According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.
People who suffer from any sort of addiction will pursue the substance that gives them the sensation that they seek even if it greatly impacts their lives in a negative way. All concerns about family, friends, and self-care are pushed to the sides and their main focus would be on using a particular substance. People with addiction tend to have strained personal and professional lives. The substances they use can completely rewire their brains and have a disastrous effect on their mental and physical health. The addictive substance that is used by an individual after getting into the body will switch on a particular area in the brain that operates the reward circuitry.
Hormones that make you feel good are released and your body learns to associate happiness or pleasure with that particular action. It gets worse when your tolerance to the substance increases as you are exposed to it for a longer period of time. This means that the individual will have to use a higher dosage to get the desired effect. Breaking the grip of addiction can be a long hard road which will be even more difficult for people with mental illnesses as they use the substances to self medicate for their symptoms. About 50% of individuals with severe mental illness are also suffering from substance abuse and many times these disorders are the cause of their addiction.
Alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes are gateway drugs used by younger individuals which pushes them into harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and meth later in life. When young children move on to teen years, their friends may start introducing them to these gateway drugs and the kids may actually start smoking or drinking to get acceptance from a particular group. This can later develop into more dangerous territories. It breaks trust in relationships and cultivates fear in the mind of their loved ones. Communication can become negligible in families who house an addict.
Children from families with an addicted parent are more likely to engage in substance abuse later in life as well. The long hard journey of becoming sober again can be exhausting but it is worth it to have your family’s love and happy and healthy life again.
There are many organizations that you can reach out to get help. They will help you and guide you through your journey to get better and healthier without judgment or biases.