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Recreational Substance Abuse Turns into Compulsive Drug Use

Addiction is considered a complicated disease because it changes the brain in ways that make it difficult for individuals to control their drug use.

Navigation: New Study Shows the Transition Between Substance Abuse and Compulsive Drug Use, How Does Recreational Substance Abuse Turn into Drug Addiction?, Why Do People Take Drugs Recreationally?, What are the Risk Factors of Drug Abuse and Addiction?, What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Recreational Drug Use?, Rehab is Your Best Chance


Most people do not understand why others get addicted to drugs. This contributes to the stigma surrounding drug abuse and addiction since a lot of people don’t bother to understand the circumstances of the people around them. It contributes to the deadly cycle of addiction, dependence, and overdose, because stigma prevents people from seeking treatment and getting the help that they need.

Drug abuse refers to the use of illegal or prescription drugs in a way that is harmful to the individual using them. There’s the misconception that people choose to become addicted. Many people believe that only those who lack willpower or moral principles become addicted. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite the harmful consequences.

Addiction is considered a complicated disease because it changes the brain in ways that make it difficult for individuals to control their drug use. It is often accompanied by physical and psychological dependence on the drug, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available.

Addiction can also have significant effects on an individual’s relationships, work, and other aspects of their life.

Quitting isn’t something you can just choose to do. Most addicted individuals can’t just quit any time they want to. Due to the changes in their brain chemistry, it’s not easy for them to quit without proper medical assistance.

You may think that in the beginning, people have control over their drug abuse and that they choose to expose themselves to these harmful substances, but it’s still more complex than that. How does recreational drug use turn into compulsive drug abuse? Why are some people more likely to abuse drugs than others? These are just some of the factors you need to consider when discussing a specific person’s addiction.

Researchers are now looking deeper into how drugs affect the brain so that they can develop even more treatments that will help those with addiction recover and lead healthy lives.


New Study Shows the Transition Between Substance Abuse and Compulsive Drug Use

The use of illegal drugs continues to be a major problem not only in the US but also around the world. This is why it’s important to understand how a person who abuses illicit drugs or prescription painkillers eventually develops a drug habit.

There’s a new study that may be able to explain this transition from recreational drug use to compulsive use of drugs.

According to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a novel molecule may play an important role in the development of addiction. The researchers discovered a molecule as well as a signaling pathway in the brain that both seem to play a key role in the development of addiction-like behavior.

This molecule, called the Retinoid X Receptor Alpha (RXRα) and is found in a specific brain region associated with addiction, the nucleus accumbens. This molecule seems to be partly responsible for dictating an individual’s sensitivity to the rewarding properties of an illicit drug.

The researchers found that the RXRα positively correlated with behavioral features in lab rats that were relevant to addiction. This may indicate that the molecule’s presence has something to do with an individual’s vulnerability to addiction.

They found that using an RXRα antagonist reduced the effects of cocaine-induced associative learning, only producing mild side effects in the process.

RXRα has previously been linked to multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers were especially motivated by the implication that just one molecule could have such a profound effect on the behaviors related to drug addiction. Further studies may be conducted on the relationship between RXRα and other psychiatric diseases.

This study is a step in the right direction as the phenomenon for how people develop compulsive drug abuse is yet to be fully understood. The discovery paves the way for further research on the novel signaling pathway, allowing scientists to develop more strategies for preventing drug addiction.


How Does Recreational Substance Abuse Turn into Drug Addiction?

While researchers are still looking deeper into the physiological factors that contribute to the development of addiction, we can focus on the other factors that are already well-established.

Recreational substance abuse can turn into compulsive drug use due to various factors, including psychological, biological, and environmental factors.

Biologically, some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to addiction, which makes them more susceptible to developing a substance use disorder. We know that chronic drug use can alter brain chemistry and create long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system. But due to genetics, some people are more likely to abuse drugs in the first place.

Psychologically, individuals who have a history of mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, may be more vulnerable to developing compulsive drug use. Some individuals also turn to drugs as a means of coping with stress, trauma, or other emotional issues. This can develop into an addiction over time.

Beyond these physical and mental factors, there are also factors beyond the individual that have a significant impact on their relationship with drugs. Environmental factors, such as peer pressure, availability of drugs, and cultural attitudes towards drug use, can also play a significant role in the development of compulsive drug use. For example, if an individual’s social circle includes frequent drug users or if drugs are readily available in their environment, they may be more likely to develop an addiction.

So while the initial decision to take drugs may be voluntary for most people, ultimately, the transition from recreational substance abuse to compulsive drug use is complex and can be influenced by multiple factors. It’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse.

Why Do People Take Drugs Recreationally?

To combat stigma, we need to discuss the realities of drug abuse and addiction. That includes why some people choose to take drugs in the first place.

There are many reasons why people abuse drugs recreationally, and these reasons can vary from person to person.

Some people do it to experience pleasure or euphoria. Many drugs, such as opioids and stimulants, can create a sense of pleasure or euphoria when consumed. Some create intensely euphoric effects that can get the user hooked after their first time taking it. People may abuse these drugs to experience these feelings.

