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Addiction and Dependencies

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Drug dependence and addiction

Drug dependence means that an individual must use a substance for him or her to function usually. This highlights that stopping the drug would lead to withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms would make an individual to appear dull and inactive. On the other hand, drug addiction refers to the compulsory use of the substance despite the impacts associated with it.

Drug addiction refers to a chronic intoxication generated by using a drug repeatedly. It is characterized by an overpowering need to consume the drug and to look for using all means. It is also characterized by the tendency to increase the amount of the drug taken and its detrimental impacts on the user and society as a whole. In general terms, an individual can have physical dependence on a substance without being addicted to it. For instance, drugs like cocaine may cause addiction but not dependence while certain medications on blood pressure may cause dependence and not addiction. (Morgan, 2010)

Drug abuse leads to dependence and addiction. People who use them for medicinal purposes become dependent on them. Although, this is seldom in those people who do not have a historical background of addiction. People who are likely to use drugs are those who are depressed, have anxiety disorders, can easily access them, have low self esteem and also being in a society where drug abuse is highly accepted.

According to the world health organization, more than two hundred and five million people in the world prohibited drugs. This includes twenty five million people who suffer from drug dependence. This therefore, constitute socio-economic development and public health problems both in the developed and developing nations. The vital role of drug dependence treatment and prevention as a major constituent of drug reduction and public health sector problem has been given much attention in the international treaties and agreements. The significance of keeping a desired balance between the decrease in demand of drugs and law implementation and enforcement was highlighted by the UNGASS in 1988. This brought forward a comprehensive approach in the formulation of drug policies in many countries. This is due to the fact that the declaration was on politics and the guiding principles of drug use reduction. (WHO journal, 2008)

Drug dependence is known to be a multi-factorial disorder that always follows the course of remitting diseases that are chronic in nature. In many societies, drug dependence has not been recognized as a health problem, and many people using them have been stigmatized. This, therefore, means that people using drugs do not access treatment as well as rehabilitation services. This is mostly in the developing countries.

Drug dependence and addiction have been widely known depending on several ideologies or point of views. First, a guilty behavior that needs to be punished. Secondly, a spiritual or educational problem that needs to be addressed. Lastly, pharmacological problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated. Stigmatization and discrimination of people using drugs have been contributed by the fact that drug dependence is an acquired disease since a person chooses to use them.

In the nineteenth century, alcohol and narcotic usage had been a subject of debate. The move to prohibit the use of drugs was facilitated by sociologists. This is due to the fact that they had speculated that the use of narcotics and alcohol was a result of poverty and not a cause of poverty. Another reason was that the use of drugs worsened Christianity especially the spread of Protestantism.  By the end of the nineteenth century, the use of alcohol and narcotics was still worrying legislators, the clergy and the health professionals. The reason behind this is that the opium use in the manufacture of medicine.

Dependences on drugs in America started way back in the 18th century. Medicine was manufactured from opium and morphine derived from crude opium. These were commonly used because they were least addictive and due to the fact that heroine had been restricted after the First World War. In South America, coca leaves were used by the natives as stimulants. This was later popularized in Europe and America as a whole since alcohol was extracted from coca leaves.

The commonly abused drugs that have led to dependence and addiction include; the narcotics and the opiates which are known to be powerful painkillers having sedative effect and causing the euphoria feeling. The drugs that cause the sedative effect are like the heroine, opium, codeine and the oxycodone. These drugs are commonly used to cure diseases. Secondly, the central nervous system stimulants which includes dextroamphetamine, Ritalin and the methamphetamine are commonly abused and has led to dependence and addiction When these drugs are used they lead to a tolerance or resistance which in turn leads to daily consumption of the same. (Ruiz, 2007)

Thirdly, are the central nervous system depressants, which produce a sedative effect and reduce anxiety. The daily usage of these leads to dependence and addiction. Examples of these are barbiturates and alcohol. Fourthly, are hallucinogens which cause people to see things that do not exist in the real sense. The use of these drugs lead to psychological dependence since a person may use them to reduce stress also to see him high above others.

In the real world, there are several stages of drug use that leads to dependence. This begins by the experimental stage where peer influence is the driving force as well as other social problems. Drugs in this period are used for recreational purposes and the users enjoy defying their parental concern, guidance and counseling. The users also go against other authorities for instance, school authorities.

