Drug Use and Addiction

Drug Use and Addiction

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Have you ever dealt with the effects of drugs firsthand? A drug is a substance which has a psychological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. The causes of drug use can vary depending on the person. According to “Causes and types of narcotic addiction: A Psychosocial View” in the Psychiatric Quarterly it says, “The causes of drugs stem from the manner of which you were introduced to it whether it be by abnormal curiosity, chance encounters with addicts and narcotic peddlers, or prolonged illness” (Ausubel). So in other words its somewhat bad luck if you become addicted. The effects of drugs can be different in certain people as well whether it be for pleasure or to take away the pain. Most of the effects of drugs occur in the brain, where it increases the level of dopamine at a specific site possibly giving the addict the pleasure they were feigning for (Robbins). I believe I was around the age of six when I started noticing the signs of my Aunty Wendy becoming extremely skinny and looking somewhat unhealthy. As a child I didn’t know much about drugs except for what your parents and teachers at school tell you which is,“Just Say No.”
The signs of a drug addiction consist of a high craving of drugs with no regard for the way in which it is acquired (Plos). Those signs are exactly the signs she showed in the kitchen that day besides how she physically looked. For awhile my aunt went missing due to drugs and then one day she turned up at the backdoor of my grandpa’s home. As I was playing on the steps of grandparents’ home I recognized my aunt. She was begging to come inside the house. Conveniently, enough, my Aunty Sharon, her sister, was in the kitchen and let her in, but my grandfather quickly put her back outside because he didn’t want her in his house if she was on drugs. Not too long after that day my Aunty Wendy got into trouble with drugs and was sent to rehab. According to “Drug Addiction Treatment Methods” on Drug-rehabs.com it says, “There are several types of drug abuse treatment programs. Short-term methods last less than 6 months and include residential therapy, medication therapy, and drug-free outpatient therapy. Longer term treatment may include, for example, methadone maintenance outpatient treatment for opiate addicts and residential therapeutic community treatment” (Drug).

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I’m sure my aunt went through one of these treatments. For a time things were looking up for her, but you never know how long the good things might last.
Sadly, my Aunty Wendy eventually went back to drugs and got sentenced to deportation back to Trinidad and Tobago, which is tropical country close to South America, her home country where the drugs are the main cause of crime for 8 to 10 years. At the end of the sentence she was to be tried again to see if she was fit to return to the United States, but it never happened because of the physical and mental state she was and still possibly is in. Unfortunately, the ending to this story isn’t a happy one because according to my Grandfather and family down in Trinidad she’s constantly going missing for days while also appearing drugged up when seen and lashing out due to her bipolar disorder. As you can see I have dealt with drugs and there are many causes/effects of drugs as well as some cases of recidivism.
When someone says, “You get that laugh or that smile from your father or your mother.” You don’t always believe them, but in some studies today it is said that if your parents or anyone in your family has a history of a drug addiction those traits in their genes have a decent chance of being passed down to the children causing problems for them later in life. According to the Drugs and Addiction article in the 2009 Addiction Journal, “Family, twin and adoption studies suggest that the heritability of substance use disorders is moderate to high (ranging from 0.30 to 0.70), with shared and non-shared environmental factors also important” (Wong). I didn’t think it was actually possible to inherit a trait that could cause me to be drug addict later on in life. Also there have been studies done by the Genome-wide association that identified variants in a chromosome that increase the risks of both lung cancer and nicotine dependence and associated smoking behavior (Amos). This was astonishing to me, even though I had some idea that there had to be some deeper cause to drug addiction besides the person getting hooked on it.
Drug addiction can cause many problems in a family, but most of all it can lead to a record that the addict never thought they would have when they first started using. Essentially a drug addiction is a disorder that causes the user to be helpless against the urge to keep using no matter what the cost or outcomes may be (Durrant). I’m not really surprised by this information, because in high school I learned a lot about Drug Addiction Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.). Most addicts find pleasure in the use of drugs when they first start out, but as time goes on the only reason that they use is to keep from feeling the pain of withdrawal (Kemp). This information was new to me because I didn’t know that withdrawal was such a problem with addicts. According to the “Familial Risk Factors Favoring Drug Addiction Onset”, “The ever-growing prevalence of opiate drug abuse has eventually led to crises in modern society and traditional family ways; it has jeopardized fundamental social virtues and values and led to a rise in criminal behavior” (Zimić). I can really empathize with this source because of the problems that my family dealt with my Aunty Wendy and still deal with these days when they go looking for her.
If drugs can give you pleasure then why isn’t everyone addicted to drugs? Well the answer is simple most people are aware of what harmful drugs can do to their system. If someone doesn’t know about harmful drugs it’s due to a lack of information given by the person distributing the drugs whether it be a friend, family member, or a drug dealer. In a sense this is probably the reason most kids today are targeted by people soliciting drugs, because they don’t know much about drugs and can sometimes be easily coaxed into using.

Drugs can affect us in many other ways besides making us drug addicts. According to “Drug Addiction and Its Underlying Neurobiological Basis: Neuroimaging Evidence for the Involvement of the Frontal Cortex” in the article of National Institute of Health, “The Frontal Cortical (front of the brain) are affected in addicted subjects during intoxication, craving, and bingeing, and they are deactivated during withdrawal” (Goldstein). When I first read that article I was bombarded by technical words about parts of the brain that I had to look up to further understand it. In the end I learned a lot about the brain in an addicts’ skull. Many drugs as well as alcohol have influenced several different chemical neurotransmitter systems in the brain affecting them in a manner where the dopamine level is increased or decreased (Zimić). I understand why this is true, because when I was younger in health class they would always say that drugs and alcohol have negative effects on your brain.
Drugs show different effects in everyone whether it be a man/woman. Both have exhibit different effects. According to Gender Differences in Crime, Drug Addiction, Abstinence, Personality Characteristics, and Negative Emotions article in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, “‘Research demonstrates that female drug addicts exhibit effects where they rarely have an urge to participate in violent crimes compared to males who exhibit negative crime like mannerisms,” (Chen). In some ways this made sense because men are naturally have aggressive nature even if its not constantly showing. Another side effect of drugs is destructive behavior that is seen most in children that have been neglected at a young age (Zimić). I can see the destructive behavior being possible in children because the relationship between children and their parents can be damaged easily at a young age.
So I hope from this information you’re able to understand how drugs can cause people to become addicts whether the reason they began using was due to it being passed from a family member or because of a bad relationship between the parents and their child. Even though we may turn a blind eye to it drugs will always be a problem in societies today whether we like it or not, but the most important thing is how we deal with it when it confronts us. All in all drugs aren’t a problem unless you make it one so take care of yourself and make the right choices.

Works Cited

Chen, Gila. "Gender Differences in Crime, Drug Addiction, Abstinence,
Personality Characteristics, and Negative Emotions." Journal of
Psychoactive Drugs 41.3 (2009): 255-66. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17
Feb. 2015.

Durrant, Russil, et al. "Drug Use and Addiction: Evolutionary Perspective."
Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 43 (2009): 1049-56.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.

Kemp, Ryan. "The Lived-Body of Drug Addiction."Existential Analysis: Journal of
the Society for Existential Analysis 20.1 (2009):120-32. Academic Search
Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.

Wong, Chloe C.Y., Jonathan Mill, and Cathy Fernandes. "Drugs and Addiction: An
Introduction to Epigenetics." Addiction 106.3 (2011): 480-89. Academic
Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.

Zimić, Jadranka Ivandić, and Vlado Jukić. "Familial Risk Factors Favoring Drug
Addiction Onset." Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 44.2 (2012): 173-85.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.
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