Drug addiction is the compulsive use of drugs to the point where the individual feels that they have no choice but to continue using. This phenomenon has occurred to some degree throughout history. Drug addiction can happen to anyone and does not depend on age, social status, or economic status. Drug addiction does not discriminate. An important point to keep in mind is that drugs and alcohol work on the individual as painkillers. When a person takes a drug, they ingest chemicals that emotionally or physically kill their pain and alter their perception of reality. Drugs make people feel “numb”.

An estimated 19.5 million Americans over the age of 12 use illegal drugs. Many other people abuse or are addicted to legal drugs. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug. While not everyone who uses drugs develops a drug addiction, many people do. As many as 19,000 people die of drug-related causes every year.

The cycle of drug addiction typically follows a pattern. When an individual begins to abuse drugs there is almost always an underlying sense of hopelessness, unhappiness, or physical pain that they are trying to escape. The individual finds these problems very hard to deal with. They do not know a healthy and constructive way to handle their problems. These problems could be not fitting in when they were a teenager, a divorce as an adult, or even a physical injury or chronic pain. These problems consume the individual and seem un-endurable. They are unable to find a workable solution.

Almost all of us can relate to the above mentioned problems or feelings. The only difference is that some people turn to drugs to escape from their problems and develop a drug addiction. Just as an adolescent in their first crush, a person who abuses drugs becomes obsessed with their drug of choice and turns a blind eye to the rest of the world. At this point the individual has started the downward spiral of drug addiction. They no longer think of the initial problem that they were looking to escape, they only think of their next high. They loose the ability to control their impulses, become unable to curb their usage, and disregard the terrible cost of their actions.

As the individual spirals downward into drug addiction their body goes through changes too. Their body becomes accustomed to the drugs in their system and expects the substances to be there. When the drugs are not present, their body experiences withdrawal. Often, addicts will do almost anything to avoid the pain of withdrawal. They experience drug cravings as their body thinks it needs the deadly drugs in its system to work properly. As time passes, the individual’s drug addiction changes and they now need more and more of the substance to achieve the same high they desire. This is the dangerous cycle of drug addiction.

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