What Causes Drug Addiction?
Studies into the potential causes for drug addiction are vast and ongoing. Typically, the main source of drug addiction has been compulsive substance abuse. This can lead to physical dependence (when the body adapts to a drug and also needs even more of it to obtain a desired effect). Some people are more prone to addiction, such as those that live in poverty, participate in criminal habits, are mentally ill, are products of addicted parents or caretakers, and/or misuse highly addictive substances. Nevertheless, are these individuals actually more likely than the basic populace to become addicted? Or, are they just more likely to engage in substance abuse to start with?
PsychCentral reports an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. populace suffers from addiction, just 13 percent of those individuals ever receive therapy. With additional research into what the causes of substance abuse and addiction, there is hope of increased treatment rates in the future.
The most up to date information indicate physical dependence actually lies at the structure of drug addiction. When a person takes part in frequent use of a substance with an addictive capacity, the human brain begins to expand an increasing reliance upon the drug’s effect to feel pleasure. Obviously, not every drug generates a pleasurable feeling. Of course, do not mistaken this pleasurable feeling for happiness.
Some medications are undoubtedly stimulating, and chemically thrill the human brain to develop a euphoric sensation. Nevertheless, others are depressants that can actually dampen the individual’s state of mind. Regardless of the name, depressants don’t instantly induce a clinically depressed mood. Often, individuals who make use of these medications enjoy the kicked back mood they cause. However, they may regularly experience sleep problems, anxiety and also various other issues that a downer can help to remove.
So Is Addiction Physical?
Yes. Marijuana is an excellent instance, given that it is milder than most other compounds. Nonetheless, the Addiction Science & Clinical Practice publication states that around 9 percent of people who attempt cannabis end up dependent on it. Keep in mind that the rate is 15 percent for those who use cocaine and 24 percent for individuals using heroin. On the other hand, ceasing the use of marijuana will not cause physical withdrawals like cocaine, opioids and alcohol.
In time, the body will eventually develop a tolerance to the addictive substances. Thus, a person must consistently increase their dosage to achieve their desired feeling. These feelings can be either a high or relieving their withdrawal symptoms. Slowly, the effects that individuals feel from the substance wane, and they end up using over and over again simply to feel a sense of normalcy, not to feel high. It isn’t hard for a normal social practice to turn into full-blown drug addiction; it happens very often.
Digging even deeper into the physical link of drug addiction, there have been findings of genetic influencers. In addition to heredity, both childhood and environment have an impact on the potential for developing a drug addiction. Actually, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that drug addiction brings a 40-60 percent genetic predisposition. The Do It Now Foundation records that children of problem drinkers are 3 to 4 times more likely to become alcoholics than the basic population.
Nobody begins using drugs or alcohol with the assumption of addiction. External elements can have a large impact on the proneness to this illness. The Scientific American conducted a research study that acted as an example of this, one that discovered 60-80 percent of substance-dependent teenagers and also 20-somethings were addiction-free in their 30s. This indicates that environmental impact might contribute to the advancement and also the resolution of dependency. Childhood trauma additionally seems to enhance the threat of substance misuse. According to the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study, a child with at least four stressful experiences is 46 times more probable to use IV drugs, as compared to one without any adverse childhood experiences.
The Pursuit of Happiness
In recent years, many treatment centers have begun to recognize an older theory regarding the root cause of addiction. This theory proposes an idea that happiness, or the absence thereof, has more to do with drug addiction than physical dependence does. Looking back a few decades to an experiment with lab rats, the study confirmed that rats preferred heroin-laced water over plain water, supporting physical dependence.
However, an oversight allowed these conclusions based on a single rat. When new experimenters provided the rats with a much more comfortable life – high-quality food and fellow rats and toys to delight them – most of them opted for the normal water over the heroin option. Therefore, a delighted, content, and fulfilling life may have even more to do with stopping substance addiction than previously realized. As a result, not having those features might contribute to the growth of substance use disorders. This is why we at Coalition Recovery emphasize our aftercare program. It is through this program that we help people build a better and more fulfilling life outside of treatment.
The structure of physical and psychological substance abuse lies primarily with two endorphins norepinephrine and dopamine. This theory applies to biology, physical dependence and a demand for a happy and fulfilling life. Despite the cause of addiction, chemical dependence will keep you there.
The Immediate Side Effects of Substance Abuse
Both drugs and alcohol seriously influence your body and mind. Upon ingestion, a lot of substances take anywhere from minutes to an hour to begin working. Yet, this can vary considerably from one person to the next, depending on their body metabolism and the amount consumed. Additionally, different kinds of drugs have different effects on the body.
Hallucinogens like LSD and PCP disrupt nervous system interaction and cause the human brain to experience sensory distortion. This is the explanation for responsive, visual, and auditory hallucinations. Even what you taste could be completely different than what you’re used to. Colors and sounds are crisper and much more intensified when intoxicated with these drugs.
