Addiction: What is it? • Addiction is ones dependence or need to use certain substances in order to maintain a feeling of satisfaction or well-being. • Could lead to feelings of withdrawal if the user was not able to satisfy his “craving” or “need”. • A person has no control over whether they use drugs – they have grown used to the drug and have to have it • There is physical dependence upon the substance in order to function
Why is Addiction Prevalent? • Drugs make up for whatever the addict is lacking. • Stress • Peer pressure • Loneliness • Family behavior • Need to feel good • Need to not feel bad • "…the use of drugs has been recorded since the beginning of civilization. Humans in my view will always want to experiment with things to make them feel good.” --Dr. Nora Volkow
Addiction as a Brain Disease • Different substances affect our brain in different ways • Substance abuse creates the same type of “feel good” scenario when used – releasing dopamine and giving us a “high” • Our brain learns very quickly that it likes the “high” even though it’s not good
Addiction as a Brain Disease Cont… • The “high” doesn’t last forever as the release of dopamine dissipates. • This leaves the abuser with heightened withdrawals leading to physical pain, depression, and dangerous behavior
How We Become Addicted: “Salience” • Salience: “Special Relevance” • The way our minds are programmed to pay close attention to possible “threats” which we instinctively try to get away from • Drugs and drug abuse capitalize on this part of our brain programming. • “When exposed to drugs, our memory systems, reward circuits, decision-making skills and conditioning kick in – salience in overdrive – to create an all consuming pattern of uncontrollable craving.” --Michael Lemonick
Addiction: A New Understanding • Dr. Nora Volkow and other researchers have found new information regarding Drug Addiction: • Dopamine is the brains chemical associated with motivation, pleasure and learning. • Addictive drugs flood the brain with Dopamine - researchers thought that the neurochemical was a simple switch for pleasure hitting the "reward" button. • However, If dopamine delivers a “reward” message, addicts should be in a constant state of pleasure however, researchers observed that many of them get very little pleasure from the drug • "I've seen hundreds of addicted people, and never have I come across one who wanted to be addicted," Dr. Nora Volkow.
Dr. Volkow and other researchers are developing a new understanding of addiction: • “Rather than just telling us to feel good, dopamine tells us what's salient--the unexpected bits of new information we need to pay attention to in order to survive, like alerts about sex, food and pleasure, as well as danger and pain. If you are hungry and you get a whiff of a bacon cheeseburger, Volkow's research team has shown, your dopamine skyrockets. But the chemical will also surge if a lion leaps into your cubicle. Dopamine's role is to shout: ‘Hey! Pay attention to this!’ Only as an afterthought might it whisper ‘Wow, this feels great.’ So maybe addicts aren't just chasing a good time. Perhaps their brains have somehow mistakenly learned that drugs are the most important thing to pay attention to, as crucial to survival as food or sex.
Why Some are Addicted and Others Not • Vulnerability to addiction affects each person differently. • Family history of addiction • Abuse / Neglect / Traumatic childhood experiences • Mental Disorders - depression or anxiety • Early drug use • Method of drug use – smoking or injecting may increase the addict’s potential to be addicted
Acute Effects of Addiction • Heroin:Starts out with a rush of pleasure, leaving the user in a fog for many hours afterwards. Users are soon dependent on the drug and to have it become their sole purpose in life. • Cocaine: Can lead to feelings of paranoia and anxiety. The physical effect of cocaine on the brain reduces the ability to feel pleasure. • Alcohol: It impairs judgment and leads to memory lapses. It can also lead to blackouts. Alcohol distorts vision, shortens coordination, and can damage the brain and every other organ in the body. • Ritalin: Causes severe headaches, anxiety, paranoia, and delusions. • Marijuana: The parts of the brain that control emotions, memory, and judgment are affected by marijuana. Smoking it can not only weaken short-term memory, but can block information from making it into long term memory. It has also been shown to weaken problem solving ability. • Methamphetamine: User’s find the need to use meth for extended periods of time known as a “run”. Once they stop, they “crash” and feel terrible while they sleep off the drug’s negative side effects. • Ecstasy: Causes difficulty differentiating reality and fantasy. Causes problems concentrating and impairs memory. It can cause paranoia, anxiety, and confusion.
