Monday, May 2, 2016

Heroin Addiction: Is It Bad Choices OR Is It A Disease?

Having a loved one addicted to heroin I too used to be one who thought that this was just a matter of poor choices.

We raised our kids to know that drugs were bad. We talked about drugs in our home.

I've learned that you can talk to your kids and do the right things and yet that doesn't necessarily mean that your child won't use drugs.

Honestly it's hard for me to understand too. I think
because I have never used drugs is why I have had a hard time understanding. When you've never used them most of the information doesn't make sense. Maybe it is because I have never had my loved one set down and tell me, this is why I started using. Like, I have questions one of which is what led you to that place in your life?

I also know that many start using drugs for experimentation, to fit in, peer pressure, escape or relax, self esteem issues and yes even to rebel.

I have a type of brain that assumes everything is a piece of a puzzle and often works overtime trying to understand the puzzle and put it together until it does make sense.

Everyone just automatically assumes that the drug user comes from a bad family, a poor family, the person isn't educated, lacks self control and willpower, and that they can stop if they want to. That is wrong.

As the parent of a child addicted to heroin I know that opiates/heroin changes and chemically alters the brain. It's much easier telling people that your child or loved one is sick in the head right now then to say, my child or loved one is addicted to heroin. Honestly, they are sick in the head. They have chemically damaged their brain.

Years ago I had someone explain heroin addiction very simply to me in easy to understand language not that scientific stuff that we feel we need to get a degree for.

They told me to pretend my brain was a child. The child eats a piece of candy and the candy makes them feel a certain way (this is the high they feel from the drug). So let's say the child starts rewarding themselves with the candy because the child likes the way the candy makes them feel. Over time the child is getting the candy that continues to make them feel good. The child soon learns that the candy is the reward. The candy teaches the child that it needs this reward. The child has stopped making any critical judgment, decision making, learning and has no memory or behavior control because all the child knows now is that it needs that candy for the reward.

Then one day for some reason the child cannot get the candy. The child's body starts to become sick with the need for the candy. The only thing the child knows is that it needs to get that candy. It needs that reward. Due to the child not being able to make good decisions and from lack of self control the child will do anything to get that candy. The child has forgotten that they can die because all the child knows now is that it needs that candy.

The brain is a very complex organ in our body and alters and changes to the needs of the candy. It soon learns that it cannot function without the reward of candy.

That is the disease of addiction.

Now we as the loved one of someone addicted to drugs we soon believe the lies of. Hey I need $20 for gas. I need gas and cigarettes. They will even tell you they are job searching if you question. Soon it's a daily occurrence from $20 to $60 and before we know it, there is no more money left to give. We then find we are tangled up in this web of abuse by becoming- The Enabler.

The real demons of addiction can manifest because often when there isn't any more money that is when they will steal to feed the addiction. The brain has shut down that part that tells them about judgement and decision making and often then is when the user will steal everything they can to get their fix.

They often take small things of value; irreplaceable items that one day you are looking for something and it is gone. They didn't take it five minutes ago. Often it was taken five months ago. We as parents only want our loved one to get better so we don't call the police.

When using heroin/opiates your child lacks empathy or sympathy to even understand what he or she is putting their loved ones through dealing with this. That is because it cuts off a certain part of the brain that deals with these issues.

As the parent or loved one of a user I know that you devote so much time into wanting your loved one to get well and free of this addiction that it can make you ache and hurt in places in your body that you didn't realize there was even a muscle there.

If you have a child who is asking for money every single day of the week, you need to really start to ask questions. There is a reason why your child is needing money everyday. Of course you're going to hear all the excuses and the lies. Many of us have been there and done that. Use that one instinct that is telling you, something isn't right here. Become the detective. Trust me when dealing with a child on drugs and playing detective- I feel I should have a certificate in Detective Work by now.

Now back to the question is heroin/drug addiction a bad choice or a disease?
Well from the information we have now on how heroin/opiates and other drugs alter the brain so that often the user becomes mentally unstable we now know this is the disease of addiction. Their brain doesn't function like it used to and they can no longer make proper decisions or choices. They have no area in the brain telling them about judgement. That is the disease of addiction.

I'm hoping that others have something to offer here. If you do leave a comment...

© 2016 Gossip Girl

1 comment:

  1. What do you think? Is drug addiction a disease? Is it a choice? If you think it is a choice, let me know why?