Many non-drug users are unfamiliar with the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction. They see the two as being hand-in-hand and if truth be known they are not so far off the mark.
To explain the very fine line between the two we will consider a huge misjudgment many users make, what drugs do to a person’s brain and the steady progression that causes increased use, escalating abuse and the stark reality of addiction.
Users should not kid themselves:
Those who see their drug habit escalating often kid themselves they are in control of the amount and regularity of use rather than the other way around.
If your drug use is currently escalating, please put the brakes on immediately. If you have tried but are finding this tough to achieve then do not hesitate to seek professional help.
What do drugs do to your brain?
It is common knowledge that different drugs cause different feelings and physical effects, but they all have one thing in common; repeated use of any drug can change the way the brain functions.
Addiction is an extremely complex disorder, but what is clearly understood is that its characteristics lie in the compulsive use of drugs.
The very fine line between abuse and addiction:
There is such a fine line between abusing drugs and addiction that many heavy users only realise this line has been crossed when they are over it.
Here are some key factors that turn occasional drug use into drug abuse and onward into addiction.
- Social integration – It is fairly common knowledge that most people experience initial drug use with others. It is often good friends who have had an earlier introduction to drugs and then encourage the first-timer to try. Others strike up new acquaintances with people who appear well versed and confident about drug taking. Curiosity is a natural instinct and even those who may be reluctant at first often give way to a ‘go with the flow’ attitude. Thankfully this is as far as many will go, and if they do use drugs again it will be on a very occasional basis.
- A backstop increases in importance – Those that persevere with drugs then reach a stage that should set the bells of concern ringing. Initial use of sharing a weekend spliff with mates, necking an ‘E’ at an all-night rave because those you are with have a stash, or even being offered and accepting a couple of lines of Coke at a party where everyone seems to be going for it should, but does not stop there. These enjoyable experiences encourage a person to dabble a few times a week.
- Daily acceptance – Gradually, unspoken, self-created excuses make every-day use an acceptable habit. Along with increased use comes a growing importance on how and where a regular supply can be secured. Alternative dealers are sought “just in case”. These actions clearly show that the importance of drugs is rapidly rising in a person’s list of priorities.
- Self-made excuses are in plentiful supply – Let’s face it, you do not have to try too hard to convince yourself of something if it is what you really want. The problem here is an active mind can conjure up easy to believe reasons in order to justify escalating drug use.
- Try to stop, unable to do so, all-consuming – It is a very sad fact that far too many drug users do not realise how deeply entrenched their drug use is. Things have gone from recreational and social, to a little more than is good for them, to a stage where even though they want to quit they simply cannot. The urge, need, desire and intense feelings are often overwhelming. The physical and psychological need overrides everything else in life. This is to the extent that even though an addict is fully aware of the hurt, harm and damage they are creating, they are powerless to stop use on their own.
A long road to recovery, but very achievable:
Thankfully professional help is available. Countless men and women over many decades have taken advantage of it.
Rehabilitation comes in a variety of guises. Many addiction specialists see well-respected inpatient rehab establishments as being particularly effective. They offer a sound base that can steadily be built on. Such empowerment and encouragement allows a clear sight of a drug free future.