Drug addiction is a chronic disease that feeds the receptors in the brain, giving a feeling of high. From the first smoke, the first snowball, and the first snort onwards, the individual experiences a roller coaster ride fueled by gigantic “highs” and devastating “falls.” At times, the drug user could experience the feeling of going down the rabbit hole with no respite in sight from the barrage of hallucinations, negative feelings like self-doubt, withdrawal symptoms, etc.
From the time one wakes up until he or she finally rests for the day, a person addicted to drugs could be going through several emotional upheavals. A brief account of what he or she experiences is provided below.
- Feeding the beast: Drug addiction is a beast, an enormous beast that is always hungry. Hard to please. A person who has been drawn into the maze of drug use is constantly preoccupied with the task of obtaining drugs. From the time he or she wakes up, he is tasked by the “how,” “when” and the “where” to obtain drug. While the rest worry about food, job, friends, family and kids, a person living with a drug habit worries about the dwindling supply of drugs, and how he or she would get by another day without his or her dose of Vicodin, OxyContin or crack. As explained by someone who has been into drugs, feeding the drug habit is a full-time job, and the possibility of a person tending to other responsibilities, such as family, friends and job, is remote.
- Fending off the withdrawal scare: Quitting drugs is not easy. Most drugs cause physical dependence and addiction. As a result, a person who has been hooked on a drug for long is loath to leave it. Whether it is physical or psychological dependence, the pangs of drug withdrawal cause a relapse or remission and force the user to act, think and feel in ways that might seem bizarre or irresponsible to others. The withdrawal pangs may range from mild to severe. Even ordinary sleeping aids, such as Ambien, when used for long, result in withdrawal pain. Stronger drugs like opioids and meth, on the other hand, are associated with excruciatingly severe withdrawal symptoms and if there is no timely intervention it may even result in an overdose death. While drugs like heroin and cocaine are associated with a physical dependence, others, such as speed or hallucinogens, cause dependence that is psychological in nature.
- Euphoria quickly fades away: One of the primary reasons why people use drugs is because it causes the feeling of euphoria. Drugs such as 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), Ritalin, Adderall, amphetamine, meth and cocaine trigger the release of neurotransmitters and make one feel good. Euphoria is a feeling of happiness and well-being. However, the euphoria quickly fades away and one is left feeling dazed, lonely and sad.
- Drawn into the endless circle of manipulations and lies: Those who have the drug habit are not born liars or manipulators. Unfortunately, drug abuse and addiction could cause them to use unethical means, such as manipulations or lies. Most teens resort to lying to coerce money out of their parents. Lying about pursuing a new hobby or hitchhiking trip or paying off a car loan while all they care about is buying the next day’s supply of drugs could cause them to resent themselves in the long run.
- Losing friends and jobs: It is hard to keep a drug addiction a secret and employers are rarely sympathetic Drogenplakat to people who have a drug habit. Inevitably, the pressure of employment and feeding a drug habit too soon spirals out of control and the individual loses his or her job, self-respect and friends.
- Fearing being found alone dead or overdosed: There is always the fear of being found alone overdosed and dead. Overdosing deaths have shown a dramatic upsurge and it is reported that in 2015 alone, nearly 52,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, which included 33,000 deaths related to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids. In order to stem the tide of deaths due to overdosing, certain groups have called for safe houses or places where one can smoke or inject drugs under medical supervision.
There is hope
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2014, 7 million people in America aged 12 and older lived with a drug use disorder. The drug endemic is expected to continue unabated in 2017 as well. Apart from marijuana and cocaine, many fatal concoctions, such as fentanyl, are being shipped by the Mexican drug cartels or are home grown in underground labs. Drug addiction changes every aspect of a person’s life, not just his but also that of his or her friends, family and colleagues. It can cost a loved one his livelihood and even life if help is not found.