One of the most widespread issues of our century is drug addiction. Far from being the defining trait of fishy characters that live in the bad neighborhoods of big cities, drug addiction has become pretty much mainstream. It’s literally a silent epidemic. It kills nearly 12 million people globally each year. It’s no surprise then that overcoming drug addiction is a very important goal both individually, and collectively.
Whether we’re talking about smoking, alcohol consumption, prescription medication, or the use of illicit drugs, it doesn’t matter. Addiction takes many forms, but it works the same way. People get hooked on the substance of their choice and they simply cannot give it up, despite the ravaging effects it has on their body and their relationships.
Overcoming Drug Addiction
One of the most important things to understand is that when it comes to drug addiction, recovery is possible. No matter how strong it is, people have the power to overcome it. Unfortunately, many people believe that people who use drugs lack either the willpower or the moral principles to stop. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease. Quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will.
Addiction is very insidious. It acts by changing the way our brains function, making quitting very difficult. Luckily, researchers have learned a lot more about drugs and addiction, thus finding helpful treatments for addicts.
From a clinical standpoint, addiction is a chronic disease. It’s main symptom? Drug-seeking and compulsive drug use that is difficult to control despite the harmful effects. Drug addiction can weaken the brain’s ability to resist urges, thus making drug addiction a relapsing disease. Even after years of being clean, a former addict can relapse.
Why Do Only Some People Become Addicted?
While it’s true that not all people who do drugs become addicts, the answer, as we’ve stated above, does not come down to strong will. No one can predict who will become addicted or not. The answer is complex and it involves a lot of factors, mainly biological, environmental, and developmental ones.
In other words, some people, based on these three types of factors, are more or less at risk for developing an addiction. For example, gender, ethnicity, and the presence of mental disorders can influence the risk of drug use. The environment, in terms of stress and various forms of abuse, can also influence a person negatively in terms of drug use and drug addiction.
Can Drug Addiction Be Cured?
As with all chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, the treatment for drug addiction isn’t considered to be a cure. Nevertheless, addiction is treatable and can be managed. Still, former addicts remain at risk for relapsing possibly their whole lives. For this reason, it is important for addicts to seek help and have the support of their family or loved ones. By maintaining a healthy and solid environment, in terms of friends and family, they shield themselves better against the risk of relapsing.
All in all, overcoming drug addiction can be a challenging journey. Still, it is a treatable disease that can be successfully managed. If you are dealing with drug addiction or know someone who is struggling, reach out because help is out there.