An introduction to alcoholism and the factors leading to the addiction

Trying drugs may fulfill all of these normal developmental drives, but in an unhealthy way that can have very serious long-term consequences. The family environment is also important: Violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or drug use in the household increase the likelihood an adolescent will use drugs.

An introduction to alcoholism and the factors leading to the addiction

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of an organ in the body, both have serious harmful effects, and both are, in many cases, preventable and treatable.

If left untreated, they can last a lifetime and may lead to death. Facing Addiction in America: Modified with permission from Volkow et al. These fMRI images compare the brain of an individual with a history of cocaine use disorder middle and right to the brain of an individual without a history of cocaine use left.

The person who has had a cocaine use disorder has lower levels of the D2 dopamine receptor depicted in red in the striatum one month middle and four months right after stopping cocaine use compared to the non-user.

The level of dopamine receptors in the brain of the cocaine user are higher at the 4-month mark rightbut have not returned to the levels observed in the non-user left. Why do people take drugs? In general, people take drugs for a few reasons: Drugs can produce intense feelings of pleasure.

This initial euphoria is followed by other effects, which differ with the type of drug used. For example, with stimulants such as cocaine, the high is followed by feelings of power, self-confidence, and increased energy. In contrast, the euphoria caused by opioids such as heroin is followed by feelings of relaxation and satisfaction.

Some people who suffer from social anxiety, stress, and depression start using drugs to try to feel less anxious.

Drug Misuse and Addiction | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Stress can play a major role in starting and continuing drug use as well as relapse return to drug use in patients recovering from addiction.

Some people feel pressure to improve their focus in school or at work or their abilities in sports. This can play a role in trying or continuing to use drugs, such as prescription stimulants or cocaine.

Curiosity and social pressure. In this respect, teens are particularly at risk because peer pressure can be very strong. Teens are more likely than adults to act in risky or daring ways to impress their friends and show their independence from parents and social rules.

If taking drugs makes people feel good or better, what's the problem?

Get help for alcoholism today.

When they first use a drug, people may perceive what seem to be positive effects. They also may believe they can control their use.

But drugs can quickly take over a person's life. Some people may start to feel the need to take more of a drug or take it more often, even in the early stages of their drug use.

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These are the telltale signs of an addiction. Even relatively moderate drug use poses dangers. Consider how a social drinker can become intoxicated, get behind the wheel of a car, and quickly turn a pleasurable activity into a tragedy that affects many lives.

Occasional drug use, such as misusing an opioid to get high, can have similarly disastrous effects, including overdose, and dangerously impaired driving.

Do people freely choose to keep using drugs?Alcoholism is a chronic disease that makes the body dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism develops over time, to the point where the alcoholic becomes obsessed over alcohol, can no longer control alcoholic intake, and drinking causes serious problems with health, relationships, finances and work.

The leading factors usually associated with alcoholism are genetics and psychological and social factors. Alcoholism’s Effects on Genetics There is a growing amount of scientific evidence that suggests genetics play a major role in alcoholism.

Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, is an addiction to alcohol. Here's what you need to know about symptoms, treatment, prevention, and more. According to the American Medical Association, "alcoholism is an illness characterized by significant impairment that is directly associated with persistent and excessive use of alcohol.

In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs will lead to drug use and addiction. Protective factors, on the other hand, reduce a person's risk.

Risk and protective factors may be either environmental or biological. With genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors all working together to result in addiction, it makes sense that each plays a significant part (though the balance is no doubt different in each.

An introduction to alcoholism and the factors leading to the addiction
Introduction | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)