Most people know that addiction is a brain disorder. Those suffering from addiction compulsively seek engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite the negative consequences. So what does that mean in layman’s terms? It means that after a long period of time of repeated exposure, our brains start to rely on the continued use of a drug because of the pleasure felt from it. With prolonged drug use the initial high or feeling of euphoria becomes harder to attain, meaning that the addict needs to use more and more, which ultimately leads to dependence. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that A. There is a high likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to the drugs or behaviors, and B. That they are intrinsically rewarding, meaning that they are seen as pleasurable and rewarding.
The most common types of addiction regarding substance use disorder are alcoholism, amphetamine addiction, cocaine addiction, nicotine addiction, and opiate addiction. Gambling, food and sex addiction are also common types of addiction. Addiction affects indiscriminately, despite race, color, background, or social status. There are many variables that attribute to addiction, including behavioral factors, risk factors, psychological factors, and genetic factors. Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Pompano Beach shares with you the importance of understanding the common types of addiction and how they can be treated.
This is one of the most commons types of addiction. Environmental factors and genetics are two components that are attributed to alcoholism. A person with a parent or sibling suffering from alcoholism is three to four times more likely to become an alcoholic. Environmental factors include social, cultural, and behavioral influences like stress and anxiety. Also, since alcohol is legal and inexpensive to drink, it is easily accessible. An alcoholic may continue to drink in order to prevent symptoms of withdrawal. After a person stops drinking alcohol, they may experience acute withdrawal, which can last for several months.
Even recreational amphetamine use poses a high risk for addiction. Drug tolerance develops rapidly in amphetamine users so periods of extended use require increasingly larger doses of the drug in order to achieve the same effect. When given therapeutic doses prescribed by a doctor, amphetamine causes emotional and cognitive effects such as euphoria, change in libido and desire for sex, increased wakefulness, and improved cognitive control. It induces physical effects such as decreased reaction time, fatigue resistance, and increased muscle strength. Larger doses of amphetamine may impair cognitive function and induce rapid muscle breakdown.
Known as the “Champagne of Drugs,” due to the common social use in nightclub scenes, cocaine is a powerful stimulant known to make users feel energetic, happy, alert, etc. In time, negative side effects include increased body temperature, rapid or irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, higher risk of heart attacks, stroke and even sudden death from cardiac arrest. Habitual use can lead to cocaine addiction, a manic-like condition similar to psychosis or schizophrenia, with symptoms including aggression, paranoia, confusion, restlessness, and hallucinations.
Nicotine is highly addictive, comparable to heroin or cocaine. It can be smoked, inhaled, or chewed. Withdrawal symptoms peak in the first day or two after ceasing use and can continue for several weeks. Nicotine addiction affects the appetite and raises metabolism so some smokers may lose weight as a result of smoking. The body weight of smokers is lower on average than that of non-smokers. When smokers quit, they gain on average 5–6 lbs. There are many side effects of prolong nicotine use including hypertension, cardiac arrest, cancer, stroke, dizziness, sleep disturbance, risk of blood restriction and more.
Opioid dependence can manifest as physical dependence, psychological dependence, or both. Opioids include substances such as morphine, heroin, codeine and oxycodone. These can be bought illegally or prescribed. Opiates change the way the brain responds to pain stimuli and can also produce a “high” or euphoric feeling by disrupting the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. The central nervous system, which includes the brain, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, has opioid receptors that receive the drugs, and these drugs bring about a variety of physical and emotional effects. Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and body temperature are lowered while euphoric feelings are increased. Repeated use or abuse of an opioid drug can change the way an individual’s brain chemistry works and lead to physical and psychological dependence or opiate adiction. The body may not feel “normal” anymore without the drug, and withdrawal symptoms may start in between doses or when an individual stops taking the opiate.