Rapid resistance develops when using hallucinogens. Despite lower overdose rates comparatively, increased doses of hallucinogens are quite unsafe. Drugs like LSD raise both heart rate and blood pressure while triggering sleeplessness, dizzy spells, excess perspiration, lethargy, tremors, loss of appetite and other problems. Hallucinagentics can also cause individuals to act illogical leading to dangerous circumstances.
Stimulants, like cocaine and amphetamines, increase alertness and energy levels. Illicit drugs typically gather much more focus and popularity than illegally abused prescriptions. Nevertheless, despite its reputation, cocaine was accountable for 85,498 of 1,800,704 treatment admissions in 2012, according to SAMHSA. Cocaine obstructs the reabsorption of dopamine, and hence, it enhances pleasure levels considering that more dopamine is available than normally. Methamphetamines hinder the synthesis of both dopamine and norepinephrine, leading to sensations of euphoria and also raised alertness.
Among one of the most commonly mistreated stimulants is of the prescription variety. Psychiatrists recommend Adderall to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many people often fake the symptoms of this illness to obtain these medications. Reuters reported 18 million Adderal prescriptions were written in 2010. That is a 13.4 percent escalation from the previous year.
Also, a stimulant as common as caffeine brings upon similar effects as the stronger varieties. These effects include a faster heart rate, racing thoughts and also anxiety. When the stimulants wear off the individual will experience a crash. This frequently leads individuals who abuse medicines to use them more regularly and also in bigger amounts. These large amounts can lead to an overdose.
Downers like alcohol and prescription painkillers are among the most preferred drugs of misuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports for each 100 individuals residing in the U.S. in 2012, 82.5 prescriptions were written for opioid medicines. Opioids– including heroin and prescription opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Lortab– are preferred with individuals that are addicted to medications, because of their numbing and euphoric impacts. Around 2.1 million Americans were addicted to prescription opioids, and also an additional 467,000 were addicted to heroin in 2012, per the NIDA.
Amongst the 28 reporting states in the nation, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy notes 9,869 people passed away of prescription opioid medicine overdoses in 2012. This is in comparison to the 3,635 that gave their lives to heroin that year. This would debunk the popular concept that heroin is a much bigger issue. A sleepy disposition, constipation and a sick stomach (with or without vomiting) are some typical side effects of opioid pain prescription dependence.
Around 17 million individuals have an alcohol use disorder as of 2012, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and also Alcoholism notes. For some people, alcohol abuse starts in their teenagers and very early 20s. It eventually turns into dependency over the years. For others, it goes unnoticed, working as a frequently used social catalyst at happy hour. Alcohol impacts various people in various ways. Although no matter how active or ecstatic someone gets while partying with friends, all liquors are downers. Even if someone experiences the initial bliss, a crash will follow, similar to stimulants. Similarly, downers cause a broad range of side effects. These include but are not limited to: lowered reaction time, confusion, hypotension, a melancholy state of mind, and also severe fatigue.
Cannabis acts similarly to a downer. According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (NIDA(, Marijuana is responsible for over 4 million drug addictions in the United States. NIDA says cannabis modifies the functionality of the hippocampus over time and therefore changes the method the brain processes info and creates memories.
Benzodiazepines and Barbituates
Antipsychotics, barbiturates and benzodiazepines (benzos) are also depressants. People typically abuse benzos because it was prescribed to them. After using these medications for a while, a person can develop a dependency. The Royal College of Psychiatrists states that about 4 out of 10 individuals that take benzodiazepines daily for six weeks or longer will end up dependent on them.
Most central nervous system depressants elicit their calming results by increasing a key neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid. Others might hinder the rise of inflamitory chemicals like cortisol. Marijuana slows your capability to reply to stimuli, creates a sensation of panic and nervousness, and might inhibit coordination. In spite of existing trends in legalization and decriminalization, which lead individuals to view cannabis as a much safer drug, The negative effects that originate from cannabis have the potential to be just as harmful as alcohol when it comes to daily tasks, like driving.
How Treatment Helps
The primary step in any kind of reliable treatment plan is a thorough intake assessment. During this procedure, you’ll meet the medical professional who will supervise your care, a psychiatrist, and possibly nursing practitioner. Normally, during this time, a physician or psychiatrist will perform mental health and clinical testing.
Screening for underlying conditions is an essential part of addiction therapy still frequently ignored. The addicted person who deals with an undiagnosed psychological illness disorder like schizophrenia barely benefits from treatment for chemical abuse if the drug or alcohol abuse practices are just self-medicating habits. After treatment, undiagnosed problems continue to occur and cause unmanageable symptoms that lead individuals right back to a life of using.
Once the screening process is over, and you’re admitted as a patient, detox begins. The period of time you invest in detoxification differs for each and every client and also depends on the drug. Some addictions, such as those to benzodiazepines, can be handled by tapering the dose on a daily basis. This taper method can be done safely on an outpatient level. Withdrawal symptoms are manageable with the right expert help and guidance.
