An alcohol addiction is classified as the inability to stop drinking despite the user’s awareness of its harmful consequences. When people have crossed the threshold into desiring or craving alcohol, it can be detrimental to their own health and affect the people around them. After an alcohol-binge, the person may feel a strong surge of remorse, guilt and shame. Which leads them to seek out options that erase their feelings, thereby starting a perpetuating cycle of addiction.
An addiction to drugs is a repetitive behavior to compulsively seek and use the substance. Although the user is aware of the harmful consequences associated with the addiction, they still have a high desire to do so. Long term effects of drug addiction can lead to permanent degeneration of the brain. As the frequency of use increases, it negatively impacts a person’s self-image and lowers their ability to think rationally and clearly to resist the temptations.
In recent years, heroin addictions have been on the rise, especially among medical patients who are addicted to pain relieving prescription drugs. Heroin can be easier to obtain and a much cheaper alternative. Like other opiates, heroin manipulates the pleasure centers of the brain and releases floods of dopamine and endorphins. This removes the feeling of pain and causes a temporary sense of intense euphoria. As heroin use continues, a physical tolerance begins to develop, requiring one to seek out more and more of it to reach the same desired intensity. At the same time, the body begins to believe it does not need to produce its own dopamine and therefore starts to slow down its own production. This perpetuating cycle roots an addict to their disease and makes their situation seem extremely difficult to overcome.
A highly corrosive drug to the body is meth. The initial reaction to the drug can be a euphoric high but it soon results in emotional crashes that cause depression, fear, insomnia and paranoia. This high and low cycle makes users want to take more drugs to forget the negative side effects. This is often referred to as “chasing the high” and results in addiction. In addition to the chemical changes caused by meth, there are many physical changes as well, including the blackening of teeth, abrasions on the skin, and a general hollowness to the face resulting from lack of proper nourishment and sleep.
A drug is that commonly heard about in the news is oxycontin, a synthetic heroin. It is a very addictive opioid that is often prescribed by doctors. The addiction affects thousands of people in the U.S. alone and expands across all ethnicity, professions, ages, and income levels. Like other drugs, users develop a level of tolerance to oxycontin which can start a dangerous cycle.