Drug addiction refer to chronic and a relapsing brain condition leading to compulsive drug use, harmful effects to drug abusers and people around them. It is a brain problem that alters the functioning and the structure of the brain. At the time when an individual start to use a drug, the act is voluntary but with time brain changes result a repeated drug abuse that affect self-control and the ability to make an informed and sound decisions in life. At the same time, drug addiction develops an intense impulse to take drugs. As a result of chemical changes in the brain of the addict that changes the structure of the brain system, individual addicted to drugs experiences compulsive and at times uncontrollable and craving urge for their drug choice (Graves, 2000, p. 7).
There are several risk factors leading to drug use including the environment. The settings in which an individual grows has a great influence on drug use and abuse. Research reveal that there is a higher possibility that individuals from home characterized with intense stress may consider drug use as the reasonable solution. Children from homes where parents are drug users are more likely to engage in abuse of drugs. Individuals living in an environment where drug use is rampant are more likely to engage in drug abuse. People with a close access to drugs on the street, and those approached by drug dealers on a regular basis may get into drug addiction because they have a notion that these drugs are harmless and common substance in the society. Living in crime-laden environment may be stressful, and some people tend to use drugs to sooth their fears and worries. Secondly, genetics contributes to drug abuse because it contribute to reduced or lack of willpower and self-control. Thus, people with drug addiction always make conscious choices that are in with their destructive behaviors. Research show that some form of addiction results from a genetic structure for people using drugs. According to American Psychological Association, most of the people with drug abuse problem have a problem with their genetic factors. The role of genetic structure can be complex and have been linked to increased euphoric response to drugs, quick reaction to drugs because drugs cause slow reaction in others, decrease ability to feel negative response to drugs and quick leap to repetitive behavior of all sort such as addictive personality (Heymann&Brownsberger, 2001, p. 35).
There are psychological impacts of drug addiction on the user because it leads to changes in the structure and functioning of the brain after an individual becomes a drug addict. Apparently, people start to use drugs to cope with pain and stress. The effect of drug addiction is the result from a cycle of drug use once the user encounters slight pain and stress. Psychological effects drug addiction include craving for the drug, where the user is obsessed with obtaining and using the drug, where an addict cannot work or handle life without the use of the drug. Psychological effects of drug use include hallucination, desire to engage in risk behaviors, confusion and complication of mental illness. The other effect of drug addiction is physical effects varying with the type of drug being used. Drug addiction changes the way the brain works and reduce the way the body perceives pleasure. The effects of drug addiction are; as a result, changes in the chemical structure of the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Physical effects of drug addiction are evident among babies and mortality statistics. Physical effects among children are present throughout the lifetime while mortality arise from direct drug addiction. Other effects of drug addiction include kidney and liver damage, heart attack, brain damage, stroke and changes in appetite (Ghodse, 2005, p. 41).
Drug abusers conceal their symptoms and downplay their problems, but they always appear later in life. Physical and health warning signs of drug addiction include seizure without epilepsy history, frequent nose bleeding related to snorted drugs, unusual smell on breath and body, deterioration in person work and physical appearance. Drug addicts share and have a slurred speech. Behavioral signs include increased need for money and financial assistance, sudden change of relationship and friends, sudden withdrawal and engagement in suspicious behavior, and frequently getting into trouble. During the early stage of drug addiction, there are signs that are present such as particular drawn to activity and substance, episodes of loss of control and seeking of situation with the presence of drugs. The late stage of drug addiction is accompanied by stress and depression where individual use drugs to relax. Drug addicts may also developmental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Drug recovery process is difficult for some drug addict, but it is crucial to change habits and behavior including approaches of coping with stress, friends, way of spending leisure time and the attitude towards oneself. There are medical treatment approach used reduction and elimination of drug addiction including the disulfiram to vomit alcoholic drinks until they gain self-control. Varenicline is an oral tablet used to reduce craving for nicotine. Drug addicts may seek the intervention of a psychiatrist to reduce and overcome drug addiction (Boyd, 2007, p. 563).
Risk factors leading to drug including the environment and genetics factors. The best approach of overcoming addiction is through the assistance of a mental psychiatrist.
Boyd, M. (2007). Psychiatric nursing. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Ghodse, H. (2005). Addiction at work: Tackling drug use and misuse in the workplace. Aldershot, Hants, England: Gower.
Graves, B. B. (2000). Drug use and abuse. Mankato, Minn: LifeMatters.
Heymann, P. B., &Brownsberger, W. N. (2001). Drug addiction and drug policy: The struggle to control dependence. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.