There are many various types of addiction; however, the most common among them are alcohol and drug addiction. In accordance with the statistics of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence there are more than 23 million addicted or dependent people in the states, most of them have both addictions simultaneously.
What Is a Drug?
Under the term of a drug is understood a chemical substance that affects a person’s brain function. There are various drug types, even caffeine and aspirin represent one. However, most often alcohol, nicotine as well as various stimulants are meant. They pass to the brain and cause changes and damages, alternations to the way of communication between brain cells and other parts of a person’s organism. They do not allow neurotransmitters transferring signals in a proper way.
How Drugs Work
In their essence drugs represent poisons and the more the dosage, the worse is the effect. Small amount of a drug serve as stimulants; however, larger amounts cause sedative effect. Large drug amount consumption can be fatal. This is basically true about any drug.
As it has already been mentioned, drugs affect brain function and they are capable of perception distortion and they also cause behaviour changes, frequently the changes are neither positive nor constructive.
One more effect is that drugs produce is that they actually block any feeling or sensation; however, as long as it is impossible to numb just one separate emotion, they actually switch off all of them temporarily – which might be helpful in case of some acute pain relief; however, in the long-term perspective leads to inability to become alert and think clearly.
Cannabis, extracted from Cannabis sativa, produces effect on how acetylcholine neurones as well as noradrenaline and dopamine neurones work. Notorious LSD represents a mix of an artificial acid and a natural molecule from Claviceps purpurea fungus. It is able to produce hallucinations due to its ability to affect serotonin levels in the brain.
There are also suggestions that drugs trigger so-called “reward system” in a person’s organism. This happens when dopamine levels release is high – after good food, other pleasurable experience, sex, for instance, or – drugs intake. All drugs actually trigger dopamine levels increase; which is fraught with even bigger craving of a drug. Some people are more prone to develop addiction faster than others.
One of the inseparable things that go with drug addiction is unpleasant withdrawal once a person decides to quit. All drugs cause withdrawal, some of them have harder symptoms than others, in many cases withdrawal can be overwhelming; this is one of the reasons why it is so hard for most people with addiction to stop taking drugs.
Many medications can also be referred to as drugs – all of them usually alter the way a person’s organism functions; however, some of them can also cause stimulant as well as sedative effect and in cases of misuse or overdose can be dangerous or even lethal.
Types of Drugs
The National Institute on Drug Abuse differentiated the following most commonly abused addictive drugs:
- Amphetamines/ Methamphetamine
- Anabolic Steroids
- Bath Salts
- PCP (phencyclidine)
- Ketamine, Rohypnol, and GHB
- Prescription / Over-the-Counter Drugs
- Cough Syrup
One of the most popular recreational drugs is marijuana. This Indian hemp plant has got a very long list of names and nick-names and is treated differently in different countries.
The chemical that is contained in the plant is called cannabis and it is a hallucinogenic substance that is able to alter a person’s perception to a considerable degree. It is also called THC; and despite the fact that the amount of this chemical in the plant is not really great, it is sufficient enough to produce the effect as well as to create addiction to it.
Usually, marijuana is smoked as cigarettes; however, it can also be mixed with food or drinks. The sensations associated with the administration of it show up within several minutes and the most common are increased heart rate as well as coordination problems. “Dreamy” state of mind is also characteristic as well as bursts of laughter. The effect wears of within the following several hours; the term depends on the amount of the drug taken as well as the strength of the mix.
Synthetic drugs differ by name and content – they are created by a man and do not have any natural base or set of ingredients. Most well-known are LSD and ecstasy as well as methamphetamines. However, there are also such things as spice and bath salts as well as n-bombs – designer drugs, in other words.
The latter usually represent a chemically created variation of illegal drugs with some slight alternation that allows them avoiding illegal classification. Due to such a state some of them are sold in stores until they get covered by laws.
Bath salts represent small packages of foil with the description that reads “for external usage”; they may look very naive – however, they are able to contain mephedrone as well as any other illegal chemical from the list. Most of these salts produce similar effect to cocaine/ methamphetamine; they also have the same dangerous side-effects.
In the period of 2009-2014 there was produces about 200-300 new designer drugs; that is only for 5 years. The more of the unidentified variations appeared in the past two years and go on appearing. The worst part with them that their effects are unknown and cannot even be predicted.
Why People Take Drugs
Not a single person chooses a drug because they are fine and happy; it is usually vice versa. Besides, the reasons that push people onto this path are very different.
- Mostly, people choose drugs because they feel good with them. At least temporarily. Even, if they realize that this is not real life. It is especially tempting to have such small escape option – even a short-time one.
- People also seek for a way to stop feeling bad – and find it, in drugs. The altered state of perception does not contain any fears or shame or anger or any other bad or disturbing sensation. The understanding that the longer this escapism is practiced, the worse is reality does not stop addicts.
- People also need to be successful at work and in their studies – that is why they choose stimulants as an option to gain more energy. The fact that this methods works on the primary stages of drug administration only becomes clear only on the stages when it is too late and instead of energy there is a drain that only asks for more drug.
- Among other very frequent reasons can be named the desire to fit in to a certain society or a group, a desire to experiment and end up with boredom/depression, and many other things.
Most people actually seek salvation in drugs and consider them a solution. However, all of them end up with a very serious problem that is not easy to solve. Those addicts with long term of drug usage are unable to just quit exactly for the reasons that were mentioned earlier – drugs cause changes to the brain that in some cases cannot be undone without harm to a person’s physical and mental health.
Those people who realized that they do not want to be dependent any more and who decided to seek help are likely to have a very complicated road in front of them. The first step on its road is usually called drug detox.