Chronic Effects of Addiction • Overall Health: neglecting their own health • Finances and Stability: have trouble keeping any employment at all or even become homeless • Relationship Issues: will eventually damage family, friends and the community • Disease: lung disease, heart problems, brain damage and possible death from an overdose • Denial: the addict’s urge to use is so strong - they can rationalize any behavior no matter how illegal, immoral or unethical
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction • Tolerance: You need to use more of the drug in order to get the same effect • Withdrawal: Take drugs in order to avoid or relieve drug problems • Loss of Control: You want to stop but the urge to quit is powerless • Life Revolves Around Drugs: Time is spent thinking about drugs, how to obtain drugs and recover from the effects of drugs • Continual Use of Drugs despite Effects:Infections, mood swings, blackouts, etc.
Warning Signs of Addiction • Physical • Blood Shot Eyes – pupils larger or smaller than usual • Deterioration of physical appearance • Unusual odors from body, breath and clothing • Appetite changes, sudden weight loss/gain • Impaired speech, slurring, coordination is impaired • Behavioral • Decline in performance at school or work • Unexplained need for money / stealing or theft • Secretive or suspicious behavior • Sudden change in hobbies, friends, hangouts • Rise in trouble: fights, accidents, illegal activities • Psychological • Immediate changes in personality and/or attitude • Irritability • Mood swings • Spurts of heighted agitation, hyperactivity, giddiness • Lack of motivation
Do’s and Don’ts Do Don’t Speak Up Talk about concerns Offer help and support Don’t be judgmental Take Care of Yourself Have people around for support Stay safe Don’t neglect your needs Avoid Self Blame Encourage treatment options Can’t force change You can’t control your loved one’s decisions Let the person accept responsibility for their actions Punish, threaten or preach Make excuses or cover up their mistakes Take over the responsibility Take drugs with the addict Blame yourself for their behavior
Myths about Addiction Myth #1 • Overcoming addiction is a matter of willpower • Addiction is a disease and not curable • Addicts must hit an all-time low before being able to recover • Forcible treatment will never work • Treatments didn’t work the first time so they won’t work the second time Myth #2 Myth #3 Myth #4 Myth #5
Help is available for those seeking it – Treatment depends on the severity of the case and what drugs/substances have been used/abused
Treatment Options • Treatment facilities • Inpatient / outpatient programs • Support groups • Family • Counseling • Medication • Not a cure but a stabilizer • Psychotherapy
Local Treatment Facilities • SLCC Health and Wellness Center • Redwood Campus Student Center 957-4646 • South City Campus 957-4659 • University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Inst Recovery(801) 587-3235(801) 581-6228 • Narcotics anonymous 1-800-622-HELP
Tips for Recovery • Make friends and family aware of your decision to stop using drugs • Ask family/friends to be available when you need them • Only attend events you know will be drug or alcohol free • Make a plan – what will you do if you find yourself in a place with drugs / alcohol? • Remind yourself that you are not a bad person because you have an addiction
Interesting Statistics • Over six million children in America live with at least one parent who has a drug addiction. • Since 1980, the number of deaths related to drug overdoses has risen over 540 percent. • Each year, drug abuse and drug addiction cost employers over 122 billion dollar in lost productivity time and another 15 billion dollars in health insurance costs. • A significant percentage of young people report having been introduced to one type of drug or another on a regular basis by the age of 13. Nearly fifty percent of those children will try drugs by that age, and 20 percent will become addicted before graduating from high school.
Recommended Reading Material • “Chasing the High” by Kyle Keegan and Howard B. Moss M.D. • Help Guide: www.helpguide.org • Health Magazine: www.time.com • “The Basketball Diaries” byJim Carroll • “Junkie/Junky” by William S. Burroughs