A narcotics addiction make a person compulsively seek out drugs. This often leads to stealing, poor performance in work or at school, health issues and more.
Is My Loved One Addicted to Narcotics
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It can be difficult to watch as a loved one gives him or herself over to the effects of drugs. Someone addicted to narcotics can be difficult to be with, let alone live with on a day-in and day-out basis.
Narcotics encompass a wide group of different drugs, with heroin and prescription pain meds being the most commonly used forms. Also known as opiates, narcotic substances are so named because of their high potential for abuse and addiction.
A loved one addicted to narcotics will start to display certain telltale signs and behaviors, many of which differ greatly from his or her normal demeanor. Considering how addictive these drugs can be, the sooner you can determine whether a loved is addicted to narcotics, the sooner you can go about getting him or her needed treatment help.
While the physical aspect of addiction may seem like the driving force behind this condition, narcotic effects actually take root within the mind and brain of the individual. According to the University of California – Los Angeles, narcotic opiates interfere with normal brain cell functions in such a way as to alter the way the brain functions over time.
Certain key groups of brain cells work to secrete the neurotransmitter chemicals that regulate brain and body functions. Someone addicted to narcotics goes through a gradual process where drugs eventually take over normal brain chemical processes.
Once addicted to narcotics, a loved one is, for the most part, unaware of any changes in his or her behavior, attitude or lifestyle while those closest to the addict can plainly see the damaging effects.
Under normal conditions, the brain maintains a certain chemical equilibrium based on the levels of neurotransmitters present at any given moment. At the outset, narcotic opiates cause a state of chemical imbalance to develop throughout the brain while gradually weakening the brain’s ability to function on its own.
When addicted to narcotics, a person’s brain remains in an unstable state that grows progressively worse with ongoing drug use. As a result, someone addicted to narcotics will start to exhibit the following signs:
- Periods of depression
- Bouts of anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muddled thinking processes
- Poor judgment and decision-making abilities
In effect, the longer a person continues to use drugs the worse these symptoms become. After a certain point, he or she becomes unable to manage everyday life affairs.
Once addicted to narcotics, a loved one will engage in compulsive drug-seeking and drug-using behaviors that eventually take up most if not all of his or her time. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, ongoing brain chemical imbalances ultimately degrade normal brain structures so a person must ingest larger doses of the drug over time to keep experiencing the same desired effects. These processes drive the addict’s compulsive behavior displays.
Before long, addiction starts to take over a person’s lifestyle to the point where other important life areas start to suffer. Changes in lifestyle may take the form of:
- Financial difficulties
- Relationship conflicts
- Problems with the law
- Problems on the job/job loss
- New social circle made up of other drug users
At this point, a person requires professional drug treatment help as the effects of narcotics have become the sole motivating factor in his or her life.