The average drug addict will maintain only up to one year of substance abuse before their finances, friendships, and family dissolve leaving them with fewer means to obtain their drug of choice and harsher consequences that often lead to homelessness, injury and crime. Drug addiction turmoil is a severe form of physiological dependence that manifests in compulsive and repetitive behaviors regardless of the adverse side effects caused by those behaviors. Addiction can predispose itself to any habit and hobby; otherwise natural and healthy habits like eating, intercourse, and exercise can become dangerous repetitions for people who have predilections for addictive behaviors.
Drinking and gambling are common forms of addiction that leave people in financial ruin with dysfunctional lives, but perhaps the most dangerous kind of addiction is the compulsive use of drugs which are potent substances that are dangerous in moderation, and fatal in excess. The fact that so many drugs contain addictive substances complicates the situation, creating drug addiction turmoil with addictive behaviors in otherwise balanced physiologies and drawing hundreds of thousands more into the endless loop of addiction.
The statistics are alarming, netting millions of drug numbers in the United States alone:
- In 2010, over 20 million people above the age of 12 needed treatment for substance abuse.
- Almost 5 million emergency department visits a year are for drug-related problems.
- Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs have run up over $600 million in healthcare costs.
- More than 60 million prescriptions for Valium were given out by American doctors, highlighting an increasing problem involving drug addictions to prescription medications.
Although recreational use of cocaine and heroin has been contained since the explosion during the 1970s and 80s, they are still widely circulated and illegally available from drug dealers whose businesses have increased their revenue thanks to the introduction of crystal methamphetamine, which has become a drug epidemic unto itself. The worldwide production of meth is estimated at 500 metric tons every year serving over 24 million users. In 2008, 13 million United States citizens used meth, with half a million addicts returning for repeat business. States like New Mexico, Arizona, and California have been ravaged by the drug, while populations in Hawaii report as much as 50% of addicts in rehabilitation centers citing meth as their primary addiction.
The preponderance of prescription opioids has resulted in the drug addiction turmoil of millions addicted to painkillers. Prescription stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall have become the drugs of choice in many universities, and although they account for a small portion of new addictions, the rise in the popularity and accessibility of stimulants does not bode well for future generations. Depressants like Xanax and Valium are also responsible for a slice of the prescription drug market, prescribed to treat sleep disorders and anxiety problems but widely circulating through underground markets and independent suppliers courtesy of their addictive properties.
The Life and Death of a Drug Addict
Addiction is a dangerous compulsivity to have, and the lives of drug addicts are remarkably similar in their downward spiral and results. Whether addicts are abusing something as destructive and poisonous as crystal methamphetamine or a prescription of Xanax, their physical health will deteriorate in tandem with their addiction. Their financial situation will be compromised to continue their habits, and their relationships will be strained or broken by the person’s inability to quit their drug of choice with willpower alone. Those addicts who do not seek help, inpatient treatment or rehabilitation inevitably abuse their drug until it bankrupts them or kills them.
The reality of addiction is that it is a compulsion without an end, and drug addicts will continue to abuse prescription stimulants, depressants, meth, cocaine, and opioids until they are physically or feasibly no longer capable of maintaining their addiction. Unfortunately, most addicts do not stop when they have lost their friends and their finances but continue to find ways to sustain their habit until their bodies break down.
Questions of why a person would do this to themselves are beside the point. Addiction happens with or without a person’s conscious consent, and when it’s paired with substances that have their addictive properties, the chemical reactions are a proverbial death sentence.
Every manner of the drug comes packaged with its chemical euphoria, and this is the reason why many prescription drugs are handed out to patients by their doctors. Many drugs cause beneficial side effects if used in moderation, but moderation is a difficult thing to maintain for a person suffering from addiction.
- Stimulants are prescribed to patients to help balance out dopamine and other chemicals, helping people who suffer from depression and other ‘low moods’ improve their energy levels and functionality in everyday life.
- Depressants are prescribed to settle down detrimental flares of pain, anger and other chemical imbalances.
- Many recreational drugs surge dopamine levels, giving people feelings of pleasure. Meth, heroin, and cocaine all fall into this category, and many times the spikes in pleasure are so intense that people without addictive dispositions find themselves at the mercy of repeating the cycle of drug abuse just to chase the feeling.
- Medicinal drugs are frequently used by physicians and the medical community at large in treating chemical imbalances and diseases, lending some legitimacy to the positive side of drugs.
But even the best intentions and compounds can become detrimental to a person’s life when they fall into compulsive cycles of addiction. Drugs are also readily available chemical solutions to many people who suffer from personal problems like abuse, trauma or issues of depression and anxiety. A person’s genes, environment, upbringing, and culture can all contribute to their likelihood of substance abuse, and drugs hit the fastest and hardest in areas of extreme poverty, lifting people from the difficulty of their circumstances and creating a difficult situation to remedy with warnings alone.
The Light In The Darkness of Drug Addiction Turmoil
There is good news on the drug addiction front.
The propensity of drugs has created a vast accommodation of treatment centers that specialize in every type of drug under the sun, introducing addicts to addicted peers and counselors that try to curb the downward spiral of drug addiction turmoil. There is no arguing that drug addiction leads to ruin, but every addict has their own ‘bottom’ — the point in their addiction when they have lost everything and cannot continue to deny their present circumstances. Addiction puts jobs, relationships, and prospects in jeopardy, but the addiction itself is not put into jeopardy until the addict is removed from the environment that propagates the substance abuse, and that can be a long road to walk when every street corner is outfitted with dirt-cheap meth and off-label prescription drugs.
The world is more inundated with drugs than ever before, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Drug addicts are in the national spotlight, and with infamy comes coverage. The popularity of drugs has created a national discussion on the topic. Underground channels of crystal methamphetamine, opioids, Percocet, and oxycontin are no longer underground, with mainstream outlets acknowledging the problem and investing the causes, contributions, and contexts that have created a culture of drug addiction turmoil that reaches tens of millions of US citizens each year.
Treatment clinics and outreach programs are spreading just as quickly as the drugs themselves, while the over-prescription of addictive stimulants and depressants is being debated in Washington. The rose-colored glasses are off, and legislation is hard at work drafting up solutions to a statistically ineffective drug war that began nearly half a century ago under Richard Nixon. As marijuana wrestles with legalization, medical communities are taking a good long look at the addictive properties and implementing educational programs to teach the next generation of children about the substantial risks they will be facing in the years to come. Treatment clinics and cooperative psychiatrists have also taken great strides in understanding addiction as an illness and treating it accordingly.
Contact A Forever Recovery today for more information on drug addiction turmoil and how you or a loved one can benefit from our treatment program.