The Impact of Being an Addict
Addiction is a serious disease that not only affects the addict but everyone in his or her life as well. A loving, caring person may transform into an egoistic, selfish person solely striving to seek another fix. They probably don’t believe that they have a problem, need help, or are doing anything wrong. So what happens to the once considerate friend or family member who becomes addicted to drugs? Is their sensitive self still in there, or have drugs forever transformed them into a lost monster? Let’s explore.
Here is an interesting video that gives insight into an addict’s mind:
Video Source: Nuggets Bird – Addiction Animation
Continuous Drug Use Changes the Brain
Unfortunately, an addict’s brain alters due to the use of drugs such as heroin, meth, cocaine, and others. A region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens releases the neurotransmitter dopamine whenever something associated with survival or breeding is done, such as eating and fornicating. Drugs trigger this same release of dopamine but heavier and longer lasting. Over time, the receptors in the brain that release dopamine, become exhausted and die, causing someone to need more and more drugs to feel the same amount of ecstasy. On top of that, they lose the rush of dopamine that everyday people experience in routines such as eating and having sex.
The Motivation to Do More Is Intense
Of course, drug users then do everything they can to find that comfortable high one more time, so they seek and use more to do so. They become behaviorally conditioned to associate anything that reminds them of their high experiences with getting high. If they shot up after breakfast, after every meal they will long for that same release. When they see the same people they get high with, they will remember the feelings of being high and crave it. There will be many cues in an addict’s life that trigger the longing for drugs, motivating them to the extreme to rediscover the surge of endorphins.
A Change in Personality
When an addict wants to get high, not much can get in their way. They may begin to lie to their friends and family about their whereabouts or to receive money, which they will use on drugs. People who love an addict will know that it is the drugs that are causing the manipulation, not their friend’s own will. However, the need for getting high is so strong that they seem to become a selfish, lying, egotistical person. Some drugs cause an addict to be paranoid or aggressive while others erase his or her self-respect so deeply that they may turn to illegal activities like robbery or prostitution to gain money for another fix.
An Internal Civil War
Usually, when an addict hits rock bottom, they long to change back to their normal selves, finally understanding how much they have hurt their friends, family, and themselves. However, breaking away from an addiction – the thing they sought for comfort, grew accustomed to, and loved – is extremely difficult. They will feel lost, lonely, worthless and insecure without their usual drugs, even though they know it’s the right thing to stop using. They will truly want to please the people around them, become clean and have a ‘normal’ life again, but the internal conflict of going through withdrawals and feeling deprived is a seriously intense struggle.
The longing for that high is so strong that addicts might think “one more time” will never hurt, that in fact, they don’t have a problem at all, that they can quit when they want to, or that it’s not fair because nobody wants them to have fun.
Support is Essential
Despite the lies, manipulation, lack of emotion and inflated egos, an addict is still a human who needs love and support, now more than ever. It takes a team effort to beat the disease of addiction, but with a strong support system (be it family, friends, and/or an addiction therapist), as well as plenty of direction, discipline, and motivation, overcoming addiction is doable. If an addict is truly determined to change, he or she are more than capable of doing so. It will take time and effort, but eventually an addict will be able to experience happiness in the day-to-day without relying on drugs.