In contrast, reliance on alcohol – more common – is even more severe when it pertains to detox. In most cases, alcohol needs to be managed through an inpatient detox level of care. More severe addictions to more harmful substances like opiates call for long-term detox programs. Some people continue to be on methadone and also buprenorphine in lieu of heroin or opioid pain relievers. These medications can help alleviate both withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Alleviating cravings has been shown to better outcome rates in treatment and thus higher success outcomes.
Methadone has been around for years and includes a relatively constant 60-90 percent success rate. This is according to the California Society of Addiction Medicine. Buprenorphine is an opioid antagonist with a success rate that was reported by The Fix to be around 88 percent. Both of these medicines operate in similar ways to fill opioid receptors so the body still thinks it’s obtaining normal doses. Meanwhile, the individual using it slowly weans off the replacement medicine by decreasing their doses over a few weeks or months.
Some facilities promote using accelerated detox measures for individuals addicted to opioids. However this method is unsafe and also has already claimed the lives of individuals, per the CDC. The procedure entails sedating a client and administering opioid antagonist medications prior to waking the detoxed patient, sparing them the effects of withdrawal. Presently, while it’s not advised in numerous states, rapid detox is lawful and advertised by some facilities as a simpler way to detox from opiates.
In addition, medicated therapy methods continue to show their merit in the addiction therapy area. During detoxification, a vast array of drugs can be prescribed to help in transitioning to a drug-free state. The negative effects of withdrawal are especially unpleasant. Drugs, such as benzodiazepines and also antidepressants, can spare the person detoxing from alcohol from experiencing suicidal ideations and delirium tremens.
Medications are typically necessary to alleviate the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders, which may very well be the source of the discomfort that leads someone to misusing drugs or alcohol. According to Helpguide, around 29 percent of mentally ill individuals are also struggling with addiction. Most situations of mental health disorders respond best to both therapeutic and medication forms of treatment. One form of therapy, Cognitive behavioral therapy, has been shown to be highly effective in the therapy of a variety of mental health conditions including bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and of course substance use disorders.
Therapy as Treatment
There is no shortage of cognitive therapy approaches effective in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. One of the most preferred approaches is talk therapy, which is available in private, group counseling, and support groups. At most mainstream treatment centers, you’ll find each of these categories. Lots of holistic-based treatment facilities depend on these therapy techniques, along with additional treatment modules, such as meditation, acupuncture and yoga, to treat addiction with/without pharmaceutical medicines.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy used to change unfavorable thought patterns that create unwanted patterns or emotional reactions. One Archive of General Psychiatry publication keeps in mind that 60 percent of addicted people who took part in CBT treatment for their dependency were drug and alcohol-free one year later. Dialectical behavior therapy is another common form of psychotherapy. It focuses on altering self-harming ideas and behaviors. DBT can also it consist of life skills, family therapy and more.
Twelve-step programs are amongst one of the most standard and extensively recognized techniques for dealing with drug addiction. The framework comes from the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program and also depends on a dedication to oneself and a higher power. Partaking in both individual and group therapy sessions are recommended throughout all substance abuse treatment programs.
Diagnosing Mental Illness
Just as there are genetic associations to alcohol and drug addictions, there are hereditary links to mental disorders. The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University notes that young children of parents with a major depressive disorder are 4 times more likely to establish a mood problem than children with moms and dads who are not ill. The reports also show that close family members of schizophrenics have a 1 in 10 chance of developing the disorder, and young children of schizophrenics are at an also higher risk, with a 50 percent possibility. According to the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, the majority of all sampled children that were hospitalized for psychological disorders turned out to be children of one or more addicted parents.
Some mental health disorders generally seen in addicted people include:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Whether you attend a drug and alcohol rehab, enroll in a residential care facility, or look for therapy through your medical doctor, incorporated therapy methods are important to guarantee your attempts at continual sobriety are successful. If you look for treatment via your physician, such as methadone maintenance, you should also seek the assistance of an experienced therapist that can operate in tandem with your physician. Undiagnosed or improperly dealt with psychological health disorders typically lead back to the path of substance misuse and addiction.
Help Is Here
If your addiction is biological in nature, a comprehensive therapy plan involving both therapy and support groups following detox is your best option. On the other hand, if it’s a learned behavior, you may have the best chance of sobriety with restorative remedies like CBT. If your substance addiction originates from a lack of joy, skilled therapists and also understanding peers can help you find what you are missing from your life. If your drug addiction substantiated from self-medicating to cope with the symptoms of a mental disorder, treatment is ever more necessary for your success. Thankfully, most psychiatrists and therapists can successfully treat these mental health disorders with recommended medication and counseling.
As you can see, what triggers drug addiction is a tricky question to answer. It might be just one of the reasons defined over or a complex melting pot of them all. Lots of socioeconomic and also individual aspects add to drug addiction. No matter what brought you here, you can survive it. The bright side is that help is here. Call us today to learn more on how you can begin your recovery process.
Content Creator for Coalition Recovery