By Warren Heggarty and Grant J Everett
Addiction is where a person keeps taking a drug even though they really want to stop.
At first, they liked the way the drug made them feel.
However, as time went by they needed more and more of it to get the same effect. Over time, they needed to take the drug just to feel normal. The good feeling became less and less, while the urge to take the drug grew more and more.
And more expensive, too.
The urge to take drugs now becomes the most important thing in their life.
Without it, they can’t even feel ‘normal’ let alone good. So the effort required to keep taking the drug takes the place of whatever they were once interested in doing.
They may lose their job. To try to get money for drugs they might lie and steal and even hurt the people closest to them. Often they will end up being arrested, perhaps for theft, or assault or drug dealing.
Drug addiction takes us over completely. But how?
One explanation is that the human brain is wired to keep repeating behaviours that make us feel good. So if taking a drug makes us feel good, we well tend to repeat that behaviour until it becomes a habit. The problem is, we develop a tolerance to the drug and it doesn’t make us feel good any more. We are actually playing catch-up just to feel normal. We have fallen into the trap of addiction.
So to overcome addiction, you have to effectively overcome something that has almost become an instinct. To make matters worse, until you do overcome the addiction, not taking the drug will make you feel bad.
As you may have guessed, our brains are wired in such a way that we avoid repeating behaviours that make us feel bad. So we are battling our own brains to reverse the addiction. Becoming drug free may seem like an impossible goal.
Fortunately, we can override our basic instincts, difficult though it may be. But if we expect it to be trouble or effort free, we will be wrong.
Some people who have successfully stayed off alcohol or other drugs for a long time say that they don’t kid themselves they have ever beaten the addiction. They see using the drug again as a potential threat which they need to avoid or resist every day for the rest of their lives.
The strength they find in being off the drug keeps them motivated day by day, but they must remain vigilant.
One should expect anything worthwhile to take some effort, and there are few things more worthwhile than getting ourselves out of an addiction.
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant. Like most uppers, ‘ice’ can improve concentration, boost energy levels, and make you feel more alert. This is why a lot of students, businesspeople, truck drivers and other people take ice…but it would be naïve to assume that they aren’t using ice for its pleasurable recreational effects, too.
It becomes the most important thing in your life
“By this time, everything was about my drug habit – Where can I find some meth – who’s holding? [Where am I] going to get the money to buy more meth? When can I get high again? That was my day – finding a source, figuring out how to steal or scam enough money to buy what I needed, and then doing it all over again. I didn’t waste time working, going to school, or even taking care of myself. I didn’t need to.” -Anon
NOT having it makes you feel BAD
The BEHAVIOURAL effects of using ice (or withdrawing from it) include insomnia, agitation, irritability, talkativeness, panic, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, violence, confusion, diminished social ability, hallucinations, delusions and a range of other potentially permanent psychological problems. One of the biggest mental issues surrounding ice abuse is paranoia…
We haven’t even started on the physical effects…
Further information about addiction in NSW
Australian Drug Information Network (New South Wales)
Health Direct, 24 Hour Counselling, Call or text 1800 888 236.
Further information about addiction in Queensland
Alcohol and Drug Information Service (Queensland)
ADIS on 1800 177 833
13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)