Thefirst learning point of this paper is that drug addiction is acontinuous process starting from casual drug use, abuse, andaddiction. In turn, the occasional use of drugs leads to illnessesand accidents. Individuals that try drugs tend to use themoccasionally and some moderately. Even for first-time users, seizuresor heart attacks can occur. Drug use or abuse leads to drugaddiction. This learning point demonstrates that first-time users canend up in ICU or dead since their bodies are not used to the drugs.One does not have to be addicted to drugs to suffer from its effects(Sheff, 2013). Actually, numerous fatalities result from excessivedrinking or a combination of wrong drugs. There is a subtledifference between drug dependence and addiction depending on theamount and persistent use of drugs.
Continuous use of drugs leads to addiction, whereby problematicconsequences are consistent and are likely to escalate. Anindividual`s motivation appears to change when he or she becomesaddicted. First-time users are more susceptible because their brainsare not fully developed, and thus, the impact of these substancesaffects their nervous system (Sheff, 2013). In addition to their age,there are other risk factors such as genetics that plays a role.Here, individuals with psychiatric illnesses like bipolar disorder,depression, or anxiety disorder, indicate that this regular use canbe an ongoing desperation or futile attempt to appear and feel"normal."
Secondly, addicts are not weak, unethical, or selfish as it ispresumed, but ill. Here, addiction is a disease, and until oneunderstands that a loved one has a brain disease, the transformationfrom drug use to addiction may defy logic. Seeing addiction as adisease will help in the transformation of an approach to publicpolicy, insurance, research, and criminality. It will also changeways of handling addicts. This learning point is emphasized by how“disease” is defined, whereby according to Sheff (2013), itrefers to an interruption, disorder, or cessation of the body, organstructure, system, or function. It is also a morbid entity, which ischaracterized by criteria such as recognized etiologic agents,identifiable groups of symptoms and signs, or consistent alterationsin anatomy. Drug addiction fits into any of these criteria.
While drugs result in structural changes in the brain, majority ofdrug-related diseases are mental meaning the most widespread changesare functional. It emerges that the drugs appear to take over thebrain`s receptors by binding them together. This is one way thatdemonstrates how drugs interfere with the functionality of the brain.Moreover, right measures should be taken early enough before thedamage is irreversible. Backing up this learning point is thehallmark, making up the addiction disease, which is the alteredsmooth flow of neurotransmitter known as dopamine (Sheff, 2013). Thecondition occurs when the brain of an addict adapts to the importantnature of one or more drug substance to achieve the same effect. Thebrain also becomes more dependent on the drug(s). The dependence onthe substances explains reasons why the addicts cannot stop.Additionally, the disease is progressive and chronic, which worsensover time. Like many cancers and cardiovascular diseases, they tendto advance unless the addiction is handled
Thirdly, one should not be in denial, hide it, or wait for thecondition to hit rock bottom since it is fatal. People tend to figureout a solution whenever they are faced with life-threateningillnesses or situations. These individuals often want to recover bygetting proper treatment. However, because of the cognitiveimpairments and living in denial, many drug addicts fail to do whatneeds to be done, which is to seek medical help. It is notanosognosia only, which stops the users from seeking assistance. Fordrug addicts, self-denial is a self-preservation approach andjustification for their continuing pursuit of drug use even when theyare ruining their lives.
Drug addicts fail to comprehend that they are ill, and thus donothing to seek assistance. Some drug addicts may finally seektreatment only after they have bolted out of denial following one ortwo tragic events. This learning point opens up some of the reasonsfor denial before a person jolts out of the problem. For some, it isenough to lose a relationship or a job, while for others they have toget ill before deciding to seek medical help. Such instances arereferred to as cumulative effects, which represent addiction cyclesforcing some to seek treatment (Sheff, 2013). Additionally, hittingrock bottom is associated with a traumatic event such as an overdose,arrest, violence, or even other accidents. Though such scenarios meanthe commencement of recovery for some addicts, it also acts as adangerous construct. Moreover, for every person hitting rock bottomanother one is seeking assistance. They would experiencecatastrophes, which are critical for them, but drug addicts may notstop abusing the substance even after experiencing multiplefatalities.
Sheff, D. (2013). Clean: Overcoming addiction and ending America`sgreatest tragedy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt