Drugs and alcohol. They are readily available and surrounding us on a daily basis. Growing up, we were advised that drugs and alcohol are bad. If we learned as young children not to get involved with them, why are we facing extremely high addiction statistics?
Addiction causes us to depend on a substance despite negative consequences that arise in our life. Addiction can be a positive or negative experience for the user, but regardless of their emotional view of the dependence, it does cause harm. In today's society, we see an extreme flux in rehabilitation and treatment centers to help aid in our problems regarding addiction. Why is addiction such an extreme issue in today's world? Is it the concept of peer pressure, are young adults drinking to excess to be cool, or are individuals doing hard drugs because their parents advised them not to. Regardless of the answer, it is important to understand the basics behind the concept of addiction to fight the epidemic.
Drug And Alcohol Addiction Can Begin At A Young Age
Whether we notice it or not, young children are extremely malleable and influenced by outside factors. “Monkey See, Monkey Do” is a concept often iterated to help them learn certain concepts. We do not want young children realizing that drugs/alcohol can make us feel good. If a young child sees their mother drinking alcohol to excess, they may be tempted and believe it is okay to drink that much “because I saw mommy do it.” As adults and even young adolescents, we tend to forget that little eyes are following and watching our every move.
We often experiment with drugs and alcohol when we are young adolescents or are approaching adulthood. We are in a confusing time where our body, world, and outside factors are changing at the flip of a coin. We are looking for the structure to help us develop and function correctly on cognitive and emotional levels. Within this time when we are determining who we are, we are also looking for people around us to love and support us. Often, we fall into peer pressure because we do not want to lose our newfound friends and are willing to try new things we may not have if the peer pressure was not around. Unfortunately, love is an incredibly strong emotion that allows us to do things we normally would not do otherwise; that love can be in the form of romantic relationships and even friendships.
Addiction Is A Constant Battle With Our Brain
Addiction is extremely tough to overcome. Not only is it stressful cognitively but it is also harmful emotionally. Problems regarding addiction not only affect the individual that is the user but surrounding people in the user's life. It is often heard that “if you want to quit, you will quit.” Unfortunately, just because we want to stop does not mean we can quit easily. What many people tend to forget is that addictions are psychological and physical. Our bodies can develop a dependence that is growing stronger as the usage increases. We can form emotional ties to the substance of choice, and the reward centers increase that link in our brain. If a user decided to use cocaine, the reward center in the brain will send out dopamine which is a “feel good” neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter makes the user feel good and inclines them to do it again to reach the same peak happiness. Dopamine is often a negative stimulus when trying to treat addiction because it essentially rewards the user with pleasant bodily feelings despite the fact that they are causing immense harm. This internal struggle with our brain is often one of the toughest parts of overcoming addiction because we generally enjoy things that make us feel good.
When we withhold substances from our brain, the reward center does not give us feel good emotions. In return, our body gets upset and struggles as we are not providing it with its craving; this is when withdrawal kicks in. Withdrawl can end because the process is incredibly taxing and has life-threatening consequences. It can also be halted and come to a stop because individuals think that using their drug or alcoholic drink of choice is causing less harm to their body than the pain they experience with addiction.
Proper Treatment Is A Must
Addiction can start at any age and can last for an extreme amount of time. Regardless how long an addiction has been occurring, there is always room for help. Struggling with an addiction is not something that should be taken lightly, and all parties involved should try and get treatment started ASAP. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner the individual in need can start down the path to a healthier life. Often getting started or realizing one needs help is the hardest step. It is important to know that there are rehabilitation centers that understand your struggles and needs, and are here to help. With inpatient drug rehab, there are plentiful amounts of services that can accommodate you or your loved one. Remember, it is never too late to start your journey towards an addiction-free life.