Why People Take Heroin

Topics: Addiction, Drug addiction, Heroin Pages: 5 (1529 words) Published: May 4, 2006
Midterm Exam Redo
There is an infinite amount of reasons why people may take heroin or any other drug for that matter. From personal observations I have noticed that even though the reasons vary by individual there is still a main pattern. I believe most people take heroin because they like the feeling of being drugged. When they are in this state they don't have to think about problems. In a way the drug is a diversion from their true feelings and an escape from their ordinary lives. Another reason people may fall into the heroin habit is to fit in or become part of a particular group. Often times the group doing the drug may seem cool or different. It is human nature to want to be accepted so people may feel peer pressure to try a drug like heroin not realizing how highly addictive and destructive the drug is. Finally the number one reason why I believe people take heroin is because they want to feel better about themselves. In a way this reason sums up all of the other reasons in one. If a person takes the drug to feel better about themselves, then they are seeking an escape, trying to feel more socially important and accepted, trying to overcome shyness, divert their attention away from their flaws or problems. I believe that this reason stems from low self-esteem, hopelessness, unhappiness and these are perhaps one of the main causes of addiction.

In its most narrow of definitions the term addiction is described as a compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its consequences. It is often characterized by cravings, increased tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms if the behavior is discontinued. Medically there are two types of addiction. The first type is psychological addiction this is mostly behavioral or a dependency of the mind for example nail biting is psychological. The second type is physical dependence and this includes the abuse of a substance in which you become physically dependent on meaning that you are likely to experience physical withdrawal symptoms. The prevailing problem amongst the medical community today is the narrow classification of addiction. There are certain behaviors such as gambling, shopping and pornography that in the traditional sense may be seen as psychological addiction but given its withdrawal symptoms can have physical implications so it may in fact be more than a dependence of the mind. Heroin use falls into the physical addiction category and it is considered one of the most rapidly addicting drugs today. When it comes to drug abuse addiction can be classified as a chronic, relapsing condition, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, and by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain. In the case of heroin its addictive qualities have to do with the reactions that it causes on the brain. Heroin changes the limbic system which controls emotions so that feelings of pleasure are increased and it blocks pain messages transmitted by the spinal cord from the body. These changes in the brain cause a person to become more highly addicted and therefore always seek the drug to recreate or block their feelings.

The most dangerous side effect of addiction is the build up of tolerance on the drug. When it comes to tolerance a person's reaction to the substance decreases over time causing them to require larger doses to achieve the same result. In the case of heroin regular use causes a person to need more heroin as time goes by in order to get their desired result. As time passes the doses of the drug get higher and higher until the addict reaches a point where he or she becomes physically dependent on the drug. Once a person becomes physically dependent it is harder for them to get off the drug because then the withdrawal symptoms are much stronger.

Heroin treatment regimens must take both factors of addiction and tolerance into account. Methadone Maintenance programs for example tackle the issue of tolerance. The main basis of this is that from tolerance stems...

Cited: Addiction: Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 22, 2006 from Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction
Moraes, F (2001). The Heroin User 's Handbook. Port Townsend, WA: Loompanics Unlimited.
Volkow D., Nora (2005). National Institute on Drug Abuse: Research Report Series: Heroin Abuse and Addiction. Retrieved April 22, 2006 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse website: http://www.nida.nih.gov/ResearchReports/Heroin/Heroin.html
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