60 years ago, in 1956, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized drug addiction as an actual disease. In terms of severity and the risk of relapse, this disease approaches the level of the most dangerous forms of cancer. Within a half a century, the medical science has worked out numerous methods of drug dependence treatment, but still it remains a "disease of the century". Moreover, it is rapidly growing younger, getting into the world of children and teenagers, which is quite a disturbing fact. Drug addiction is a disease of the entire society, and there are no warranted grounds to hope for its rapid and successful eradication. Here everything depends on every one of us.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by pathological craving for psychoactive substances (drugs) that have a stimulating, depressing or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system. Abuse of the substances that are not regulated by the law, but may cause habituation and addiction, is called toxicomania (solvent, inhalant abuse). However, drug and solvent dependent people represent different groups of patients only legally. From a medical point of view, in both cases a pathological dependence is present, when both human body and psyche develop addiction to a certain substance.
The list of drug addiction causes is quite large. During the appointment, the drug addiction professional usually tries to find out the background of the disease and pays particular attention to the following:
- complications during mother's pregnancy (severe forms of toxicosis, infections, chronic diseases), abnormal act of delivery
- severe or chronic diseases within childhood; brain commotion, especially multiple episodes
- family problems (single-parent family, constant absence of a parent due to business, rough upbringing, hyperprotection in cases of only one child in the family)
- parents, siblings or other relatives with alcohol or drug problems, mental disorders, ill temper, predisposition to affective conditions like episodes of violence, etc.
- early childhood experience with alcohol, nicotine, addictive inhalants (glue, petrol, solvents)
As we see, contributory factors include both biological and social ones. This does not mean that people who have a history of these factors will inevitably develop addiction, but the risk is certainly higher, and dependence may occur even after a single drug use. Likewise, a person whose background does not contain any of the above mentioned can become addicted. Either not in every instance the addiction develops within adverse social environment; very often people with drug problems come from intellectual families, study at universities, represent the industry of art...
In any case, the doctor aims to find out the patient's personality traits and accentuations: depressed, infantile, passive, dependent on someone else's influence, vulnerable or vice versa - emotionally unstable, excessively ambitious, self-centered, narcissistic, confrontational. It is known that the personality of a human is actively formed in adolescence. This is the time of self-assertive behavior, the rejection of common truths and universally recognized rules, the time of finding their own life values.
That's why teenagers are considered the most "explosive", the most vulnerable group: simple curiosity, the desire to experience unfamiliar states of mind or to "disconnect" from problems, to become a true member of the group of peers can provoke the first acquaintance with drugs, subsequently developing into pathological craving.
Also, addiction professionals often mention a special group - the group of people with chronic diseases who are forced to take narcotic drugs for a long time, primarily painkillers.