Literally, “Drug Addiction” is defined as the compulsive and dependent use of drugs to an extent that the user has no control over his cravings and, therefore, continues to use. The two most significant words in that definition that separates drug use and/or abuse from addiction are compulsive and dependent.
Drug Addiction is identified by the irrational need for a drug regardless of the short and long-term consequences surrounding the use of alcohol and other drugs. Drug Addiction is the compulsive desire that can only be satisfied by using a mind-altering substance that will relieve the gnawing feeling that one’s survival is threatened, at some level, if they can’t satisfy the compulsive craving for drugs.
Each person in drug addiction will have a “drug of choice”, meaning that drug that they have found to be or believe it to illicit the desired mental response. One’s “drug of choice” is usually defined by the basic personality of the user. Those persons that are naturally hyperactive and easily excitable will usually chose a drug that sedates or relaxes.
Persons that are more melancholy or depressed will more often choose drugs like amphetamines that stimulate and increase metabolism and raise one’s activity level.
By the time that someone has crossed the line from drug use to drug addiction, you will find that their ability to learn from past knowledge and experience has been seriously compromised. The compulsive need to take the drug justifies illogical reasoning and an internal bargaining to justify their destructive choice to continue their drug use.
By the time that one has developed a drug addiction, there has usually been enough drug use that you will also find a physiological component of addiction. Part of the compulsive cravings is associated with changes that the body makes to accommodate the introduction of alcohol and other drugs into the blood stream. These changes occur throughout the body, causing a toxic effect that lowers the addict’s I.Q. and changes the neurochemistry, which will cause severe flu-like symptoms and elevated anxiety when the usual drug pattern is diminished or stopped.
Add these physical cravings to the compulsive psychological need for drugs and it is easily seen how addition can be the overwhelming preoccupation of an addict’s life.
Addiction is a complex condition which involves biological, psychological, physiological and behavioral components. Addiction to a substance, such as opiates, or alcohol exhibits these two behaviors:
- Failure to control the use of substance or substances
- Continued use of substances despite their harmful, sometimes even fatal consequences
Defining addiction is much easier than diagnosing it and certainly easier than treating the problem. In many cases the diagnosis of addiction is straightforward, for example: a drug addict who commits a crime to support his addiction, or someone that is in the thralls of physical withdrawals from opiates is obviously physically addicted to that drug.
Almost always, addiction closely resembles “dependence on something” due to the way the brain starts functioning and the habitual nature of man’s behaviors when he repeatedly is involved in any activity. Addictive behaviors of this nature are shown as having developed a tolerance and withdrawal symptoms for the causative agent, which is followed by loss of control, which leads to more use of the same problem agent.
Another way to understand addiction is to look at the consequences of addictive behaviors. One one wants to be a drug addict or alcoholic when they first experiment with a drug or take their first drink.
Why do some people take a drug or alcohol and even though they might have had “fun” in the sense of going to the amusement park is fun, they don’t continue to want to continue to be under the influence of those chemicals, whereas others will stop at nothing to get to their next high.
The best way to understand this phenomenon is to recognize that all drugs are painkillers to a greater or lesser extent. Since they all take us away from the moment that we are experiencing and make us less aware of the impulses and stimuli around us, they are relieving us of uncomfortable memories, feelings or physical pain. It can be safely stated that for drugs to be attractive, there must be an underlying presences of unhappiness, or a state of hopelessness, loneliness or physical pain.
If you talk to anyone that has overcome an addiction, they will tell you that the drug made them feel more “normal”. That was their interpretation of moving from being uncomfortable to more comfortable. The drug or alcohol seems to solve whatever problem is in the person’s life. This is the delusional aspect of addiction since the introduction of alcohol or drugs is actually adding to whatever problem a person is experiencing.
The manner in which a poison that is introduced into the body can lower awareness and cause a person to feel relief has been the basis of nearly all research on psychiatric drugs and the years of follow up on these “solutions” has proven that this level of “medical research” in an embarrassment to science since in March, 2010 NewsWeek magazine has published that there are no psychiatric medications that are actually effective. However, many millions have taken these drugs because they “seemed” to ease the pain that they were confronting.
By the time that someone calls our service to ask about a problem related to a loved one having an addiction, it is almost always an example of an addiction and not just a casual attraction to a substance. We have found that many times someone that is in denial will say that they don’t want to quit drinking because they “like the taste of beer” or some other alcoholic substance. This is universally a sign that there is drug addiction to this substance and you can prove it by asking them to do without any of their tasty drink for three months and see if there are any changes in their behaviors.