What is Addiction

What is drug addiction?
Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is 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 can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.

Why do people take drugs?
They take drugs to feel good, to feel better, to do better, curiosity and “because others are doing it.

If taking drugs makes people feel good or better, what’s the problem?
At first, people may perceive what seem to be positive effects with drug use. They also may believe that they can control their use; however, drugs can quickly take over their lives. Consider how a social drinker can become intoxicated, put himself behind a wheel and quickly turn a pleasurable activity into a tragedy for him and others. Over time, if drug use continues, pleasurable activities become less pleasurable, and drug abuse becomes necessary for abusers to simply feel “normal.” Drug abusers reach a point where they seek and take drugs, despite the tremendous problems caused for themselves and their loved ones. Some individuals may start to feel the need to take higher or more frequent doses, even in the early stages of their drug use.

Addiction, It typically begins in childhood or adolescence. This is a critical time for preventing drug addiction.
Early use of drugs increases a person’s chances of more serious drug abuse and addiction. Remember, drugs change brains – and this can lead to addiction and other serious problems. So preventing early use of drugs or alcohol may reduce the risk of progressing to later abuse and addiction.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Risk Factors
Home and Family.
The influence of the home environment is usually most important in childhood. Parents or older family members who abuse alcohol or drugs, or who engage in criminal behavior, can increase children’s risks of developing their own drug problems.

Peer and School.
Friends and acquaintances have the greatest influence during adolescence. Drug-abusing peers can sway even those without risk factors to try drugs for the first time. Academic failure or poor social skills can put a child further at risk for drug abuse.

National drug use surveys indicate some children are already abusing drugs by age 12 or 13.
Teens’ still-developing judgment and decision making skills may limit their ability to assess risks accurately and make sound decisions about using drugs. Drug and alcohol abuse can disrupt brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behavior control. So, it is not surprising that teens who abuse alcohol and other drugs often have family and school problems, poor academic performance, health-related problems (including mental health), and involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors report nonmedical use of the prescription pain reliever Vicodin.
Prescription medications are increasingly being abused or used for nonmedical purposes. This practice cannot only be addictive, but in some cases also lethal. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants. Among the most disturbing aspects of this emerging trend is its prevalence among teenagers and young adults, and the common misperception that because these medications are prescribed by physicians, they are safe even when used illicitly

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Center for Disease Control has declared addiction to prescription pain medication an epidemic in this country.

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug epidemic in the United States.

United States has less than 5% of the world population yet consumes 99.8% of hydrocodone produced in the world.

Every nineteen minutes someone dies from an overdose in the U.S. Accidental overdoses have become the number one cause of death for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 -exceeding car accidents.

Each day, 2,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for accidental poisoning – 98% are due to drugs.

In 2008 an estimated 4.7 million people used various prescription pain killers, sedative and stimulants non-medically for the first time

Nearly one in five teens reports using prescription pills to get high. Teens most commonly abuse pain relievers, e.g., Oxycontin and Vicodin. By the time they reach their sophomore year of college about half will have been offered an opportunity to abuse prescription drugs.

Prescription narcotics are as addictive as heroin.

Warning Signs
Change in personality or behavior
Social Withdrawal
Change in appearance – lack of personal hygiene
Decreased activity
Desensitized emotions
Blackouts or forgetfulness
Increased use of the prescription drug – tolerance for the drug
Decreased or obsessive interest in school work
Sudden mood changes including irritability, negative attitude, general lack of interest
Fatigue, red or glazed eyes, pinpoint sized pupils
Repeated health complaints
Going to great lengths to obtain the drug – doctor shopping.
Money and/or medication missing from the home.

Prescription Drug Facts

In 2010, 7.7% of 12 to 17 years olds reported non-medical use of prescription medication.

In 2010 counter drugs were among the most commonly abused drugs by 12th graders after alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.
When combined with alcohol or other drugs, these medications can be DEADLY INSTANTLY.

Side effects of prescription drug abuse are:
- Paranoia
- Dangerously high body temperature
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
- Fatigue
- Lack of coordination
- Seizures

In 2006 prescription drugs surpassed heroin and cocaine as the leading cause of fatal overdose.
About 120,000 Americans a year go to emergency room after overdosing on painkillers.

People underestimate how deadly prescription drugs can be, assuming that anything prescribed by a doctor must be safe.

It is a myth that prescription drugs provide a “safe” high. When abused, prescription drugs are just as dangerous as street drugs.
Don’t be fooled. Prescription drugs can kill…..


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