Drugs are a public health issue to governments around the world. They are seen this way not only because they cause addiction, but also because their use has been linked to many types of respiratory, cardiological and neurological conditions.
If you only occasionally use recreational drugs like crack, it’s important that you’re able to distinguish between physical dependence and addiction when you seek treatment. Doctors at drug rehab centers certainly do try to find out about the kind of relationship each patient has with drugs.
Physical dependence can occur in a number of ways, and isn’t necessarily related to the abuse of dangerous substances. People can be physically dependent on painkillers, or even on caffeine, instance. These dependencies may or may not amount to addiction. Studies at drug rehab centers show that one out of every three people who try serious drugs such as cocaine or crack even once become dependent within the two years that follow the event. These drugs have such a powerful effect on these people, they become physically and psychologically dependent on them even if they don’t use them often.
When people abuse drugs more frequently, addiction can form within weeks. With crack, addiction takes mere days. A person who is an addict is unable to control runaway escalation of his habit, or exercise control when it takes over his life.
Drugs like cocaine and crack affect the brain and the central nervous system in powerful ways. One of their primary actions is to create a huge spike in the brain’s levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. The rush of dopamine causes feelings of euphoria for a few minutes; when the drug runs out, a terrible emotional crash follows. All one can think about at that point is to get another hit to feel good again. This scenario occurs with psychological dependence.
Physical dependence is common, too. It tends to manifest as an intense craving. Both physical and psychological dependence can form a self-reinforcing cycle.
Drugs like crack and cocaine have the effect of exaggerating the feelings of pleasure that the brain is normally capable of feeling. Repeated exposure to the euphoria of having massive quantities of dopamine coursing through the brain and the crash of deep depression that follows changes the way the brain functions. When a person dependent on or addicted to drugs ceases to take them, the brain has a very hard time adjusting, and begins to display the symptoms of abstinence syndrome. The classic withdrawal symptoms include paranoia, nervousness, cramps and insomnia. Heavy drug users go through a phase called Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome that lasts much longer. All of it is part of the process by which the brain regains its chemical balance, and can last months.
Quitting drugs involves committing yourself to an extended treatment process. Patients need to come off their drugs, and work with their doctors to find the mix of medications to both help clear up the toxins in their system and to normalize their brain chemistry. Call (954) 281-5492 to get you on the path to recovery. Help is only a call away.