Addiction to illicit substances, such as cocaine or prescription drugs no name a couple, is a disease that affects over 19 percent of the United States population, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.
Addiction is a highly misunderstood disease because there is a social stigma that blames addicts rather than considering how addiction affects brain chemistry, and because of a lack of education and access to rehabilitation facilities, like drug rehab Austin.
Addiction affects an individual’s ability to stop the intake of the drug, despite the disastrous effects it may have on their lives. These effects can include the loss of a job, homelessness, alienation of loved ones, engagement in criminal activity, to say nothing of the health effects that these drugs have on the patient’s body.
Drugs trap their users because the sustained use of the drug over time can increase the body’s tolerance to it, leading to drug users having to increase the dosage to feel the desired effects.
Add to this the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which manifest when an addict stops the intake of their drug. These symptoms can include an increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, chills, tremors, sweating to name a few, and can increase in severity the longer the patient has been exposed to the drug.
This is why detoxing from drugs should be done under licensed medical personnel or at a detox facility, such as drug detox Austin TX.
Almost all drugs affect dopamine production in the brain’s reward pathways. This is the same chemical involved in feelings of pleasure and the neurotransmitter that defines pleasure pathways in the brain.
This is usually involved with rewards related to food or sex, but drugs produce a response that is at least five times greater than normal. And given that this part of the brain is older, it is harder for us to resist the drive produced with the newer, more logical part of our brain.
Teens and children, who are still undergoing complete brain development, are particularly vulnerable as they would find it extremely difficult to resist the drive generated by the effect drugs have on the brain’s reward pathways.
Additionally, children who have not yet developed other coping mechanisms might start using and find it hard to stop the one thing that “solves” all their problems.
Being observant of your child and noticing changes in their behavior might be instrumental in catching drug abuse early. Signs of drug use to watch out for can include:
- Changes in energy levels
- Changes to speech pattern
- Decreased performance at school or extracurriculars
- Changes in friend groups
- Agitation/ Secretiveness
It is vital that parents keep a healthy line of communication with their children. Alienating them by trying scare tactics and threats might have a negative effect, as this might push them into using even more and they might start to hide it.
Understanding that drug addiction is a curable disease is the first step in providing a stable support system to allow for the best chances of recovery for your teen. Reaching out to an outpatient program or a detox facility, like drug detox Austin, might be instrumental in starting their recovery.