It’s a common misunderstanding that it’s hard to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Most people perceive addiction as something that only happens to people who are on the “wrong path”, all without realizing that addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime, with very little prior notice. Today, we’re going to discuss just how easy it is to slip into addictive habits, touching on the negative impacts that being addicted to drugs or alcohol can have on someone’s life. Finally, we’ll talk about a few well known individuals who accidentally developed bad habits that led to addiction and substance abuse.
What Impact Can Drug Use Have On My Life?
The impact that drug use can have on your life is almost immeasurable, as using drugs and alcohol affect your mental and physical being in a variety of ways:
- Injuries: One of the fastest and simplest ways that drugs and alcohol can impact you is physical injury. Whether you crash a car while drunk driving, become unconscious due to an overdose, or have some sort of accident while using drugs or alcohol, the opportunities to be injured while abusing a substance are endless.
- Health: Drugs and alcohol have been known to cause a wide variety of health issues:
- immune system degradation
- cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and collapsed veins
- nausea and vomiting
- liver failure
- Behavioral issues: Drugs and alcohol can alter your judgement and behavior towards others, and frequent drug and alcohol abusers may find themselves experiencing paranoia, hallucinations, impulsiveness, a lack of self-control, and impaired judgement.
- Birth defects: Approximately 5% of pregnant women in the United States use illegal drugs such as heroin, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, etc. These drugs can cause birth defects and withdrawal issues in newborn children, and can also result in premature birth. Additionally, the quality of street level drugs can never be trusted, and drugs may contain impurities such as fentanyl that can cause additional birth defects.
Put simply, using any type of illicit substance can have seriously harmful effects on your health, and using drugs and alcohol should be avoided at all costs. Note that the above impacts do not include the additional damage that may be caused by addiction! Addiction has its own set of symptoms, causes, and impacts which must be explored separately.
How Does Addiction Start, And How Easy Is It To Become Addicted To Drugs Or Alcohol?
Before we discuss how addiction starts and how people become addicted to drugs and alcohol, let’s first define what addiction is. Addiction is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal”. As you can probably infer from the definition of the term, addiction is nearly equivalent to reliance. If you’re addicted to a substance, you’re reliant on it. Without it, you experience withdrawal, or the desire to use it again. Addiction is an alarmingly common problem, affecting 1 in 10 Americans nationwide. Of the nearly 25 million Americans affected by addiction, two-thirds are addicted to alcohol, with marijuana, opioid pain relievers, and cocaine accounting for the majority of the remaining one-thirds of addicts. With such alarming statistics, it’s important to understand exactly how addiction begins, along with how easy it is to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Addiction begins with a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which contains dopamine receptors. These receptors are responsible for feelings of pleasure that are associated with specific actions, such as using drugs or alcohol. When you use drugs or alcohol, the nucleus accumbens is flooded with excessive amounts of dopamine, creating short bursts of intense pleasure. Another part of the brain, the hippocampus, is responsible for remembering these bursts of pleasure. Finally, the amygdala associates these bursts of pleasure with the usage of the substance that triggered them, which creates a subconscious connection between the usage of a particular drug and the feeling of pleasure. This subconscious association remains in your brain for an extended period of time, and it leads to the continued use and abuse of drugs and alcohol.
After reading the above paragraph and understanding exactly how addiction occurs, it’s easy to see that it’s possible to become addicted to drugs or alcohol after just a few pleasurable experiences. Although addiction can be influenced by a variety of physiological and biological factors such as height, weight, age, brain chemistry, and genetics, you should be wary of substance abuse. Always remember that there have been hundreds of thousands of people before you who said they would not get addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Addiction is not entirely in your control, and the only way to avoid dependence on drugs and alcohol is to avoid drugs and alcohol in their entirety. On the same token, remember that addiction isn’t a choice. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol aren’t choosing to do so. Addiction is a legitimate disease. Most people would not tell a cancer patient to just “get better”, and so, it’s unreasonable to tell someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol to just get better. However, it’s important to understand that addiction can be recovered from. Addiction recovery is a process that requires dedication, consistency, and hard work, but it’s not impossible. The best way to end your dependence on drugs and alcohol is to admit that there is a problem, and then seek treatment from trained professionals who know how to deal with it. Don’t be afraid to get treatment for addiction. It’s a disease, and it’s not entirely in your control. Addiction affects all types of people: rich, poor, and famous included. Here are a few well known people who have suffered from addiction:
- Mary Kate Olsen
- Lindsay Lohan
- Robert Downey Jr.
- Johnny Depp
- Marilyn Monroe
Now that you’ve learned how addiction starts, what causes it, and heard of some people who have personally experienced and suffered through it, you should have a heightened understanding of the various factors that lead to addiction, along with an understanding of just how easy it is to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Hopefully, this article will help you make the right choice surrounding the usage of drugs and alcohol. Thank you for reading.
Contact Clearbrook For Addiction Treatment
Are you or someone you know and love suffering from the disease of addiction? If so, please know that help is available. For more than 4 decades, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been treating alcoholism and chemical dependency. Through the use of customized treatment programming and medical detoxification protocols, we have been able to provide effective and quality care. If you are tired of living a life dependent upon a substance, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. Recovery is possible, and it begins here.