Why It’s Important to Realize that Addicted People Are Wounded People

Humans may be brilliant, with opposable thumbs and large brains, but at the end of the day they are still animals. Important abstractions (such as personality and logic) are wonderful ideas, and, while they help people for the most part, they can sometimes prevent people from fully understanding life.

In fact, sometimes the way we view people and the mind can cause us to judge unnecessarily. People often forget that illness can afflict the mind the same way it can afflict the body, and addiction is such an illness.

Addiction Is an Illness

Although you may not see a break in an arm or any kind of physical disfigurement, they can still exist—the same idea is true of addiction. It affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, often those that deal with reward and motivation.

Other addiction can affect neurotransmitters that deal with inhibition, as those that deal with alcohol and benzodiazepines. These drugs can change a user’s behavior in different ways.

Addiction begins as a result of many factors, so no single issue determines whether or not you will become addicted to drugs. The environment contributes significantly to drug abuse patterns, and genetic influences have been confirmed. A different genetic composition, which governs all of your attributes, can also play a role. The reason to elaborate on these causes is not to blame one problem or another nor to make excuses, but to ensure that people see addiction as an illness. It may have unique causes from other illnesses, but it still leads people to need help.

Addiction Impacts the Mind

Because addiction affects the brain, it can have troubling effects. Because you know a person through her personality, it can be upsetting when people who would otherwise avoid aggression and dishonesty to change their ways.

Addicts can be unhelpful, uncommunicative and even cruel, because drugs’ acute effects affect people greatly. Many addicts lack the support to achieve a full recovery, because people around them do not see addiction as a medical problem.

Family, friends, co-workers, bosses, law enforcers and even addicts  themselves may believe that addiction is a selfish, destructive behavior from horrible people, but it is actually an illness. People lose their jobs, go to jail and lose ties with children, spouses and friends all because of this illness. Rather than judgment, addicts need support, nurturing and permission to reintegrate into society without scorn. With the right help, anyone can get and stay clean from drug abuse.