Haley Troyer – Staff Writer
When people first start doing drugs they see it as an innocent encounter, never dreaming of it becoming a full blown drug addiction. They never imagine the effect it can have on them or even the people around them.
CNNHealth.com states that most drug addictions usually occur before a child is 18 years of age.
People often start drugs for a multitude of reason; peer pressure, media appeal, accessibility or to temporarily escape from problems to name a few. Often cases of drug addiction start with prescription pills. According to Drugabuse.gov the most commonly used drugs are tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.
Tobacco and alcohol are gateway drugs to higher, more addictive source.
In reference to huffingtonpost.com, teens typically start with marijuana. According to alcoholism.about.com, the active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which affects the cannabinoid receptors influencing and activation of those cells.
Marijuana has effects on multiple organs in the body including the heart which slows the heartbeat to 20 to 50 beats per minute.
Drug dependency has many faces including the five main stages from experimentation to full blown addiction. (See bottom of page) In reference to Narconon.org, difference in behavior, mood swings, withdraws from friends and family, carelessness about personal grooming, loss of interest in life, changing sleep patterns, red or glassy eyes and sniffly or runny nose can all be results of drug abuse.
According to helpguide.org, taking drugs can cause a rise in levels of dopamine in the brain, causing feelings of pleasure leaving the body and or wanting more.
“My personality type it is adventurous, I like doing fun things. It is like you get bored with things easily. I feel that it is hereditary but that is not an excuse”, said Cindy Tilley, a former addict.
When becoming addicted, the drug will take on the same survival behaviors as drinking and eating. Further on the mind finds ways to rationalize the intake. From what began as an “innocent encounter” has now turned into a constant compulsion.
“I do not really remember anything happening I just let it take over I had no confidence. Everything kept happening to me one thing after another. I lost my jobs, had multiple surgeries and breast cancer, it was my escape”, said Cindy Tilley.
It can be very hard for a person to accept someone telling them they are dependent on drugs. Contacting a specialist can be one of the many ways to help the one you love.
At first, they may become irrational, frustrated or be in denial about the whole thing. That is what the specialist is there to do, help them see that they really are dependent on drugs and give them the help they need.
“I went to Indiana when a good friend of mine died. I went with Dan Slhy. I was drinking a lot the night before the funeral, while we were out to dinner. I hit rock bottom when I went out to the car fell onto the concrete face first. Dan called the ambulance and they took me to the hospital. I was there for a few days then went home and put myself into rehab”, said Cindy Tilley
According to helpguide.org the first step to recovery is deciding to make a change;
change how they deal with stress, who they allow in their life, what to do in their free time and how they think about themselves. It may be overwhelming at first to have to make all these changes in their life, but there are people to help them through.
If the addiction is too strong and you do not feel that with all the help from your friends and family will help consider joining a sober living home. A sober living home is a safe supportive place to live while recovering from your addiction. This is a long process which requires time, commitment, motivation, and support.
There is not one treatment that works for everyone, find the treatment that works for that type of addiction. Things that could help with the process are making a list of pros and cons of the drug abuse. Keeping track of how much is obtained, to reveal how big of a role drugs play in their life.
With a social life revolved around people with an addiction it becomes impossible to escape. The solution is to find new connections. Join a support group, and make time to attend every meeting. Being in a place with people who know and understand exactly what you went through; they can help you open up and feel better about what happened and help you make a change. Find ways to cope with your stress as in a dance class or even a boxing class. When you feel like you may be falling back into the addiction get help, do not be afraid to tell people.
“I was free for three years in the third year I would have a glass of wine. I was able to do that because I would just tell myself that I was not going back there that is why I can have a glass of wine or two and be fine. It no longer rules my decisions; if I want it because I need it then I do not have it. I am just more aware of my personality”, said Cindy Tilley
When you finally are free from the addiction set meaningful goals, it gives something to look forward to- a reason to keep moving forward in a positive direction.
“When I think I need to have a glass of wine I have to decide do I want it or not. Like the time I went to the beach I drank too much because I was having way too much fun”, said Cindy Tilley.
Do not let a relapse discourage you, it is common when trying to recover from an addiction.
“Be extremely aware of your own personality. What things make you feel good and what things make you want to do drug. Only have one if you want it not if you need it and be careful, watch yourself. It seems like the whole world revolves around it, It is always out there. It is the person you are that will make that decision that you are going to have to do it. The two or three years not drinking was really hard you have to be strong and understand that you have an addictive personality”, said Cindy Tilley.
According to Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County, there are five stages to a drug addiction.
Stage one: Experimentation, voluntary and typical main goal is erasing another problem.
Stage two: Regular Use, most people stay in this stage indefinitely.
Stage three: Risky Use, it can pass quickly from stage three to stage four.
Stage four: Dependence causes failure to fulfill major responsibilities.
Stage five: Addiction.