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The effect of drug addiction is changes the user’s brain, body, and sprit. Addiction is an ever increasing epidemic spreading throughout the United States. People are addicted to not only street drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, and marijuana but also prescription drugs including Valium, Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Ritalin.
Drug addiction comes with a heavy price. The effect of drug addiction on the user can range from mild itching to comas and death. In addition to the physical effects of drug addiction, there are many psychological consequences too. The worst of which is of course their drug addiction. Addicts find that they are no longer able to distinguish between right and wrong and make poor judgment choices.
Scientists have determined that most addictive drugs initially affect the brains reward system. This part of the brain rewards us when we do the things necessary to survive--eating, drinking, having sex to perpetuate our species, and so on. Cells in this part of the brain release chemicals that make us feel good (reward us) when we engage in these behaviors and teach us to repeat them. Drugs mimic the brain's natural chemicals. Instead of teaching us to repeat survival behaviors, drugs teach us to take more drugs. If use continues, the harmful effects of drugs gradually change the user’s brain and lead to drug addiction.
Another effect of drug addiction is tolerance which means increasing amounts of the drug are needed to duplicate the initial effect. Other effects of drug addiction include sharing hypodermic needles. This dramatically increases the risk of contracting AIDS and some types of hepatitis. In addition, increased sexual activity among drug users, both in prostitution and from the uninhibited effect of some drugs, also puts them at a higher risk of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Many drug users also engage in criminal activity, such as burglary and prostitution, to raise the money to buy drugs. Some drugs, especially alcohol, are often associated with violent behavior.
Lastly, the effect of drug addiction can lead to the user's preoccupation with drugs, which causes changes in their mood and performance in life. This in turn can lead to marital problems and poor work performance or dismissal. Drug use can disrupt family life and create destructive patterns of codependency. That is, the spouse or whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem.
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