[Journalists like me tend to get immersed in the scientific and medical aspects of addiction. Not a bad thing, to be sure—but sometimes a simpler rendition puts a finer point on the matter. Today’s guest post was contributed by Susan White, who writes on the topic of Becoming a Radiologist. She welcomes your comments at her email id: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
It’s very easy to find fault and assign blame when you’ve never been in the other person’s shoes; how often have we found ourselves judging people for their bad habits? Why can’t he stop that obnoxious habit? Oh, she’s not strong at all, she cannot stop drinking! I would never sink to the drug-induced state he is in, not even if the worst things were to happen to me – it’s easy to say all these things because we don’t know what an addiction feels like and how hard it is for people to quit. They’re just like you and me; they don’t like the way they are, but their substance abuse controls their bodies, minds and everything they do or say.
To understand an addiction, you need to understand that the body goes through changes, both physiological and psychological. If the addiction is to alcohol, drugs or any other chemical substance, the high euphoric feeling is what makes you go back again and again. But as time goes by, the high decreases and you begin to take in more of the abusive substance in your quest for that initial euphoria. It’s a vicious cycle that feeds itself, and if you stop, you feel withdrawal symptoms because your body is so used to its daily or even hourly fix.
It takes a supreme effort to admit that you have a problem and seek help. Rehab centers work because they make the addict quit cold turkey; they are cloistered and controlled environments where addicts have no access to the abusive substance. The sudden withdrawal causes abnormal reactions in your body, and you’re treated with medicines that help soothe your frayed nerves. When the initial craving subsides, you’re put in therapy and other forms of rehabilitation. Your diet is regulated, and your body slowly starts to recover and rejuvenate.
Addiction, be it to a substance, person or thing, is not something to be taken lightly. Unless admitted to and treated at the earliest, it could end up having serious physical and mental consequences.
Graphics Credit: http://www.nida.nih.gov/