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Drug Addiction and Natural Recovery

Drug addiction definition in simple terms is when dependence on drugs takes a severe turn for the worse. The brain chemistry becomes dependent on the drug, leading to compulsive use of the drug. There is a total and complete physical dependence on the drug. The drug starts to produce tolerance, meaning increasing amounts of the drug are required to produce or achieve the same effect. Over the recent years the habit of taking drugs has increased at a rapid pace worldwide. There is a strong tendency to increase the dosage levels of the drug. What is more alarming is the fact that the number of people taking drugs in developed countries is increasing alarmingly. In USA for a population close to 312 million, the number of people taking drugs is around 25 million, which is more than eight percent of the population. It is just a matter of time before it crosses the 10 percent mark.

Drug addiction is a serious health problem wherein the individual craves a drug in order to experience its psychological effects, such as lessening of stress or anxiety, a sense of relaxation, peace and euphoria. Several chemicals, long used to cause mild euphoria without any addiction, are now hazardous and dangerous because of methods of administration of potent versions. Cocaine is a perfect example of this. Coca leaves have been chewed in many societies over centuries. Refined extraction of the active principle and changes in the route of administration from the mouth to the nose and then to smoking or intravenous has resulted in the rapid entry of the active principle to the brain. The euphoria effect is produced within minutes. The person experiencing this feeling craves for more and hence leads to drug addiction or dependence.

Drug addiction usually passes through four main stages. Stage 1 is the stage of experimenting. The person is seeking new means of pleasures. The person is confident he can handle the drug well and come out of it whenever he wants. He is eager to discover uncharted territories. The perfect example for this is the adolescent user.

Stage 2 is the casual usage stage. The major cause in continuing from the experiment to the casual stage is that the drug facilitates social interactions by removing some of the self-induced social inhibitions. Many persons feel it makes them freer in interactions with others. Peer pressures are also major contributory factors. Negative peer pressure makes up to do harmful things and habits. The person is persuaded to take drugs because the group is taking it. Teasing, ridiculing, name-calling, demanding, embarrassing, cold shoulder or threatening often does this. The person succumbs to the pressure and starts taking drugs because he or she wants to stay in the group. Pressure can also happen at a party, where drugs are used. The person takes it to fit into the group. Some people put pressure on others to have drugs so that they feel less alone or guilty about their own behavior. There are some dangerous people who simply want to make quick and big money by pressurizing their friends to have drugs.

The dependent use is Stage 3. The person becomes a victim of his habit. He has to continue using the drug since non-consumption produces withdrawal symptoms, like nausea, diarrhea or extreme pain. This is still not a hopeless situation, since the user will not refuse assistance to come out of drugs.

Stage 4 is the hopeless stage. The person refuses assistance. The brain's response to the drug gets altered permanently as the addiction develops and increases. The compulsion or urge to take drugs is so strong, that it happens even in the absence of physical withdrawal symptoms. The person shows signs of gross physical, social and psychological deterioration. He or She can go or stoop to any level, including unlawful means to procure drugs. The urge is so strong that the person can also murder to get drugs. The person is not only a curse to himself but to society as well.

Addictive drugs are mainly mind altering. They reach the brain cells and change the chemical reactions within. They hijack the neural pathways in the brain. The more rapidly it enters the brain, the more effective and potent it is. The euphoria effect is caused by a release of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. In doing so they affect the way the people think, feel, speak and move about.

The most used and addictive drugs are grouped into six classes. Opioids like morphine, heroin and codeine; sedative-hypnotics, which include barbiturates and diazepam; stimulants like amphetamine and cocaine; hallucinogens like lysergic acid diethyl amide or LSD; mescaline and phencyclidine; cannabis and inhalants like gas lighter fluid. A new development in the field of drugs is the emergence of designer drugs. These drugs are designed to imitate other addictive drugs. They are made in illegal laboratories mainly in hidden basements and garages. These drugs have a chemical formula that is hundred times more potent or stronger than the drug it imitates. Common examples are China White, which imitates heroin. Ecstasy imitates amphetamines. Usage of these has serious consequences and causes a lot of damage.

In today's high technology, stressful and fast paced modern life more people are taking to drugs. The younger generation finds this as an easy and simple way to beat anxiety, tension and stress. Drug addiction today has engulfed the entire world. This is happening in spite of the laws being strict. The influence of the drug mafia is so strong that no amount of stringent laws or controls has helped in stopping or reducing drug addiction.

The surprising aspect is a lot can be done at a personal or individual level to save us from the vicious grip of drug addiction and abuse. The first and foremost is to say a firm 'NO' when one is pushed to have drugs. It is not easy but it needs to be done. Develop strong family bonds or friendships to relive oneself from stress and tension. Engage in activities that keep us busy like, sports, music and so on so that the question of boredom, frustration and depression do not arise. Practice the age-old tradition of Yoga by doing exercises like Pranayama, Shavasana and Padmasana, which focus on breathing and mind control. Have Goals and ambition in life and learn to cope with difficulties in life without drugs. Experience the joy in helping others and be close to Nature. Let us not waste our Life by taking the path to drug addiction.