sng magazine

Drug Abuse

There are various reasons why people experiment with drugs and continue to use them even when the negative consequences are visibly clear. Some the reasons include escaping reality, fitting in, relieving boredom, rebelling, and experimenting. Regular drug use leads to drug abuse and addiction, a cycle a drug abuser is unable to break even though they exhibit the will-power to reform. Although the first choice to take drugs is voluntary, the drugs contain chemicals that alter the working of the brain ensuring an addicted person is unable to exercise self-control and desist from taking drugs.

Drugs contain chemicals that interfere with the brain’s nervous system disrupting the way nerve cells send, receive, and process information. The drugs cause the disruption by either imitating the brain’s chemical messengers or by over-stimulating the production of neurotransmitters by the nerve cells. For example, drugs such as heroin and marijuana contain chemicals that have a similar structure as neurotransmitters. The similarity in structure allows the drugs to prevent brain receptors from producing neurotransmitters naturally activating nerve cells to send abnormal messages.

Hard drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause nerve cells to overproduce natural neurotransmitter, or prevent the natural recycling of the brain chemicals. The excess neurotransmitters especially dopamine disrupts body functions such as motivation, movement, emotion, and feelings of pleasure. Consequently, the overstimulation of the brain reward system affects natural behavior linked to survival as well as euphoric responses to the drugs. As the drugs take hold in a person’s life, they may find it difficult to meet daily obligations such as keeping up job and school performance and neglecting family and social obligations. At this stage, the ability of the individual to stop the drug use is compromised. A user is said to be addicted and what started off as a voluntary choice turns into psychological and physical need.

Nonetheless, drug abuse is breakable with the right treatments and support. Disruptive effects can be counteracted to allow the addicted person to regain control of their life. The first step in breaking harmful drug abuse starts with the addicted individual admitting they have a problem, or are willing to listen to their loved ones who see and experience the negative effects of the drug abuse. In case, the person does not break the drug use; changes occur in the brain chemical circuits and systems. With long-term abuse, the brain attempts to compensate for the abnormal reward systems leading to impairing of the cognitive functions.