People use drugs for many reasons: they want to feel good, stop feeling bad, or perform better in school or at work, or they are curious because others are doing it and they want to fit in. For the last one, these feelings and reasons are felt by all different ages, especially young teens.
What is Substance Abuse?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), drugs excite the parts of the brain that make you feel good. But after you take a drug for a while, the feel-good parts of your brain get used to it. Then you need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. Soon, your brain and body must have the drug to feel normal. You feel sick, awful, anxious, and irritable without the drug. You no longer have the good feelings you had when you first used the drug. This is true if you use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs. Misuse includes taking a drug differently than how your doctor tells you to (taking more or crushing pills to “shoot up” or snort), taking someone else’s prescription, or taking it to get “high.”
Becoming Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Drug use can start as a way to escape—but it can quickly worsen your life. Besides just not feeling well, different drugs can affect your brain and body in many different ways. Here are a few:
- Alcohol: You might have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering, and learning.
- Marijuana: You might forget things you just learned or have trouble focusing.
- Prescription pain relievers (opioids) or sedatives: Your heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels, leading to coma or death.
- Heroin: Like opioid pain relievers, your heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels, leading to coma or death.
- Prescription stimulants (e.g., ADHD medications): Your body temperature could get dangerously high, or you may have an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, or seizures.
- Cocaine and methamphetamine: You may get violent, have panic attacks, feel paranoid, or have a heart attack.
- MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly): You may feel confused for a long time after you take it and have problems with attention, memory, and sleep.
- LSD: Your emotions may change quickly, and you might not be able to recognize reality; frightening flashbacks can happen long after use.
- Inhalants: Your heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain may get damaged; even a healthy person can suffer heart failure and death within minutes of sniffing a lot of an inhalant.
Taking drugs is usually your choice, at first. But as you continue to take them, using self-control can become harder and harder; this is the most significant sign of addiction. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting and lead to harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.
Even the people who are now addicted to drugs once believed they could stop using any time. People become addicted slowly over time. Once addicted, it can be complicated to control. Stopping can trigger withdrawal symptoms, which may be very unpleasant. People often begin to use drugs again to avoid these unpleasant symptoms.
Addiction Help at Garden State Treatment Center
If you become addicted, realizing this is the first step to recovery. At Garden State Treatment Center, we can help you continue your road to recovery. You need compassionate professionals who understand what you’re experiencing right now. Fortunately, that’s precisely what we understand at Garden State Treatment Center. We’re an experienced and highly trained team that has helped pull hundreds of families just like yours from the jaws of addiction and despair.
We are a Joint Commission (JCAHO) accredited facility, which shows our commitment to continue elevating our standards and providing superior treatment for substance abuse.