According to an article published by the Sacramento Bee in the early part of 2012, the number of infants born addicted to drugs has seen a sharp increase in recent years. In fact, their research shows that one in 450 infants born in Sacramento is addicted to drugs, and there has been a specific rise in opiate addiction. These startling facts show just how gripping the disease of addiction is in Sacramento.
Anyone who has suffered from drug addiction can understand, but it is a little more difficult to grasp the overwhelming difficulty of quitting drug use if you’ve never been in that situation. If you are the family member of someone in Sacramento who is addicted to drugs, it is important for you to know how drastically addiction can change a person – emotionally and physically.
The article mentioned involves the love of a mother and her children, specifically her unborn child. However, when drug abuse has turned into addiction, the disease often wins an exhausting battle between protecting the child and using drugs. If it can overpower an expectant mother, it must be very strong indeed.
Co-Morbid Conditions May Affect Drug Addiction
Have you ever heard someone say that drug abuse is a way to self-medicate? Doctors prescribe drugs like morphine in hospitals to control pain. They prescribe anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax, to individuals suffering from PTSD or other disorders. Using the term “self-medicating” as it relates to the illegal use of any drug, including prescription drugs, may be more accurate than you think.
According to the experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many of the individuals who find themselves addicted to drugs suffer from another condition at the same time. Known as co-morbidity, this means that there are two or more issues to treat in an addiction treatment program instead of a case of simple addiction.
When a drug addict tries repeatedly to stop using their drug of choice, without also receiving treatment for the co-morbid condition, they may return to drug abuse to rid themselves of the pain, anxiety or depression that returns any time they are sober.
Drug Addiction Changes the Way the Brain Communicates
Research at the NIDA has shown that the brain changes physically when it is exposed to drugs. Different drugs will operate in different ways, but most of them affect the controlled release and absorption of certain brain chemicals, including dopamine.
Dopamine controls several functions in the human body, including our emotions, movements and reaction to pleasure. For instance, when we see something that makes us happy or excited, our brain releases dopamine from one neuron into the synapse where it communicates our emotion to the neurons next to it. Once the signal has been received, tiny sensors called reuptake inhibitors absorb the leftover dopamine. We experience the right amount of emotion for the situation at hand, and our brain controls the overall release of the chemicals.
Drugs can change how that dopamine is released and eventually our brain “forgets” how to make the dopamine on its own. In order to feel anything, the drug addict must use more and more of the drug. This can cause an addicted individual to use the drugs in an effort to simply feel normal.
Physical Withdrawal Can Be Difficult to Manage Alone
Depending upon the kind of drug to which an individual has become addicted, the physical withdrawal symptoms can be more difficult. Opiates, including prescription pain medication and heroin, can have worse symptoms when it comes to withdrawal as described by Medline Plus, for instance:
- Pain in the muscles, bones and joints
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills, cold sweats and hot sweats
- Sudden, uncontrollable jerking and spasms
When faced with these kinds of difficulties, many addicts will use again, “just once,” to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. When this happens, unfortunately, the process of addiction begins anew.
Getting help for a drug addiction can be as simple as calling an experienced and trained professional facility to learn more. Here at Axis, we offer treatment options that can help you and your family overcome the obstacles to sobriety by tailoring a program to work specifically for your needs and the needs of your family. Call us today to find out how we can help you make the right decisions to get well and lead a happy, productive life in Sacramento with those you love.