A person is said to be dependent on drug when he or she has repeatedly self-administrated it and resulting in Tolerance, withdrawal and compulsive Behaviors. Drug dependence includes physical dependence— the state that occurs when the body has adjusted to the drug and incorporates the use of that drug into the normal functioning of the body’s tissues. Addiction occurs when a person has become physically and psychologically dependent on a drug following repeated use over time. Dependence often involves:
Craving: is a strong desire to engage in a behavior or consume a drug.
Withdrawal: it refers to the unpleasant symptoms, both physical and psychological that people experience when they stop using drug on which they have to be dependent.
Drugs mostly associated with different environmental cues which trigger intense desire to use them. There are some people who have a physical dependence and suffer from addiction.
The symptoms of drug dependence include:
- Loss of control on drug use
- Anger and hostility when confronted about drug dependence
- Decrease in performance in daily tasks
- Disturbed sleep and appetite
- Confusion and making excuses for drug use
The definite causes of drug dependence are still not known. However Genes, peer pressure, Emotional Distress and environmental stress all can be factors of drug dependence.
It is observed that and researches have also proven that ‘stress’ is one of the major causes of drug use. People who experience Depression, Anxiety, having relationship problems and live a stressful lifestyle, takes refuge in drug use. Actually Stress—“is a negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, cognitive and behavioral changes that are directed either towards altering the stressful event or accommodating its effects”. (Shelley E Taylor)
People deals with stress in different ways some use exercise or sport as a mean of working off their stress where as other prefer something more relaxing. But there are many people who turn to less beneficial but quick fix form of relaxation. Drugs are used as form of ‘stress relief’ but they only compound the problem. There are effects of stress combined with the effects of the drug which can easily spiral out of control. Stress coping models of addiction proposes that the purpose behind using drugs as coping strategy is that it decrease the negative effects and increase positive effects of stressful events, thereby reinforcing drug taking as an effective, maladaptive coping strategy.
Major theories of addiction postulate that stress play important role in motivation towards drugs use leading to drug addiction
NIDA researchers have found the following connections between stress and drug abuse
- Stress can cause changes in the brain like those caused by addictive drugs. This suggests that some people who experience stress may be more vulnerable to drug addiction or drug relapse.
- Those who become addicted to drugs may already be hypersensitive to stress.
- Long-term potentiating (LTP) is a key brain mechanism involved in memory and learning. Researchers have shown that LTP is involved in how both drug exposure and stress affect the brain.
- Stress can put people at risk for substance abuse.