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Drugs and Alcohol Essay 2: Causes and Effects of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction occurs as a result of chronic relapsing of the brain due to compulsion to use a harmful drug. Drugs alter neurotransmitters leading to addiction. The neurotransmitters affect the central nervous system by inducing emotions such as ecstasy, tranquility, and relaxation and temporary blocking of pain (Compton & Volkow, 2006). There are many factors which cause substance abuse and subsequent addiction. This paper highlights the significant physiological, psychological and emotional factors that cause drug abuse and addiction and the consequences of addiction. The paper uses the cases of Susan who is addicted to alcohol, Greg who is addicted to prescription drugs and Gayle who is addicted to non-prescription drugs to evaluate the causes and effects of drug addiction.
Physiological factors relate to the environment in which a person grows and their overall physique. Physiological factors can cause drug abuse and addiction. The environment of upbringing is the leading physiological predictor of drug use and addiction. Children who grow up in neighbourhoods of drug abusers and drug barons are more likely to abuse drugs and become addicted than children who grow up in drug-free settings. Children whose parents, peers, mentors and guardians use drugs and alcohol are more likely to abuse the same drugs than children who grow up without such influences (Vengeliene, Bilbao, Molander & Spanagel, 2008).
The environment plays an important role in shaping the destiny of a child. Settings like schools, colleges and universities provide grounds for drug abuse. Peer pressure from friends in such institutions and neighbourhoods lead may people into drug abuse of prescription drugs (Compton & Volkow, 2006). Susan was most likely exposed to an alcoholic neighbourhood or role models while Greg and Gayle were exposed to surroundings of people who abused prescriptive and non-prescriptive drugs respectively.
Mental instability is a biological or physical factor which can affect a person’s choice of drugs. Genetic susceptibility may leave a person vulnerable to drug and addiction due to hereditary disorders. Mentally instable people are more likely to use drugs than normal people.
Psychological and emotional factors relate to the mental stability or its susceptibility to influence due to prevailing circumstances in life. Stressful life may cause people to start using drugs. Stress may be caused by a change in the place of living, conditions of living, demise of loved ones, work, spouse, financial instability and other factors which are unique to each person (Nestler, 2014). Social pressure from friends and colleagues can also impart a psychological and emotional effect on an individual leading to drug abuse and addiction. Friends and peers may impose rules which must be followed to be allowed into their circles. When such rules include the consumption of drugs, the victim may feel emotionally pressured to yield. Financial stress may cause a person to take drugs in order to forget their woes. Continuous consumption of drugs to escape from financial stress leads to addiction which is even harder to deal with. Emotional stress coming from family relationships, work, school, physical appearance, discrimination or low self-esteem may also lead one into drugs and addiction.
Alcohol and drug addiction results in many direct and indirect biological, psychological and emotional consequences. The consequences depend on the type of drug one is addicted to, the period of addiction and the person’s health among other factors (World Health Organization, 2014). Short-term physical effects of drug addiction include loss of appetite, organ damage, hormone imbalance, prenatal and fertility issues, insomnia, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, mood swings, violence, trauma, injury, higher susceptibility to communicable diseases, stroke, and overdose of drugs, heart attack, hangovers, tiredness and even death (World Health Organization, 2014. Long-term effects include heart and lung diseases, mental instability, madness, HIV/AIDS, inanity, insanity, irresponsibility, hepatitis and death. Drug addiction can also cause negative effects on work, decision making, education and relationships with other people. Psychological effects of drug addiction include craving, wild mood swings, depression, hallucinations, confusion, suicide, complicated mental illnesses, and loss of interest in life, paranoia, violence and desire to engage in criminal activity. Emotional effects may include low self-esteem and emotional trauma
Compton, W. M., & Volkow, N. D. (2006). Abuse of prescription drugs and the risk of addiction. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 83, S4-S7.
Nestler, E. J. (2014). Epigenetic mechanisms of drug addiction. Neuropharmacology, 76, 259-268.
Vengeliene, V., Bilbao, A., Molander, A., & Spanagel, R. (2008). Neuropharmacology of alcohol addiction. British journal of pharmacology, 154(2), 299-315.
World Health Organization, & World Health Organization. Management of Substance Abuse Unit. (2014). Global status report on alcohol and health, 2014. World Health Organization.