What Is A Drug?
In medical terms, a drug is any substance that when taken into a living organism may modify one or more of its functions. Drugs can provide temporary relief from unhealthy symptoms and/or permanently supply the body with a necessary substance that the body can no longer produce. Some drugs produce unwanted side affects, and may lead to an unhealthy addiction that has both physiological and behavioral roots.
Why People Use Drugs
The first thing you must understand about drug addiction is that alcohol and addictive drugs are essentially painkillers. They chemically kill physical or emotional pain and alter the minds perception of reality. They make people "numb."
For drugs to be attractive to a person, there must first be some underlying unhappiness, sense of hopelessness, or physical pain.
Drug Addiction Follows A Cycle Like This:
The life cycle of addiction begins with a problem, discomfort, or some form of emotional or physical pain a person is experiencing. They find this very difficult to deal with.
We start off with an individual who, like most people in our society, is inherently good. This person encounters a problem or discomfort that they do not know how to resolve or can't confront. This could include problems such as difficulty fitting in as a child or teenager, anxiety due to peer pressure or work expectations, identity problems, or divorce as an adult. It can also include physical discomfort, such as an injury or chronic pain. The person experiencing the discomfort has a real problem. He feels his present situation is un-endurable, yet sees no good solution to the problem.
Everyone has experienced this in life to a greater or lesser degree. The difference between an addict and the non-addict is that the addict chooses drugs or alcohol as a solution to the unwanted problem or discomfort.
The Addiction Progresses
Analogous to an adolescent child in his first love affair, the use of drugs or alcohol becomes obsessive. The addicted person is trapped. Whatever problem he was initially trying to solve by using drugs or alcohol fades from memory. At this point, all he can think about is getting and using drugs. He loses the ability to control his usage and disregards the horrible consequences of his actions.
Alcohol And Drug Tolerance
In addition to the mental stress created by his unethical behavior, the addicts body has also adapted to the presence of the drugs. He will experience an overwhelming obsession with getting and using his drugs, and will do anything to avoid the pain of withdrawing from them. This is when the newly-created addict begins to experience drug cravings.
He now seeks drugs both for the reward of the pleasure they give him, and also to avoid the mental and physical horrors of withdrawal. Ironically, the addicts ability to get high from the alcohol or drug gradually decreases as his body adapts to the presence of foreign chemicals. He must take more and more, not just to get an effect, but often just to function at all. At this point, the addict is stuck in a vicious and dwindling spiral. The drugs he abuses have changed him both physically and mentally. He has crossed an invisible and intangible line. He is now a drug addict.