Drug addiction is a crippling condition that severely affects an individual mentally and physically. A complex disease of the mind and body, addiction to drugs can be disastrous and can affect individuals in varied ways. Drug overdoses alone accounted for 52,404 deaths, in the U.S., including 33,091 opioid-related in 2015. According to a preliminary data compiled by The New York Times, more than 59,000 Americans succumbed to drug overdoses in 2016.
Prolonged drug use often tricks the brain into thinking that drugs are essential for proper functioning. Any attempt to quit the substance can result in severe withdrawal symptoms and uncontrollable drug cravings. Drug use often begins voluntarily, may be to relax or to escape problems and stress. However, the consequences of drug use are often worse compared to the reasons for which they were initially taken. The pleasurable sensation of intoxication often outweighs its negative side effects. For many people, addiction is considered as a solution to a variety of problems in life. However, people who harbor such a perception, fail to realize that addiction has a negative impact not only on a person’s health and relationships but also on the society and environment.
Drug Addiction: Causes and consequences
Drugs are taken for a plethora of reasons. However, the user doesn’t realize that prolonged use of the drug often leads to physical changes in the brain as well that can cause drug dependence and eventually addiction. An individual can take to drugs for various reasons such as to get a high, due to peer pressure, for experimentation, to improve athletic performance, as self-medication or to escape the daily grind.
Following are some of the common factors behind drug addiction:
- Environmental: A variety of environmental factors like friends, family, school and work place play an important role in influencing the course of drug abuse and addiction in one’s life.
- Biological: Genetic factors are known to play an important role in one’s addiction to drugs. A relative with a predisposition to drug addiction may increase one’s chance of drug dependence or addiction.
- Developmental: The duration of drug intake is often responsible for leading one to the path of addiction. Drug use in early life can also be associated with more serious drug habits in adult life. Drug abuse in adolescent years can affect one’s judgment and decision-making abilities.
Drug addiction can often damage trust among peers and lead to strained relationships. Law prevents one from acquiring or possessing illicit drugs, thus, individuals often resort to illegal means to obtain them. Drug-related legal troubles can lead to a number of complications like fines, arrests and a criminal record.