At the same time, taking drugs is a potential way for some to cope with stress and difficult emotions. They may use illicit substances to forget about their problems or deal with the symptoms of their anxiety or depression. Drugs can provide temporary relief from these feelings, although this is often short-lived and only leads to even bigger problems.

There are also social factors to substance abuse. Some people take drugs to fit in with their friends. Peer pressure is a common reason for abusing drugs, especially among teenagers and young adults. You may feel pressure to use drugs in order to fit in with a particular social group, and so you try drugs simply to not get left out. Younger people are especially vulnerable because they are still trying to establish their identity and form social connections.

For some people, drugs can be a way to enhance their performance in school or in sports. Some people may use drugs, such as steroids or stimulants, to enhance their physical or cognitive performance. This helps them get the results that they want.

Keep in mind that a lot of these drugs are dangerous if misused or abused. Even prescription drugs, when misused, can cause serious consequences and adverse effects. Despite the fact that they are given by your doctor, they can be deadly if you don’t follow your prescription carefully. This is especially true for opioids, which are prescription painkillers that are also addictive in their own way.

Self-medicating can be dangerous, as drugs can interact with other medications or exacerbate underlying health issues.

What are the Risk Factors of Drug Abuse and Addiction?

Some people are at more risk of drug addiction than others. When a person is exposed to certain risk factors, their likelihood of developing addiction increases. Having risk factors does not mean you will automatically become addicted or start abusing drugs at some point in your future, but it does indicate an increased risk, so you need to be more careful.

Generally speaking, the more risk factors a person has, the more likely it is for them to develop an addiction in the future.

Here are some common risk factors associated with addiction:

Genetics: Genetics play a role in addiction, and having a family history of addiction can increase a person’s risk.

Environmental factors: Certain environmental factors, such as stress, trauma, poverty, peer pressure, or exposure to drugs or alcohol, can increase a person’s risk of addiction.

Mental health: Individuals with depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other mental disorders are more vulnerable to addiction.

Age: The earlier a person begins to use drugs or alcohol, the greater the risk of developing addiction.

Gender: Men tend to be more prone to addiction than women.

Personality traits: Individuals who are impulsive, sensation-seeking, or have low self-esteem are more likely to develop addiction.

Access: Easy access to drugs or alcohol increases the risk of addiction.

Again, the presence of risk factors does not necessarily mean a person will develop addiction. This only refers to their likelihood of encountering this problem. Because of the complexity of addiction as a medical condition, prevention, treatment, and recovery often require a multifaceted approach.

What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Recreational Drug Use?

Drug withdrawal occurs because the body and brain have adapted to the presence of a drug in the system, and when the drug is abruptly discontinued or reduced, the body and brain must readjust to functioning without it. This readjustment can lead to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, collectively known as withdrawal syndrome.

Drug withdrawal occurs because long-term drug use changes the way the brain functions. Drugs affect the way neurons communicate with one another, altering the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Over time, the brain adapts to these changes by adjusting the number of receptors for these neurotransmitters. When the drug is removed, the balance of neurotransmitters is disrupted, and the brain struggles to restore equilibrium.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the type of drug taken, the duration and frequency of use, and the individual’s overall health.

The most common physical withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction include: sweating, tremors, increased heart rate, headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and flu-like symptoms.

Drug dependence can also cause various psychological withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, and hallucinations.

It is also common to experience intense cravings after quitting a drug. It can be difficult to resist this desire to use the drug again.

Loved ones may also notice significant behavioral changes in the person. They may lose their appetite, become socially isolated, or have noticeable changes in their appearance, hygiene, weight, etc.

These symptoms can be intense and uncomfortable, and may make it difficult for individuals to quit using drugs without professional help and support.

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can also be dangerous or even life-threatening, particularly in cases of severe addiction or certain types of drugs, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention and guidance when attempting to quit using drugs or alcohol.

While there is currently no known cure for drug addiction, this chronic condition can be effectively treated and managed with a combination of medical, behavioral, and psychosocial interventions. The goal of treatment is to help individuals achieve and maintain abstinence, improve their overall health and well-being, and reduce their risk of relapse.

Some common treatments for drug addiction include:

Medications: Certain medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce drug cravings, and prevent relapse.

Behavioral therapies: These therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management, can help individuals develop coping strategies, learn new behaviors, and address underlying psychological issues that may contribute to addiction.

Support groups: Programs such as 12-step groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), offer a supportive community of individuals who have experienced addiction and can provide encouragement, accountability, and guidance.

Holistic approaches: Some people may find complementary therapies like yoga, meditation, or acupuncture helpful in their addiction recovery journey.

Because it is a chronic disease, addiction will require ongoing care and support. The person will have to learn to adjust to life without drugs. This is easier said than done. But during their stay in rehab, they will learn healthy coping mechanisms that they can use to maintain their sobriety.

With proper treatment and ongoing management, individuals with addiction can achieve long-term recovery and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

Look for an addiction treatment center near you today and learn more about your treatment options. Each facility will be different in terms of the programs they offer and the amenities they have. The key is in finding the one that is right for your specific condition. Get started on the road to recovery today.

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.



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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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