This stage is preceded by regular use; in this stage the user misses doing his/her work and worries about losing the source of the drug. It is in this stage that the user begins staying alone and away from friends and family members. The reason behind this is that the user wants to spend time alone so that he can enjoy the drug. Thirdly, it becomes a daily routine for the user. At this point the user loses motivation; do not care about his physical wellbeing and is always concerned with the drug. The user also becomes secretive also the use of other drugs may occur and other legal problems may arise. Finally, the dependence stage, the user can not do anything without using the drug. It is in this stage that the physical conditions of the user deteriorate, legal and financial problems worsen and the family ties may break.

Drug use and dependence has symptoms that accompany it. They include confusion and negligence of food. A user becomes confused due to excessive drugs in the blood and thus avoids eating since he has been controlled by the drug. This shows that an individual mind concentrate on drug abuse resulting to dependence and addiction. Most drug users are also very secretive and they normally hide so that they can enjoy using the drug. In this case, they become hostile and can not be confronted on the same. Drug users usually do not care about their physical being and do not take part in day to day activities. In addition, they lack control on the use of the drug resulting to excuses and continued use even if they are health. (Lowison, 2005)

Impacts of drug dependence and addiction

Cocaine takes effect as soon as it arrives at the brain which acts as a receptor. Metabolic tolerance involves the body adaptation to destroy the drug due to its increased capacity. This means that cocaine that was effective at the beginning becomes less and less effective at the end. Repetition of the dose taken initially gives lesser cocaine a short moment at the portion of action in the brain. Progressively more does are required to generate the desired out come. Metabolic tolerance comes as a result of cocaine is increasing the production of enzymes that act on the cocaine drular tolerance occurs due to changes in the brain. Neurons in the brain have to adapt to the use of cocaine thus, becoming less sensitive due to continuous exposure. This shows that more cocaine doses have to be used so as to acquire the original impact of the cocaine, affect neurons have to continue to adapting to high cocaine doses for the functions to remain normal despite being immersed in the cocaine his point, when the impact of the cocaine has reduced, a greater concentration of the cocaine is left, which is normally enough to cause an extreme behavioral impact. This means that brain functions covers a neurochemical change which comes about f the cocaine is withdrawn. (Doweiko, 2010)

According to the World health organization, cocaine dependence and addiction has contributed to the high rates of poverty and crimes in the developing countries. It has also contributed to violence and stigmatization in the society. The total health care cost on cocaine independence and addiction is far much beyond the capacity of many societies. In addition to the expenditure on treatment and other costs related to impacts of cocaine independence, it also entails social costs which are in the form of low productivity and loss of family income, insecurity and violence.

Treatment and prevention of drug dependence

Drug addiction and dependence is crucial and complicated health condition that needs psychological and physical support and treatment. It is therefore, a treatable disorder which at the same time can be prevented. Effective treatments have been made available and the best results are attained when many approaches are employed. These include diverse pharmacological and psychosocial treatment.  This normally begins by identification of the problem although most abusers deny but, research has depicted that an individual who are addicted have least denial when treated with respect and empathy.

Treatment would entail stopping the use of the drug either abruptly or gradually, abstinence and providing counseling programs both for the user, the user family and group. Residential treatment programs can also be provided since it involves monitoring and addressing the withdrawal symptoms and behaviors. Residential treatment programs uses behavior modified mechanisms which are designed to trap users to recognize their way of living.

There are many factors influencing drug dependence treatment and prevention. These include geographical accessibility or distance. In geographical accessibility, health care networks are essential so that treatment and support can be offered to people with drug use disorders within their reach. This also is affected by the level of income of the individual since it determines whether this individual is able to gather for the health cost. Geographical distance calls for the provision of outreach services to the affected people. Treatment and prevention is also affected by law enforcement and provision of sanction, this means that drug addicts are to be registered so the proper measures can be taken.

In treatment, there is screening which is an indispensable assessment method used in identifying persons with harmful drug dependence as well as the risks associated with their behaviors. This is normally followed by diagnosis and further assessment tests that aid in establishing the severity of the disease and other personal details necessary for treatment.


In conclusion, drug dependence and addiction is a serious problem in many societies which needs to be addressed. It has been seen to be a resultant impact of poverty and at the same time the cause of poverty. The underlying reason is that drug dependence lowers individuals’ productivity meaning that there is low family income and low socio-economic progress within the nation. Drug dependence and addiction also impact on the public health system of a country since additional resources have to be channeled to gather for drug use treatment and prevention since it is something that can be cured and be prevented.

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