.0 percent. Current use of crack by boys also decreased in this time period from 0.4 to 0.2 percent. There were no significant changes in the use of these drugs among girls.

The use of bath salts, especially among teens and young adults is quickly becoming the drug of choice to obtain a ?legal high?.


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