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Why Do We Use?

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

The question really is why do I use? It's a deeply personal choice, one that trumps all other choice's. What I want to explore is just that, the choice.



The Choice.


I have no definitive answer as to why I made the choice to use it but I want to understand it. I have really no more than a set of unanswered questions surrounding this subject so that's about all I can outline right now. In 'NA' Narcotics Anonymous they make the very real and sensible statement 'Just Dont Pick Up' you see if we choose not pick up then all the other questions, problems and addiction just goes away! If only it were that simple.


So here's my No1. The Big Question


If it could kill me everytime I pick it up, why make the choice to use?


I guess the first question should be: If I'm hurting everyone around me, all those that love me, surely I'd put that before anything else and not pick up? Well the truth is that drugs kill your emotions. They rape you of any feelings of empathy and your natural ability to consider others feelings, needs and emotions either above or in relation to your own. This subject is huge and im going to do some serious soul searching and research before I even attempt to answer it!


Question No2.


If I'm hurting everyone around me, all those that love me, surely I'd put that before anything else and not pick up?


See Above....


Question No3.


Is this form of self medicating that is so effective short term, not worth looking at a bonafide 'REAL' medical support instead?


So for all those that are reading this that are not addicts and have any knowledge of truly addictive drug use you'll be aware that the prolonged use of drugs is for most a form of self medication. This can either be a physical condition I.e. Pain relief or as in the majority of addicted users a phycological form of medication.


The Science Bit

(Thanks to www.drugabuse.gov)


The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. This three-pound mass of gray and white matter sits at the center of all human activity—you need it to drive a car, to enjoy a meal, to breathe, to create an artistic masterpiece, and to enjoy everyday activities. The brain regulates your body's basic functions, enables you to interpret and respond to everything you experience, and shapes your behavior. In short, your brain is you—everything you think and feel, and who you are. Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body. This allows the drugs to attach onto and activate the neurons. Although these drugs mimic the brain’s own chemicals, they don’t activate neurons in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being sent through the network. Other drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals by interfering with transporters. This too amplifies or disrupts the normal communication between neurons.


How do drugs produce pleasure?


Pleasure or euphoria—the high from drugs—is still poorly understood, but probably involves surges of chemical signaling compounds including the body’s natural opioids (endorphins) and other neurotransmitters in parts of the basal ganglia (the reward circuit). When some drugs are taken, they can cause surges of these neurotransmitters much greater than the smaller bursts naturally produced in association with healthy rewards like eating, hearing or playing music, creative pursuits, or social interaction.It was once thought that surges of the neurotransmitter dopamine produced by drugs directly caused the euphoria, but scientists now think dopamine has more to do with getting us to repeat pleasurable activities (reinforcement) than with producing pleasure directly.


Why are drugs more addictive than natural rewards?


For the brain, the difference between normal rewards and drug rewards can be likened to the difference between someone whispering into your ear and someone shouting into a microphone. Just as we turn down the volume on a radio that is too loud, the brain of someone who misuses drugs adjusts by producing fewer neurotransmitters in the reward circuit, or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive signals. As a result, the person's ability to experience pleasure from naturally rewarding (i.e., reinforcing) activities is also reduced. This is why a person who misuses drugs eventually feels flat, without motivation, lifeless, and/or depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that were previously pleasurable. Now, the person needs to keep taking drugs to experience even a normal level of reward—which only makes the problem worse, like a vicious cycle. Also, the person will often need to take larger amounts of the drug to produce the familiar high—an effect known as tolerance.


Question No4.


What are the other health consequences of drug addiction?


People with addiction often have one or more associated health issues, which could include lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental health conditions. Imaging scans, chest X-rays, and blood tests can show the damaging effects of long-term drug use throughout the body.


For example, it is now well-known that tobacco smoke can cause many cancers, methamphetamine can cause severe dental problems, known as meth mouth, and that opioids can lead to overdose and death. In addition, some drugs, such as inhalants, may damage or destroy nerve cells, either in the brain or the peripheral nervous system (the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord).


Drug use can also increase the risk of contracting infections. HIV and hepatitis C (a serious liver disease) can occur from sharing injection equipment or from unsafe practices such as condom-less sex. Infection of the heart and its valves (endocarditis) and skin infection (cellulitis) can occur after exposure to bacteria by injection drug use.


Drug use and other mental illness often co-exist. In some cases, mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia may come before addiction. In other cases, drug use may trigger or worsen those mental health conditions, particularly in people with specific vulnerabilities.


Some people with disorders like anxiety or depression may use drugs in an attempt to alleviate psychiatric symptoms. This may exacerbate their mental disorder in the long run, as well as increase the risk of developing addiction. Treatment for all conditions should happen concurrently.


Question No5.


Can addiction be treated successfully?


Yes, addiction is a treatable disorder. Research on the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of research-based methods that help people to stop using drugs and resume productive lives, also known as being in recovery.


Question No6.


Can addiction be cured?


Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn't a cure. But addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction's disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.

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