Due to the harmful health impacts and significant social costs, drug-related issues have garnered a lot of public attention. The brain and behaviour are both impacted by addiction. Substance addiction makes it unable to resist the impulse to use the drug, regardless of how harmful it may be. The sooner you receive treatment for drug addiction, the better your chances are of avoiding some of the disease's more serious side effects. Not just heroin, cocaine, or other illegal narcotics are involved in drug addiction. Alcohol, cigarettes, sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs, and other legal substances can all lead to addiction.Opioids, which are narcotic painkillers, can also lead to addiction, whether they are purchased legitimately or illegally. In the United States, this issue has epidemic proportions. Two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths in 2018 were caused by opioids. You could initially decide to use a medication because you enjoy how it makes you feel. You could believe that you have control over how much and how frequently you use it. However, medicines over time alter how your brain functions. These bodily alterations may persist for a long period. They cause you to lose control and may prompt harmful actions.
Signs of Addiction
You may have one or more of these warning signs: An urge to use the substance frequently throughout the day, Keeping the drug with you at all times and purchasing it even if you cannot afford it. Using drugs, even if it means you have problems at work or become aggressive with family and friends, Increasing your alone time, without caring about your appearance or taking care of yourself, if you spend the majority of your time obtaining, utilising, or recovering from drug effects, as you try to stop, you feel sick.
Who’s most likely to become addicted?
Family history: About half of your odds are determined by your DNA. You are more likely to struggle with alcohol or drugs if your parents or siblings do. Addiction is equally likely to affect both men and women.
Early drug use: Children's brains are still developing, and drug use can alter this process. As a result, using drugs at a young age may increase your chances of being addicted later in life.
Mental disorders: Addiction is more likely if you are sad, have difficulty paying attention, or are continuously worried. To try to feel better, you may turn to medicines. Addiction is also more likely if you have a history of trauma in your life.
Troubled relationships: If you grew up with family problems and are estranged from your parents or siblings, you are more likely to develop an addiction.
Effects of Drugs
Drugs that are potentially addictive target your brain's reward system. They flood your brain with a substance known as dopamine. This produces a strong sense of pleasure. You keep taking the substance in order to achieve that high. Your brain adapts to the increased dopamine levels over time and as a result, you may need to take more of the drug to achieve the same high. Other activities you enjoyed, such as eating and spending time with family, may provide you with less pleasure. When you use drugs for an extended period of time, it might induce changes in other brain chemical processes and circuits. They can impair your judgement, decision-making, memory, and learning ability. These brain alterations, when combined, can cause you to seek out and use drugs in unusual ways.
What are the preventing measures of drug abuse?
Parental monitoring and supervision are critical for drug abuse prevention. These skills can be enhanced with training on rule-setting; techniques for monitoring activities; praise for appropriate behaviour; and moderate, consistent discipline that enforces defined family rules. Mass awareness and proper counselling is need of the hour.
(Author is Research Scholar, Cancer Pharmacology. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)