Drug addiction is a brain disorder that causes a person to experience an uncontrollable craving for mind-altering substances despite their negative consequences. Most young people who become victims of drug addiction do not intend to. Also, not every person who uses an illicit drug becomes an addict. So how does drug addiction begin and what are the signs and symptoms associated with drug misuse?
How drug addiction starts
A person can become a drug addict due to a number of reasons. The main cause of drug addiction in young people is peer pressure. Young people like to identify themselves with their group. If for instance, a group of young people likes consuming alcohol, it is rare to have one member who doesn’t take the drug. Some people also consume drugs for experimental purposes. Additionally, many young people like to explore by engaging in new and at times risky activities. A person can try a drug out of curiosity but with continued use, he or she may end up being an addict. There are also teenagers who use illicit drugs as an act of rebellion. But the more they use the drug the more addictive it becomes. At times, signs of drug abuse can be noticed early while in some cases, they can take longer to appear. If discovered at an early stage, there are higher chances of successful recovery.
The most common types of drug addiction and how to recognize them
When cocaine is used repeatedly, it can affect neurological systems of a personal brain. Cocaine can also interfere with systems associated with memory, pleasure and decision making. When a person becomes a cocaine addict, they tend to be unable to resist urges and this makes it almost impossible to quit. The common symptoms of cocaine addiction include;
- Weight loss. Cocaine is a stimulant drug and when consumed excessively, a person may go for days without meals. This can lead to excessive weight loss
- Cocaine can lead to increased alertness and mood changes. Most cocaine addicts become aggressive and hostile after taking the drug.
- Addicts can also lose their sense of smell
Heroine is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world. Heroin addiction is known to be fatal, claiming thousands of lives each year. A person addicted to heroin is advised to seek help within the shortest time possible. It is difficult for victims of heroin addiction to acknowledge that they have a problem. They are, however, encouraged to get help as soon as the symptoms are seen. The adverse effects of heroin overdose include brain damage, permanent kidney and liver damage or even death. The common symptoms of heroin addiction include;
- Confusion and slurred speech
- Constant sniffing
- Runny nose
- Skin infection
Marijuana, also called cannabis or weed is a drug derived from the cannabis plant. People who are addicted to marijuana are unable to stop using it, no matter how much they try to. Marijuana is known to stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers. When used repeatedly, the victim may find it difficult to learn new skills, remember events or even adapt to changes. The common signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction include;
- Spending a lot of time getting ‘high’
- Difficulty to stop the use of marijuana
- Depending on marijuana to relax or become creative
The misuse of drugs is not only addictive, but it can also affect the functioning of a person’s brain, making it very difficult to quit. It is important for the society to know that drug abuse is not a choice but an illness that requires urgent attention. Drug abuse also comes with high costs. It can lead to reduced productivity, lost work and seeking medical attention is also expensive. Most people tend to ignore the misuse of drugs as another person’s problems. But this should not be the case. No matter who the victim is, drug and substance abuse can have a major impact on the entire society.