Addiction is a disease that faces a lot of stigma in the United States. This could stem from the slow response by the government and other official entities to treat addiction as a medical condition, rather than a criminal one. As a result of this, there exists a stigma around addiction that leads to the entire blame being placed on the addict and fails to consider the other factors that lead to the development of the disease. This stigma and general misunderstanding around the disease leads to a low number of patients seeking help at treatment facilities, like drug rehab Austin. In some cases, less than 30 percent of all drug addicts seek professional help.
Addiction is a disease that prevents users from stopping their intake of the drug, despite the overwhelming disadvantages that it might be causing in their lives. These can include a loss of employment, homelessness, alienation from friends and family, in addition to the myriad of health effects that sustained drug use can have on a person. Drug use is hard to combat on one’s own because drugs alter our brain chemistry, primarily our reward pathways. These are the same pathways that reward a person with regards to hunger and sex drive, but the effects produced by drugs are exponentially higher. This leads to a chemical imbalance and decreased sensitivity to serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters involved in this process.
Addiction does not affect everyone equally. As discussed before, there are a variety of factors that can lead to a person using. These same factors can influence our ability to recover from the drug and affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which are experienced when a person goes through detox. Sometimes these symptoms are so pronounced that it is difficult to manage them without professional help, like at a drug detox austin tx.
Education about the effects and dangers of the drug can also contribute to an increased risk of use. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, nearly 20 million Americans aged 12 and over, have used an illegal substance once over the past year. Nearly half of all teenagers have tried marijuana and tobacco by the time they reach the twelfth grade and two-thirds of them have used alcohol. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand the factors that affect addiction
Genetics probably is the biggest factor when it comes to determining the risk of addiction. Almost 50 percent of a person’s risk is tied to their genetics. Genetics can affect how easily the drugs bind to receptors in the brain, the severity of withdrawal symptoms, metabolism, and a myriad of other factors associated with addiction.
The Addiction Center reports that on average, males are more likely to abuse drugs. Almost 12 percent of men surveyed had a Substance Abuse Disorder, compared to 6.4% of women. This disparity is tied to differences in their biology, namely metabolism, and hormones, but also includes societal factors, like gender roles and pressures assigned to the two genders.
While children are at a higher risk of developing addiction due to the increased effects that drugs have on their brains during development, individuals aged 18-25 have the highest number of reported cases of addiction. Many people find independence and face a variety of changes and stresses during this time, given that they no longer have supervision and rarely have external accountability. However, individuals aged 65 and over carry significant risk, as drugs could interact with pre-existing conditions and exasperate them.
If you or a loved one needs help recovering from an addiction, reaching out for help is both the most important, and difficult step. However, loved ones can make a difference in your chances for recovery. Professional help, such as drug detox austin, can also help your chances of making a long-term change.