Heroin addiction is a growing problem in the U.S., particularly among teenagers and especially in suburban areas. Part of the reason for this is that prescription drugs are becoming more expensive and harder for kids to obtain. Heroin’s relatively moderate price and wide distribution are making it young people’s drug of choice.
Prescription painkillers are well known to be a “gateway” to heroin use. As addiction increases, Mom and Dad’s medicine cabinet no longer does the trick. The cost of buying drugs outside the home to support a growing drug habit quickly becomes prohibitive. Heroin offers a more intense high at a lower cost, with easier access as supply grows to meet demand. As a result of these factors, initial use of heroin by 12- to 17-year olds has increased 80 percent since 2002, according to NBC News. Unfortunately, low cost and easy access are only part of the drug’s seduction.
What is Addiction
The causes of addiction have brought about a great number of debates in the medical world. Though many factors are considered as unknown, research has shown certain patterns that help scientists to understand the nature of addiction and where it is derived.
Addiction itself is a serious state and is commonly deemed an illness or disease. It does not discriminate and infiltrates every level of society, financial status, and all levels of intelligence. Addiction is best defined as not having control over the use of a substance or a certain behavior. Hence, a person can be addicted to risky opportunities and not just an intoxicating substance.
In many ways, this later perception of addiction is not taken seriously as one may hear another state that they are addicted to a certain brand of candy. What they are really saying is how much they love that particular sweet. This is very important to acknowledge because remember, addiction is extremely serious and at times a highly dangerous state for one to be in.
When the real-life dilemma of addiction is defined, it combines a loss of control when there is a consequential act that someone is unable to actively avoid. This in turn causes an apparent but inescapable harm to the user. In this notion of addiction, the user is aware of the consequences to come, but behaves against sound judgment. Those in this condition usually do know the repercussions to come, but are unable to release themselves from the behavior.
This type of addiction will enslave adults to watch their lives, careers, family, friends, and money be washed down a drain while powerless to stop it. The causes of this type of addiction are narrowed down to two factors though accepted research has shown that a third is also involved. The two primary factors that lead to addiction are environment and genetics.
The Environmental Factor to Addiction
When addiction is an environmental factor, it is then caused by the situations in one’s life. This factor usually plays its greatest role in persons growing up during their experience in youth. Because a person’s substance of choice is intended to alter their mental state, these types of use are derived from a person’s need or inability to cope.
The type of substances are called “mood altering substances.” What they do is allow the user to believe that they control their mood with it. It is their environment that potentially produces bad moods, and in turn they try altering it artificially. This happens while establishing the perfect foundation for substance abuse.
Though there are certain substances that are immediately addictive, the process of addiction will go through a phase and begin with abuse. Abuse leads to dependency, and the high level of any substance taken during dependency leads to addiction.
The factors of environment in addiction or substance abuse are not limited to the above mentioned however. The use of mood altering substances is not only initiated through stints of depression alone. For example, an environment where a substance is commonly used by a community may encourage one within that community to partake ignorantly. Peer pressure is also environmental.
In these cases, the term environmental suggests that as long as the user is separated from these environments, then their perceived need for the substance becomes diminished.
The Genetic Factor to Addiction
Genetic factors work quite differently. In the initiation of genetics, the aspect of environment can enable addictive factors, but even when the environment is not an instigating cause, dependency can easily evolve. It is actually not important to mention how dopamine works genetically because scientists are still surprised at how their levels don’t always produce addiction.
A person who has an addiction due to their genetic make up has what is called a genetic disposition. It is how someone’s brain is wired or gets wired once a particular substance is introduced. What this disposition does is very complex.
Contrary to belief, it doesn’t necessarily give them a better pleasure while under a substance’s influence. Some people can have what they consider a great experience and walk away without thinking of another dose. Those genetically disposed cannot do this by themselves.
What these substances do for the genetically addicted is create unpredictable actions and behaviors. People who are genetically disposed to substance addiction tend to not be themselves under its influence. More importantly, the active use of it creates an uncontrollable desire for more and this leads to what people in their lives will see as altered behavior.
Consider this equation: A man wants a million dollars and once he gets it, he is likely to be satisfied.
Because of this odd disposition that the genetically addictive have, they can have all of the substances they want, but will not be satisfied. It is common to find people with years of sobriety because as long as they don’t actually partake, they are in control and not in need. Just remember, those people also take the necessary steps to seek out help for their addictions.
Initiating the Effort for Help
The truth is that a person under the influence of addiction cannot mature beyond it by themselves. Probably the greatest step in making the change from addiction is summing up enough courage where the user will accept that they are addicted. Because of this reason, it is of great importance to consider an inpatient approach to treating an addiction.
Why a Person Fighting Addiction Must Seek Help
Addictions in whole are usually complex: the person situated in it cannot find a way out of it alone. The state of addiction – as mentioned earlier – is very serious and if it is addiction, its foundations have been firmly laid. What it will require is the type of changes that transform lives, perceptions, and character.
These types of intimate involvement of an addiction require that addictive persons seek professional assistance.
The sentiment here is simple. If a person with substance addiction could have avoided or overcome their circumstances alone, then they would not be addicted. The main goal is to hopefully end addiction altogether. However, the greatest means today is to interfere before addiction leads to irreversible consequences.
Those consequences could include the loss of all you have, prison time, and death as the worst of all.
By seeking help with opportunities like inpatient treatment, someone struggling with addiction can separate themselves from any type of negative environment while obtaining a staff of supporters who will also target the disadvantages that those genetically disposed have. With this type of service, a detailed treatment plan is initiated without bias or judgmental reasoning.
Someone taking this route will have ample time for detoxification and recovery in both physical and mental health around persons that also care.