Drug addiction, also known as substance–use disorder, refers to the dangerous and excessive intake of legal and illegal drugs. This leads to many behavioral changes in the person as well as affects brain functions. Drug addiction includes abusing alcohol, cocaine, heroin, opioid, painkillers, and nicotine, among others. Drugs like these help the person feel good about themselves and induce ‘dopamine’ or the happiness hormone. As they continue to use the drug, the brain starts to increase dopamine levels, and the person demands more.
Drug addiction has severe consequences. Some of the signs include anxiety, paranoia, increased heart rate, and red eyes. They are intoxicated and unable to display proper coordination and have difficulty in remembering things. A person who is addicted cannot resist using them and unable to function correctly without ingesting them. It causes damage to the brain, their personal and professional relationships. It affects mental cognition; they are unable to make proper decisions, cannot retain information, and make poor judgments. They tend to engage in reckless activities such as stealing or driving under the influence. They also make sure that there is a constant supply and are willing to pay a lot of money even if they are unable to afford it and tend to have erratic sleep patterns.
Drug addiction also causes a person to isolate themselves and have either intense or no food cravings. They stop taking care of their hygiene. Drug addiction affects a person’s speech and experience hallucinations. They are unable to converse and communicate properly; they speak fast and are hyperactive. Those addicted have extreme mood swings. They can go from feeling happy to feeling sad quickly and are incredibly secretive. They begin to lose interest in activities they once loved. Substance abusers also undergo withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms refer to the symptoms that occur when they stop taking the drug. Some withdrawal symptoms include nausea, fatigue, and tremors. They stop and starting using again, an endless cycle that could be life-threatening. Drug addiction can be fatal if not treated timely. It can cause brain damage and seizures as well as overdose, heart diseases, respiratory problems, damage to the liver and kidneys, vomiting, lung diseases, and much more.
Though chronic, treatment is available for drug addiction. Many techniques are used, such as behavioral counseling, medication to treat the addiction, and providing treatment not just for substance abuse but also for many factors that accompany addiction such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Many devices have developed to overcome addiction. There are rehabilitation centers to help people. After treatment, there are numerous follow-ups to ensure that the cycle does not come back. The most important is having family and friends to support the effect. It will help them build confidence and come over their addiction.
The United Nations celebrates International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on the 26th of June. Drug addiction impacts millions and needs to be treated carefully to prevent further harm to the individual and letting them live a better life.