Published On: Wed, Jan 25th, 2012

Who falls prey to substance addiction and who doesn’t

 

substance addiction

Who falls prey to substance addiction
and who doesn’t

By Nathan Batalion, PhD, Naturopath, Triathlete

(Healingtalks) Substance addiction and dependency are major problems worldwide, and those who are addicted need help. Thus it is important to explore why do some people survive drug and alcohol abuse, while others don’t.  There is no one  simple answer.

One thing is for sure. Substance addictions tend to be tragic. They can totally disturb and even end or destroy the life of a person.

drug addict picture before afterSome addicts look and act so differently, when comparing before and after, it is as if they have become another person, or someone whose soul have been taken over. The life has been sucked out of them by the drug. This is why drug dealers who push addiction commit a crime.

when drug abuse begins
When substance addiction begins

Usually the experimentation with drugs starts in adolescence. Though nowadays more children are mothers to mothers who are addicted during pregnancy and this may begin a cycle that spins out of control during the teen years.

According to the 2008 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 46 percent of Americans have tried illegal drugs at some time in their lives. 8 percent have used them in the past thirty days. That means roughly one person out of 12.

Most who experiment with drugs do so briefly for the thrill of it and do not get addicted. So who then becomes most at risk and for a life-long addition,or life-shortened addiction?

mentally ill

Mental illness is a factor

Those with certain types of psychiatric illnesses — including mood, anxiety and personality disorders — are more likely to become addicts. According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study, patients with mental health problems are nearly 3x more likely to become addicted. This is greatly aggravated by explosive trends to promote legal dependency (the equivalent of  addiction to pharmaceutical drugs).  The latter helps to legitimize using chemical substance regularly and is largely hypocritical in regard to psychotropic drugs.

60 percent of people with substance abuse disorders suffer from mental illness, or developed a condition from taking prescription drugs. So it becomes unclear, and depends on the individual, whether the addiction or mental illness came first.

Ego-weak individuals who constantly battle feelings of inadequacy, are drawn to drugs that give them a sense of enhanced power. People with borderline personality disorder might resort to drugs and alcohol for a different reason, to soften their extreme moods.

Dopamin factor

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse used brain-imaging studies with addicts  cocaine, heroin and alcohol have fewer dopamine receptors in the brain’s reward pathways than non-addicts.

But did this phenomenon happen before or after becoming an addict?

When Dr. Volkow compared the responses of addicts and normal controls with an infusion of a stimulant, she discovered that controls with high numbers of D2 receptors, disliked the drug while addicts with low receptor levels found it addictive.

Various chemical imbalance theories, however, have repeatedly been refuted.

Monsantos GMOs

Impact of nutritional deficiencies

There has hardly been a time in human history when our food supply has been more adulterated. Modern “phudes” that fill supermarkets are often so synthetically altered they can hardly be called “foods” anymore. They are full of chemical poisons, with genetically modified organisms, and ever more intensely preserved and processed. This means building healthy cells of all kinds, including brain and hormone cells, is impeded. The body-mind then gets so weak and unhealthy it is unable to resist the addictive pull of drugs – taking one on a further downward slide.

pain of drug addiction

Family and social environments 

Family and social interactions may be stressful, conflictual and even violent. Living in such an environment can make one depressed, and even suicidal. This allows the use of drugs to be a means of escape.

Job, career, and financial stress

Our economy has impoverish an ever higher percentage, and has devastated the middle class. With these life changes, a person may turn to recreational drugs and then end up hooked to the feeling of euthoria, and again an escape from facing the reality of one’s conditions.

who is most susceptible to drug abuseWho among us is most susceptible to substance addiction?

There is no one or simple answer. When trying to help someone who is addicted, it is thus important to treat each person as a precious individual, and to uncover their life stressed and to provide them with loving care and nutritional and overall healing and spiritual support to put their lives back together again.

In those who are most vulnerable, substance abuse ought to be brought to the light of day, confronted and stopped in adolescence – or before it leads to a life-long pattern of substance addiction or dependency.

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Displaying 2 Comments
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  1. Brian says:

    This is such a difficult subject, thank you for writing a great article.

    I’ve been working with substance abuser for a while now and its amazing to me the different stories and needs of each individual.  No person is the same and every case is different than the next.

    The underlying theme (which you have displayed above) is trauma.  People who have either a lower dopamine level or have a susceptibility to substance abuse have trauma – at least 95% of them do.   The trauma goes unprocessed or  suppressed and eventually the individual well of emotion and pain is too much to bear.   

    Gov. Christie just announced a new progressive plan here in NJ – if you are arrested and convicted of a substance abuse crime, you go to detox and rehab to get help.   Jail is not the first option anymore. I applaud this and hope other states follow his lead.

    -Brian
    http://www.progressivetransformation.blogspot.com

  2. Krishan Kumar says:

    Wow What a article, Best i ever read on topic Health… really awesome…

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