The Cycle of Addiction
Drug Addiction Follows A Cycle Like This:
The life cycle of addiction begins with a problem, discomfort or some form of emotional or physical pain a person is experiencing. They find this very difficult to deal with.
We start off with an individual who is basically good. This person encounters a problem or discomfort that they do not know how to resolve or cannot confront. This could include problems such as difficulty “fitting in” as a child or teenager, anxiety due to peer pressure or work expectations, identity problems or divorce as an adult. It can also include physical discomfort, such as an injury or chronic pain. The person experiencing the discomfort has a real problem. He feels his present situation is unendurable, yet sees no good solution to the problem.
Everyone has experienced this in life to some degree. The difference between an addict and the non-addict is that the addict chooses drugs or alcohol as a solution to the unwanted problem or discomfort.
Drugs And Problems
This person tries drugs or alcohol. The drugs APPEAR to solve his problem. He feels better. Because he now SEEMS better able to deal with life, the drugs become valuable to him. The painkilling effects of drugs or alcohol become a solution to their discomfort. Inadvertently, the drug or alcohol now becomes valuable because it helped them feel better. This release is the main reason a person uses drugs or drinks a second or third time. It is just a matter of time before he becomes fully addicted and loses the ability to control his drug use. Drug addiction, then, results from excessive or continued use of physiologically habit-forming drugs in an attempt to resolve the underlying symptoms of discomfort or unhappiness.
The Addiction Progresses…
The use of drugs or alcohol becomes obsessive. The addicted person is trapped. Whatever problem he was initially trying to solve by using drugs or alcohol fades from memory. At this point, all he can think about is getting and using drugs. He loses the ability to control his usage and disregards the horrible consequences of his actions.
How Drugs Affect Behavior
The addict will now attempt to withhold the fact of his drug use from friends and family members. He will begin to suffer the effects of his own dishonesty and guilt. He may become withdrawn and difficult to reason with. He may behave strangely.
The more he uses drugs and alcohol, the guiltier he will feel, and the more depressed he will become. He will sacrifice his personal integrity, his relationships with friends and family, his job, his savings, and anything else he may have in an attempt to get more drugs. The drugs are now the most important things in his life. His relationships and job performance will go drastically downhill.
Alcohol And Drug Tolerance
In addition to the mental stress created by his unethical behavior, the addict’s body has also adapted to the presence of the drugs. He will experience an overwhelming obsession with getting and using his drugs, and will do anything to avoid the pain of withdrawing from them. This is when the newly-created addict begins to experience drug cravings.
He now seeks drugs both for the reward of the “pleasure” they give him, and also to avoid the mental and physical horrors of withdrawal. Ironically, the addict’s ability to get “high” from the alcohol or drug gradually decreases as his body adapts to the presence of foreign chemicals. He must take more and more, not just to get an effect but often just to function at all.
At this point, the addict is stuck in a vicious downward spiral. The drugs he abuses have changed him both physically and mentally. He has crossed an invisible and intangible line. He is now a drug addict or alcoholic.
Drugs And Personality Change
The drug personality includes such characteristics as:
» Mood swings, unreliable.
» Unable to finish projects.
» Unexpressed resentment and secret hatreds.
» Dishonesty. Lies to family, friends, employers.
» Withdraws from those who love him. Isolates self.
» May appear chronically depressed.
» May begin stealing from family and friends.