A lot of public awareness programs and campaigns are conducted to prevent addiction to drugs and alcohol. However, the number of drug and alcohol addicts increases year by year. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is the effect of compulsive and continuous use of drugs or alcohol despite its adverse consequences. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the causes and effects of addiction disorders.
Causes of addiction
The use of drugs and alcohol starts at adolescent stage by most people and many find it as a pleasure driving or soothing activity. Over a period of time, some people lose control of the usage of such substances. This is the first and important phase of addiction in which the person experiences compulsion to use it more leading to out of control use. As it progresses, addiction becomes more chronic and finally the person falls to relapse. The causes of addiction can be genetic, environmental, emotional, psychological or physical, the substance in use, or low frustration tolerance.
Addiction disorders can be hereditary. The prevalence of addiction to alcohol or drugs is more among family members with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Children of alcoholic parents have higher tendency to become alcoholic addicts later in life. Environmental factors are a major cause of addiction. Youngsters who have more access to addiction inducing substances have higher risk of developing addiction disorders. Countries which control the use of drugs or alcohol have much lower number of alcoholic addicts than others. Sexual, physical or emotional abuse and work stress or family conflicts can cause emotional disorders like anxiety and depression leading to out of control use of drugs leading to addiction. These people have comparatively low tolerance level of frustration and have higher risk of being addicted. The nature of the substance involved also is an important cause of addiction. Drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin etc cause dependence after three or four uses and it is difficult to reverse addiction towards such substances.
Effects of addiction
Addiction has got some serious effects on individuals as well as the society. Long term addiction is irreversible in most cases where the individual slips to relapse and can be fatal. It is an expensive and serious health problem. Studies show that severe use of drugs and alcohol impairs the mental health of the individual. Criminal behavior and violence are more prevalent in addicts. Addiction leads to unemployment and financial destitution of the individuals as well as their families. Health consequences of addiction are the risk of tuberculosis, hepatitis, fetal alcohol syndrome, cancers, asthma, risks of high cholesterol levels and low metabolism of the body. The risk of HIV/AIDS is the maximum in addicts.
Addicted individuals show low productivity at work as well as at home. This can finally lead to unemployment and homelessness as withdrawal symptoms are shown by addicts. Premature death due to deteriorated health or accidents is high in addicted individuals. Criminal and violent behaviors like destruction of private and public property, smuggling, illicit trade of drugs and related substances, physical and sexual abuse and homicides are more prevalent in addicts. Alcoholic and drug addicts are also at a high risk of committing suicide. Accidents involving fatal motor vehicle crashes leading to permanent disability of the addicts or other individuals are high. Also the costs of treatment for addiction related disorders and rehabilitation as well as other economic costs inflicted by addicts are much higher than normal health care costs.
The causes and effects of addiction to alcohol and drugs is just a brief discussion on the topic. Becoming an alcoholic or drug addict is practically simple, but the consequences are far more serious than expected. The initial pleasure of being addicted will soon be over with the mounting problems caused by addiction. The economic costs as well as the health costs are far higher. Addiction can put not only the addicted individual in danger but also others who live in the society.