What is addiction?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by … well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”
There are physical addictions to nicotine, drugs, alcohol and caffeine, and then there are also relational addictions, involving one person or group of people who have a powerful hold on someone else’s life. Sometimes the two types of addiction are interconnected. A nationwide household survey conducted in 2003 found that 6 million American children lived with at least one parent who abused or had an addiction to alcohol or drugs during the previous year, according to a July 2006 USA Today article. According to the article, experts say those children will have a substantially greater risk than their peers of developing an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Others may launch into the cycle of addiction by peer pressure. It’s merely a social thing – but then the all-consuming cravings return long after the drinking buddies or smoking buddies have gone home.
For some, an addiction is a method of numbing pain. Some people, literally, become powerfully addicted to painkiller pills, often following surgeries or some other medical procedure during which the painkillers were legally prescribed. Others use the intoxicated feeling they have after drug or alcohol use to forget about the pains and stresses of life, whether past or present. Users may blame themselves for a series of life events, so they open the bottle or roll a joint. They start to feel worse about themselves as a result of their current actions, so they do it again to forget about it. Eventually the cycle of addiction has progressed to the point where all they think about is the next drink or the next drug. Nothing else matters … not family, home, work, life, self-respect, self-sufficiency or safety – nothing. So addiction is degenerative, addiction is cyclical and addiction is generational. One thing addiction is not is insurmountable, but recovery is a choice, it is a lifelong process and it is the toughest – and most rewarding – path an addict could choose.
We have gathered information and articles on addiction recovery to help the addict, friends, family, and loved ones understand and support the addict through the recovery process.
Who is Affected by Drug Addiction?Drug abuse is a major public health problem that impacts society on multiple levels. Whether it is directly or indirectly, every community, family and individual is affected by drug abuse and addiction. Drugs take a tremendous toll on our society at many levels.
Many of America’s medical and social problems can be linked directly to drug abuse and drug addiction. For example, it is estimated that approximately 1/3 of all AIDS cases reported in 2000 (11,635) and most cases of hepatitis C in the United States are associated with injection drug use.
Social problems that can be directly linked to drug addiction include drugged driving, violence, stress and child abuse/neglect. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drugs are used by approximately 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in crashes, often in combination with alcohol. At least half of the individuals arrested for major crimes including homicide, theft and assault were under the influence of illicit drugs around the time of their arrest. Exposure to any type of stress can also be directly linked to substance abuse in vulnerable individuals and of relapse in former addicts. At least 2/3 of patients in drug abuse treatment centers say they were physically or sexually abused as children.
Drug addiction impacts the individual, the family and the community. Adolescence is a period of high vulnerability to drug abuse and other risk taking factors. Peer pressure is especially difficult to deal with and teenagers often cave under the pressure in order to “fit in” or be well liked. Many parents do not recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction or may excuse the odd behavior as “just a phase.”
Consequences of drug addiction can include serious illness, injury and even death. Each year, approximately 40 million debilitating illnesses or injuries occur among Americans as a result of substance abuse. In 2000, approximately 460,000 deaths were deemed to be directly linked to elicit drug abuse.
Other social issues that can be linked to drug addiction include homelessness, crime, education and the workplace.
- 31% of America’s homeless suffer from drug abuse or alcoholism.
- 60% of adults currently housed in federal prisons are there for drug-related crimes.
- Children who have a prenatal exposure to cocaine are more likely to need special education services in school.
- In 1997, drug users were more likely than others to have missed 2 or more days of work in the past month
- Drug users are also more likely to have worked for three or more employers in one year.
Narconon Freedom Center is here to help those suffering from addiction to rehabilitate themselves and live a drug free life. Contact us today for more information and for help.