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Inside The Mind Of A Drug Addict

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Inside The Mind Of A Drug Addict

It can be very difficult for loved ones to watch their children, siblings, and significant other change into someone they can’t even recognize. The anger you may feel is normal and not unwarranted, but as loved ones of addicts we also have to understand that it is the drugs and or alcohol that is controlling those actions. Inside the mind of a drug addict even if that addict is your parent or son, substances have taken control but that doesn’t mean it is permanent. 

Drugs can destabilize the delicate balance of the human mind.  In recent years, research has revealed that the brain is the primary organ targeted when addictive chemicals become part of a person’s daily diet. Addiction can cause patterns of behavior that people that have never habituated drug use find difficult to comprehend.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, despite all the breakthroughs in the drug addiction arena, people still do not understand why or how some people become addicted to drugs while others do not.  An even bigger head scratcher is the fact that drug use often continues despite severe and potentially fatal consequences.  

What happens inside the mind of a drug addict from a clinical standpoint, according to neuroscientists, is a complex set of reactions that eventually impair rational thinking and trigger uncontrollable cravings that drive drug use. They explain that depressants like heroin, tranquilizers, and alcohol slow down processes in the brain.  Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines are psychoactive drugs that increase brain activity. These drugs interfere with the important brain function by either blocking or releasing neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters that facilitate addiction include dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric add (GABA) and substance P.  The activation or deactivation of these neurotransmitters can cause other chemical reactions that impact the individuals thought processes, memories and actions.

The manifestations of what is going on in the mind of a drug addict is ultimately determined by any number of variables that is relative to the individual experiencing the addiction such as:

  • Whether the person is still able to function despite their addiction
  • If the addict is being enabled in their addiction or harassed by loved ones to quit.
  • If the individual is still financially capable of supporting their drug use
  • If addiction has already destroyed significant relationships
  • If they are in denial and honestly are not aware of the destructive effects of their drug use on themselves or their loved ones.
  • If the person is living on the street
  • The amount and frequency of drug use necessary to feed the addiction can completely preoccupy the addict’s thought processes.
  • Is the person incarcerated because of drug use or living with fears of going to jail again?
  • Is the person experiencing a mental disorder that caused the addiction or as a result of it?
  • The individual is experiencing withdrawal symptoms or physical illness as a result of chronic substance abuse.
  • If the addict has hit rock bottom.

 Nobody can really know what is going on inside the mind of a drug addict. However, the prognosis for drug addiction is predictable and treatable. Studies show, most addicts reach a point when they feel trapped and desperately want to find a way out. Unfortunately, many do not proactively seek treatment even if they are at this stage of the disease.  Staging a drug intervention to help an addict make that critical decision to overcome addiction is highly recommended and a more beneficial activity than trying to figure out what they are thinking.  

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