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The talking points below are written in plain language as a suggested way to communicate concepts of drug use and addiction to adults or teens. Why do people use drugs? People use drugs for many reasons: they want to feel good, stop feeling bad, or perform better in school or at work, or they are curious because others are doing it and they want to fit in.
The last reason is very common among teens. Drugs excite the parts of the brain that make you feel good. But after you take a drug for a while, the feel-good parts of your brain get used to it. Then you need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. Soon, your brain and body must have the drug just to feel normal.
You feel sick, awful, anxious, and irritable without the drug. You no longer have the good feelings that you had when you first used the drug. This is true if you use illegal drugs or if you misuse prescription drugs. Drug use can start as a way to escape—but it can quickly make your life worse. Besides just not feeling well, different drugs can affect your brain and body in many different ways. Here are a few:. Many drugs can also make driving a car unsafe. Marijuana can slow reaction time, make you judge time and distance poorly, and decrease coordination how you move your body.
Cocaine and methamphetamine can make a driver aggressive and reckless. Certain kinds of sedatives, called benzodiazepines, can make you dizzy or drowsy. These effects can lead to crashes that can cause injuries and even death. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm.
The addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of your life. The addiction replaces all the things you used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything—lie, steal, or hurt people—to keep taking the drug.
This can lead to problems with your family and friends, and can even lead to arrest and jail. You can get addicted to illegal drugs as well as prescription drugs if you misuse them. Drug addiction is a chronic disease. That means it stays with you for a long time, even if you stop using for a while.
It doesn't go away like a cold. A person with an addiction can get treatment, but quitting for good can be very hard. At first, taking drugs is usually your choice. But as you continue to take them, using self-control can become harder and harder; this is the biggest of addiction. Brain studies of people with addiction show physical changes in parts of the brain that are very important for judgment, making decisions, learning and memory, and controlling behavior. Scientists have shown that when this happens to the brain, it changes how the brain works and it explains the harmful behaviors of addiction that are so hard to control.
Away from home, drugs might be less available. This return to drug use is called a relapse. A trigger is anything that makes you feel the urge to go back to using drugs. It can be a place, person, thing, smell, feeling, picture, or memory that reminds you of taking a drug and getting high.
A trigger can be something stressful that you want to escape from. It can even be something that makes you feel happy. People fighting addiction need to stay away from the people and triggers that can make them start using drugs again, just like people with breathing problems need to avoid smoke and dust. People who have stayed sober for a while, either because they were in jail or in treatment, should know that they are at a high risk of overdose if they relapse and take the same amount of drug they used to.
Without immediate treatment, overdose often le to death. This is why you often hear about people dying of an overdose soon after leaving rehab. People who get treatment and stick with it can stop using drugs. They can change their lives so they don't go back to taking drugs. But they have to try hard and follow the treatment program for a long time. Recovery from addiction means you have to stop using drugs AND learn new ways of thinking, feeling, and dealing with problems. These step-by-step guides will walk you through the steps of identifying if you have a problem with drugs and how to ask for help:.
NIDA also provides step-by-step guides for parents, friends, and family who think someone has a problem with drugs:. You can call HELP toll free or go to findtreatment. If a person is in medical crisis, someone should drive them to the emergency room or call This is particularly true for someone overdosing on heroin or a prescription opioid medication.
National Institutes of Health. Drug Topics. More Drug Topics. About NIDA. Here are a few: Alcohol: You might have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering, and learning. Marijuana: You might forget things you just learned or have trouble focusing. Prescription pain relievers opioids or sedatives: Your heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels, leading to coma or death. Heroin: Similar to opioid pain relievers, your heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels, leading to coma or death. Prescription stimulants e.
Cocaine and methamphetamine: You may get violent, have panic attacks or feel paranoid, or have a heart attack. MDMA Ecstasy or Molly : You may feel confused for a long time after you take it and have problems with attention, memory, and sleep. LSD: Your emotions may change quickly, and you might not be able to recognize reality; frightening flashbacks can happen long after use. Inhalants: Your heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain may get damaged; even a healthy person can suffer heart failure and death within minutes of sniffing a lot of an inhalant.
May 26,Why do people choose to take drugs
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