IN our last article , we started to look at substance and alcohol abuse, and described what it really is and how it can affect an individual.
In today’s article, we will be continuing from where we left off.
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs.
A combination of factors influences risk for addiction.
The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.
Here are some examples:
The genes people are born with account for about half of a person’s risk for addiction.
Gender, ethnicity, other mental disorders
These may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life.
Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction.
Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk.
Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction.
This is particularly problematic for teens.
Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be, especially prone to risky behaviours, including trying drugs.
As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally is not a cure.
However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.
People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk of relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives.
Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioural therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.
Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.
Research has further shown that prevention programmes involving families, schools, communities and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction.
Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach is the key to helping people understand the possible risks of drug use.
Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.
A few things we need to remember about substance and alcohol abuse is that it is a chronic disease characterised by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control despite harmful consequences.
We also need to remember that brain changes that occur over time with drug use challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.
This is why drug addiction is also a relapsing disease.
When we make reference to a person relapsing, we are talking about the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.
Relapse indicates the need for more or different treatment.
Please, join us in our next article as we conclude on this matter.